Back in the early '70s, burgeoning filmmaker Steven Spielberg took on the ambitious task of adapting Peter Benchley's novel Jaws about a Great White shark tormenting a small New England island community. In hopes of delivering audiences an authentic interpretation of the material, Spielberg opted to shoot the film on the ocean, which resulting in countless complications. One of the biggest issues he faced were malfunctioning robotic sharks, referred to as "Bruce," whose inner circuitry regularly didn't respond due to its immersion in salt water. One of these mechanical sharks has been restored to be put on display at the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
Just in time for the 44th anniversary of #Jaws (1975)...🦈— Academy Museum of Motion Pictures (@AcademyMuseum) June 20, 2019
An update on Bruce the shark's restoration! Special effects legend @G_Nicotero, his studio KNB EFX, and the #AcademyMuseum conservation team have fully transformed this undersea giant.
Photos by Greg Nicotero. pic.twitter.com/np2SEzPkld
The Academy Museum of Motion Pictures shared the above photos of the restoration, which were led by Greg Nicotero, co-owner of KNB EFX. Fans will be able to see the restored prop on display at the museum when it opens in 2020.
The prop's regular malfunctions led to the film running over budget and over schedule, while also preventing Spielberg from utilizing footage of the shark, as so little was ultimately usable. Interestingly, it was the film's refusal to show audiences the beast that created such a frightening adventure, forcing our minds to conjure up images of the creature.
Star Richard Dreyfuss previously pondered if the film could be more successful if a CGI restoration could insert a new shark with today's technical effects.
"I think they should do it, it would be huge and it would open up the film to younger people," Dreyfuss shared with Deadline about the potential of re-releasing the film with upgraded visual effects. "Is that blasphemy? No, no, I don't think so. The technology now could make the shark look as good as the rest of the movie."
Even though the shark only appears in a handful of shots, Dreyfuss thinks those shots would be better if CGI replaced the practical prop.
"There are people who say Jaws is a perfect film otherwise and it is amazing what Steven accomplished with the challenges he had," the actor noted. "But you're dead-right, I think you're on to something. They should put the money into CGI [to replace] that beast and make it come alive."
Stay tuned for details on the opening of the Academy Museum of Motion Pictures.
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