IN A RECENT poll on my Twitter, I posed the question “Who is your favourite character in Jaws?”, including of course the three main characters, and then a rather tongue in cheek fourth option of Bruce the Shark. I wasn’t too surprised tofind Quint come out on top with 41% of the vote, but I was incredibly surprised to find Hooper placing in third position with just 19%, just one place ahead of the ever reliable Bruce!
Sadly I was unable to vote in my own poll, but my vote would easily go to Hooper, not just my favourite Jaws characters but one of my all-time favourite movie characters. Don’t believe me? Well let me break this down for you…
He makes the biggest sacrifice for the greater good.
Whilst the three main characters all have their own motivations for wanting to hunt down the shark, Hooper’s motivations are perhaps the most interesting, as they’re a conflict-ion of everything which he holds dear. Hooper is a man of science, someone who has a deep love and fascination for the creatures, as well as being somewhat of an expert on them. His knowledge undoubtedly plays a crucial part in the mission, but for him it comes at quite a cost.
Hunting down and killing a shark goes against pretty much all that he stands for; he loves sharks, he studies sharks, and quite frankly, killing one and stringing it up on the dock is probably the last thing that he wants to do! However, having been brought in as the expert, Hooper makes a great personal sacrifice and offers to help Brody and Quint in tracking down the beast. Quint is motivated by the prize and the chase, Brody is motivated out of a sense of duty, but Hooper is motivated out of a sense of fascination and affection, and it is this which makes him a fascinating character.
He’s a hero and a badass!
Whilst Quint may have sneered at Hooper bringing along his shark cage, it ended up playing a crucial role in the eventual killing of the shark, and being the one to offer to enter the cage shows a huge amount of bravery from Hooper. So it doesn’t quite go according to plan with all the high-tech equipment, but let's not forget that Hooper is then somehow able to evade the jaws of the shark, and he lives to tell the tale! For all his bravado, and mockery of Hooper’s methods, Quint had to succumb to the shark in the end, and despite his obvious skills as a fisherman, he wasn’t able to get out of it alive. Hooper on the other hand, being the total badass that he is, survived being in the water with the shark, proving that sometimes brains are better than brawn!
He stays strong in what he believes in
As an outsider coming in to help the good folk of Amity Island, Hooper remains steadfast and strong in his beliefs, and frequently calls out the somewhat incompetent Mayor for his rather haphazard approach to health and safety! Given his position in the town, Brody has to remain as somewhat of a go-between and makes plenty of compromises, but kudos has to go to Hooper for (mostly) maintaining his cool, his ability to emphasise the real danger at hand, and for his incredible patience in dealing with a group of people who clearly think the beaches being open for the 4th of July weekend is a more pressing issue than a man-eating shark! It is unquestionably very testing for him, but he never loses sight of what needs to be done.
You might be thinking I am entirely wrong and you’re ready to fight tooth and nail over why your chosen favourite character is the best, but like Quint and Hooper, we all need to put aside our differences, unite over our love for Jaws, and let’s drink to our legs! Hooper is still the best though…
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