Friday, 2 October 2009

Nightmarish Visions


"Jaws" (1975)

I managed to squeeze read (somewhat measly) two books in the last few weeks and one of them was Peter Benchley’s Jaws.

For a novel written way back in 1974, the book I had in my hands was in near mint condition.

Somehow, somewhen, I must have bought a new one as I distinctly remember my front cover white shark having a whole lot of blood in its teethy jaws courtesy of my “gatal tangan” and some red inks.

I first read the novel way after watching its 1975 silver screen version by Steven Spielberg which gave me endless nightmarish nights.

The novel was good and so was the movie, but they were far remove from each other that direct comparison would be quite impossible and useless.

In one of the scenes that stand out (to me, at least) in the book, Amity police chief Martin Brody was confronted by the mother of the shark’s second victim and when asked why he did not announce the first attacked, he simply blurted out:

“We didn’t think it would happen again.”

There were, of course, a whole lot more reasons to it but since it will take at least three moons to tell it, I’ll spare you the agony and let you read the book instead.

Watch out too for the end chapters involving Quint the shark hunter.

If you are the type who are forever in a rush, the technique to read “Jaws” is to read the first few chapters (until around the time when Brody closes the beach and a boy became shark bait) and then skip to the final few where Quint, Brody and a shark specialist goes hunting.

(The middle bits are a bit to soap opera-ish, and at times, the shark is forgotten.)

Great stories have this ability to build itself up slowly to its climax and where “Jaws” is concerned, the end is really at the last page of the novel.

No “a large slivery streak catches Quint’s eyes as his life ebb away and his body falling deeper into the abyss with his prized catch; a stark realization hitting him that the nightmare is not over for Amity” kind of horror movie “possible sequel” shit endings.

Books and movies are oh–so satisfying as we know there will be an ending, and while we know roughly what it will be, we hope for a twist anyway.

If only life was something similar, eh?

Take the PKFZ saga, for example.

It Benchley’s Jaws has its mid-break point courtesy of the soap opera moments, then perhaps the current “nothing’s happening after all the high powered committees, the suits, the investigations” is but a prelude to a rip-roaring, all out hunt for those responsible right to its bitter ending.

Just hope there’s no Quint in this local saga, though.

(Just for the record, the movie has two survivors from the shark hunt while in the book, there’s only one.)

Alas, we might be seeing a more realistic playing out of a drama to its also realistic NFA ending.

I (and I think many others too) hope to be proven wrong here, but the signs are not promising.

With so many civil suits pending, task force and committees meeting and reporting, the matter could drag on and on into the annals of history.

As never ending soap opera goes, once the interest wanes it simply goes off the air and is quietly forgotten.

Will PKFZ be likewise?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

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