“I just died in the book”

Matt Hooper resurfaces at the end of the movie “Jaws,” having hidden in some underwater shrubbery when his anti-shark cage said goodbye and farewell. But in the book, Hooper had to die.

The final song of “All That Jaws” is “Jesus H. Christ, Hooperstar”—an unabashed tribute to a certain Tim Rice/Andrew Lloyd Webber musical. Hooper rises from the deep and explains the myriad differences between book and movie, singing “Thank God I just died in the book.”

In Peter Benchley’s version, Hooper is the younger brother of a man Ellen Brody dated before she met working class slob Martin Brody. To Ellen, Hooper represents her lost youth and the upper-crusty privileges she gave up when she married Martin, who in the book doesn’t welcome this younger man from his wife’s past.

Well, the combination of the Chief’s irascibility and Ellen’s wistfulness leads to an incident that, in Benchley’s ancient mariner morality, requires Hooper to die.

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