Victims: Anyone who became terrified of going in the Ocean after the 70’s.
Similaritis: In a seasonal fishermen infested vacation town off the coast of a mostly secluded area tourists and locals are terrorized by a deep sea mammal. Muhahahaha.
Jaws is a more traditional film in the sense that there is an antagonist, the shark, and a protagonist, the local sheriff played by Roy Scheider, and ultimately there is a face off between the two opposing forces in which the hero comes out on top. Very American. Orca on the other hand reverses these roles and despite the antagonist seeming to be the whale it is ultimately a role more well suited for the main character, a deep sea fisherman played by Richard Harris. Orca really makes you want to be on the side of the whale and I feel like this is mainly due to the foreign influences of the story developers.
Jaws takes place in the beachy town of Amity, the epitome of small town America. Chief Martin Brody (Scheider) is charged with its protection. However his authority is overlooked on the eve of the biggest tourist season of the year when a young girl is killed by what he believes to be a shark. Amity’s Mayor, Murray Hamilton, refuses to close the beaches despite Brody’s concern. It’s the classic tale of one person trying to prevent a disaster and the establishment refusing to heed their warning until it is too late.
Ultimately Brody and his Motley Crew are brought in to venture out and take care of the shark when it kills again. This crew consists of a brasin sea captain Sam Quint (Robert Shaw) and marine biologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss). While it does take awhile to get to this point of the film it is a big pay off. We get to watch a shark ‘splode! After the awesome sea captain gets killed though :-(. Small price to pay for some cinematic justice.
Two years after the crisis of the fictional Amity beach town Orca came out. Interesting fact to note is that the boat they set out to destroy Jaws on was called, Orca. Coincidence? I think not.
Orca starts off in a more graphic fashion. Hard to consider seeing as a woman is killed in the first ten minutes of Jaws. The reason that this particular film is more graphic then it’s predecessor is because it actual shows things, which might have been the reason it wasn’t as commercially acceptable as Jaws. One film you could get away with taking your kid to the other you most certainly could not.
Orca opens on the fishing boat of Captain Nolan, played by Richard Harris. We might remember him better today as the original Albus Dumbledore in Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone and Chamber of Secrets. Back in 1977 he was poaching whales! As Captain Nolan he ends up killing a female whale in the beginning of Orca only to realize that she was pregnant. The baby whale spills out onto the deck.
All of this unfolds while the Daddy Orca looks on in horror from afar. It is this incident that insights the Orca to reek havoc on Captain Nolan, his crew, and the fishing town he calls home. One of the best scenes in this film is when the Orca slams into Captain Nolan’s seaside home and attacks Annie (Bo Derek) an injured crew member. Causing the house to fall into the ocean Annie slides into the grasp of the Orca much like the way Quint does towards the end of Jaws. the only difference here is that instead of dying the woman gets her leg nawed off by a whale. It’s awesome.
In the end Captain Nolan along with the remaining crew, a helpful Native American Umilak (Will Sampson), and Rachel Bedford (Charlotte Rampling) set out to fight the vengeful Orca. Basically they get owned by the Orca because Karma is on it’s side. I really don’t want to go into details because it’s pretty messed up sequence of events for an ending. Not your traditional neatly resolved Hollywood ending like Jaws.
Jaws by a nose! I like the fact that Orca was a lot more graphic just for the simple fact that I was NOT expecting that at all the first time I saw it. And the ending is non-traditional which is always a plus. The good thing about Jaws is that the story is so well handled that there is no need for an excessive amount of gore or even the need to show the shark for almost the entire film. There’s just this overwhelming build up of dread that culminates into an amazing climax ending. Very well done.
KILLER FISH!!! (1979)
Need I say more . . . .