I watched this film with my Design and Production class as an example of great cinematography. Maybe it is because I am used to the shooting style Jaws inspired, but I just didn’t see it.
There is VERY little substance to this movie. It is about a shark that eats people. I think they could have gone into the relationships between the characters more, or found some other way to expand the storyline. It is too focused on one thing, and your mind starts to wander. Also, you can predict the shark attacks almost to the minute, as they occur throughout the movie at almost perfectly regular intervals.
I didn’t see much here that I would consider impressive. There is one particular scene where a character is doing a monologue about watching his friends being eaten by sharks after the sinking of the USS Indianapolis. The monologue felt very disjointed from previous and later scenes, the emotion wasn’t carried through and it makes you wonder if they shot it long after the rest of the shots on the same set, or if they filmed it too early on.
Jaws is always hailed as being a stroke of genius, as you don’t see the shark until a long ways into the movie. This actually wasn’t intended, the giant robotic shark they got for the film kept shorting out as soon as they put it in the water, so they had to make due with what they could. I just thought that was cool trivia.
The effects overall were actually very good considering the time. There were some areas that were a bit over-done (for example the murder of the child when there is a literal fountain of blood spraying about twenty feet in the air).
All in all I was kind of disappointed by this movie. I recognize it’s status as a classic and whatnot, but for me the music was the best feature (John Williams is great). I just don’t see how Jaws became as huge a hit as it did.