At first I thought an old fashioned film from 1975 would be boring but I was wrong. “Jaws” is a fantastic film, although it can be spine chilling at times. I was 100% sure it would be like all seventies movies; as boring as having to sit through one of Ms Clark’s lectures. Wrong! This movie is awesome..
Right at the beginning the opening scene Spielberg shows us the Point Of View of the shark as it swims swiftly through the water, brushing past weeds. Then out of the blue we hear it, the spine chilling ‘Jaws’ score, carefully written and structured by John Williams. It signifies danger, gets our heartbeats accelerating and gives us a taste of fear!
Straight away the non-diegetic music has us hiding behind our cushions, our hearts about to pop out, waiting for a bloody shark attack with skin and limbs everywhere. But noo! Spielberg has tricked us! We are, in almost the blink of an eye, thrown from the dark waters of the ocean to the warmth and safety of a campfire.
We are introduced to a large number of people. We can easily see that these people are obviously having fun and are happy as they talk, drink, smoke and even kiss (more like snogging!). Spielberg makes an impact by showing us that the warmth and safety is startlingly different to the dark, deep waters of the sea in the previous scene.
As a result of the close-ups and zoom-ins we can easily distinguish that one of the guys is eyeing up a girl; who is strangely sitting on her own, away from the others. We immediately know something’s going to happen when the boy goes and sits closer to her. They both stare at each other intensively before the girl gets up and runs off; leaving the safety and warmth of the campfire. My heart starts racing again…
We start fearing the worst for her as she gets closer to the sea. The camera focuses on her and tracks her as she runs towards the sea. The broken, skeletal fence in the background gives us a sense of danger as she runs alongside it. “What’s your name?” the boy shouts drunkily, “Chrissie!” the girl replies, in a high pitched girly voice. This shows us her innocence, her vulnerability.. Spielberg has shown us that clearly her card is marked. It’s like she’s being hunted, tracked down.
When she reaches the sea, Chrissie is already naked and diving straight in. She swims far out into the sea; along shot of the water shows her innocent figure in the vast, dark waters of the sea. She raises one leg in the water and for a split second it looks like a shark fin. Our brains start to wonder off into the deep waters of the sea, searching for the shark.. This time we get our answer almost too suddenly.
The spine-chilling shark music starts again, telling us something bad is about to happen. This time we’re under water looking up at Chrissie’s figure from the shark’s Point Of View. The music starts getting faster and louder as we rise towards the surface, towards Chrissie’s legs.. Cut. Suddenly we’re switched back to above the water with Chrissie, the score gets louder and louder. This is where you feel like screaming out at her, telling her to swim away, to get away from danger. Because we know that any minute now..
The shark attacks!
Chrissie’s eyes go wide then suddenly she’s pushed forward as the shark attempts to drag her under water. It drags her across the water as she screams at the top of her lungs, “God help me!” “Help me!” Obviously no one can hear her. The shark drags her off screen but he camera doesn’t follow her; we’ve left her too..
She grabs hold a buoy and for a moment we feel a pang of hope, but the shark had different thoughts. It grabs her once again and the bell starts to ring, her death toll. We know she is nowhere near being saved; we get one last glimpse of her horrified face and ‘SPLOOSH!’ She disappears…