The shark (Bruce) is the depicted as the main antagonist in the Jaws film franchise, was the collective name for a reoccurring group of supposedly mutated Great White Sharks thought to be closely related genetically.
This particular incarnation of the shark was depicted in the film Jaws released in 1975. In addition, there were slightly similar looking designed sharks depicted in follow up sequels (J2, J3D, and JTR respectively). However, the shark design as depicted in Jaws, is by far the most respected variant among aficionados of the film franchise.
Interestingly, it has never been agreed upon as to the official name the shark should be called. Casual fans of the film franchise in general tend to call the shark "JAWS", which is actually something of a misnomer considering there were different sizes and shapes of sharks featured in each of the four films in the franchise.
Because the shark was originally called 'Bruce' by film crew members in reference to Steven Spielberg's lawyer, Bruce Raynor, knowledgeable fin fans tend to prefer using this as an official moniker.
A hollow, static copy of "Bruce" from the film was discovered in a junkyard years later, and is in essence a fourth "Bruce" pulled from molds for the mechanical shark used in the production of the film. Serious fans of the film have christened this rare find, "Junkyard Bruce", or JYB.
Appearance and behaviorEdit
Bruce was around 25 feet long and weighed around three tons, making him gigantic for a great white shark. Oddly, the shark had noticeable jowls, a feature it also shared with other great whites that appeared in the film franchise. The shark could easily bite through a leader on a fishing line made of steel piano wire, and smashed the hull of the ORCA with its great strength.
Bruce's behavior was odd as well; while normal great whites hunt seals and fish such as tuna, Bruce preferred the taste of human flesh. It was also very smart; there were no patterns to the shark's attacks, and it did not hesitate to attack swimmers by night or day, though Matt Hooper believed the shark preferred to hunt at night. The shark also was clever enough to lure its pursuers (Brody, Hooper and Quint) into more open waters where it had the advantage of speed and strength. It also knew it could incapacitate the ORCA by smashing parts of the hull.
In Jaws, Bruce first appears (unseen) and attacks swimmer Chrissie Watkins and devours her, leaving only her arm, head and torso, which was later discovered by Martin Brody, the chief of Amity Island's police, on the beach where she disappeared. Despite Brody's warnings, Mayor Larry Vaughn, abstained from closing the beaches out of fear of what a shark attack's impact might have on the economy. Bruce's next appearance was to attack, kill and eat Alex Kintner, leaving nothing of him except his savaged inflatable raft. This alerted Amity to the shark's presence and Alex's mother, Mrs. Kitner placed a $3000 bounty on the shark's head.
Soon, numerous fisherman began chumming the waters and searching the area around Amity for the shark, causing them to catch a tiger shark that was labelled as the supposed man-eater and leading to the death of Ben Gardner, whom Bruce chose as its next victim. Despite the warnings of Matt Hooper, a researcher from the Oceanographic Institute, Vaughn refused to acknowledge the danger out of pride and vanity. The shark then attacked and devoured another victim in an estuary on the Fourth of July where Michael Brody was sailing with friends. The attack also left Michael in shock despite Bruce never attacking the boy, making him a surviving indirect victim of the attack. In the aftermath, Martin Brody convinced a shocked Mayor Vaughn to hire Quint, the local bootlegger and shark fisherman, to kill the creature for $10,000.
Bruce was then lured in by Quint, Brody and Hooper aboard Quint's ship, the ORCA, who engaged the shark in a lengthy sea battle in which the shark was harpooned to several barrels to try and keep it near the surface. During this fight, the shark severely damaged the boat and indirectly destroys its engine, and nearly killed Hooper when he tried to face the beast underwater, succeeding in destroying the shark cage Hooper had been diving in. Bruce then attacks the Orca and proceeds to begin sinking the boat, eating Quint alive in the process, before trying to attack Brody. Brody managed to fight Bruce off, causing the shark to partially swallow a scuba tank. Bruce was destroyed in its last attempt to devour Brody when, in its charge, Brody takes Quint's M1 rifle and shoots the air tank, causing the shark to explode, killing it. The shark's remains then sink to the seabed and both Brody and Hooper use floating wreckage from the ORCA to swim to shore.
List of victimsEdit
- Because the great white shark depicted in Jaws did not appear to look like a typical great white shark, it has been suggested by fans that this shark was in fact a mutated beast rather than a genetically perfect Great white shark specimen. This would also account for its maniacal personality and traits depicted in the film in so far as outward "rogue" behavior. This however is pure speculation.
- For the live-action film sequences involving great whites, footage of real great whites circling and attacking the cage in which a midget stuntman played Matt Hooper was filmed. As Bruce was a 25-foot shark, a midget diver helped to create the correct scale.
- Bruce became such a public icon that his name was used several times in various other films and documentaries, including as the moniker for an animatronic bull shark in the discovery channel documentary Anatomy of a Shark Bite and as the name of the great white appearing in Finding Nemo.
- In reality, many of the feats Bruce accomplished in the films are impossible for real great whites to accomplish; though a great white can punch a hole in a boat's hull, the shark is by no means strong enough to sink a boat outright. Real great whites also cannot pull three floatation barrels underwater for unlimited lengths of time as Bruce did; the strength and endurance required is too much to be natural for a shark.
- Bruce's size is exceedingly large for a great white, though some real individual sharks have approached it in size; the legendary female great white known as the Submarine, a supposed 23-footer that lived in False Bay, South Africa during the 1980's, was one of these. Another, known as Deep Blue, is a large female seen off of Guadalupe Island in Mexico in 2013 that measures about 20 feet long. This shark was likely of similar weight to Bruce due to her pregnancy at the time she was filmed. A third female, known as the Hunchback, was a 21-footer and a regular visitor to the great white hotspot that is the Farallon Islands, which lie 50 miles off the coast of San Francisco.
- Only female great whites reach a length of 20+ feet in reality with males said to be 16-18 feet, making Bruce, who is said to be male, gigantic for one of his kind.
- Bruce's great size may be due to its longevity; as real great whites are capable of living 72+ years, it is likely that Bruce may be of advanced age, which might explain its size.
- In the film, Bruce's attack on Alex Kitner was supposed to be more brutal, with the shark actually rising from the water to attack the boy. This was ultimately cut due to its extremely graphic nature. However, photos of the cut scene resurfaced in recent years, with Alex's actor floating on the raft and Bruce's animatronic head rising from the water, about to snatch him up.
- A tribute to Jaws appeared in the 2008 animated series, Star Wars: The Clone Wars. The main antagonist of the episodes "Water War", "Gungan Attack" and "Prisoners", was a shark-like alien called a Karkarodon named Riff Tamson. Riff Tamson also died in a similar way to Bruce in Jaws; he was killed via an exploding weapon by the protagonist of the episodes.