Thriller movie Jaws, made in 1975, opened the line of the pictures that were shot on the ocean. Obviously, the director of the movie, Steven Spielberg, faced with a number of difficulties during the process of shooting due to the complicated conditions. Since that time, the world cinematograph learned how to avoid some of those problems and how to make the process of filming easier.
In the middle of 90s, three movies were shot on the ocean, such as Waterworld (1995), Cutthroat Island (1995) and Titanic (1997). As the Waterworld was “one of the most troubled productions in Hollywood history” (“The Turbulent Story of Waterworld”) and the filming of Pirates of the Caribbean (2003) was easy and quick, it possible to notice that the filmmakers got the success within the process of shooting on the ocean, learning how to avoid the difficulties and how to improve safety, making a product of high quality.
Jaws, a story of a huge white sharp which kills people, opened a new page of blockbusters made in the complicated conditions on the ocean and became the top-grossing movie of all time (Hoberman). The movie starts with a scene on a beach when everyone is playing, swimming, and enjoying the time. Suddenly, a boy is pulled under the water and everyone starts getting out from the ocean.
Besides, there is a number of scenes on the open water far from the land. 26-years old Spielberg chose the island of Martha’s Vineyard in Massachusetts as a place for shooting, as it is surrounded by the ocean and has an appropriate environment to create an adequate atmosphere.
The director wanted to make the scenes similar to those what people see while swimming. Therefore, the movie is full of the underwater scenes. The cameras were keeping in a special box and, nevertheless, they got soaked. Filmmakers did not avoid the problems of shooting and had to over an expected budget of the movie, as the director wanted to create the unique and perfect scenes and insisted upon shooting with a huge shark.
Due to the lack of knowledge and the skills of filming in such conditions, it was difficult to avoid, for instance, the boats that came into frame. Moreover, it was absolutely impossible to control the weather conditions. Nevertheless, although there were the various problems within shooting, the movie got the success. Jaws is one of the most popular movies and a good example of shooting on the ocean.
In the middle of 90s, three movies were shot on the ocean. One of them, Cutthroat Island (1995), describes the adventures of pirates on Jamaica in the 17th century. The movie is full of the massive sets and scenes with ships on the water.
However, although the main idea of the movie was interesting and the director Renny Harlin tried to make a fascinating adventure, the movie got a lot of negative responses. It is difficult to say that Cutthroat Island seriously changed the process of shooting on the water.
In spite of Cutthroat Island, Waterworld (1995) was more successful. Although there were the different factors which were working against the movie, Waterworld had a lot of explosive pieces and, in general, got an interesting plot (“The Turbulent Story of Waterworld”).
Due to shooting on water, filmmakers had to fight with a flooding, storm and hurricane in Hawaii. Waterworld went over the budget, building the floating environments. Once, Kevin Costner who played the main role almost drowned. Another actor Tina Majorino was stung by jellyfish. One of the assistances also was injured. Thereby, it is obvious that shooting on the ocean is a highly complicate task.
In 1997, James Cameron created Titanic which is one of the most popular movies in the world. As the plot of the movie included a high number of the scenes on the ocean, it was necessary to shoot on the water. However, as Cameron was acquainted with the problems of other directors, he decided to film on the land.
In order to create a realistic picture, the director used above 40 acres of oceanfront property in Mexico. Filmmakers built a copy of Titanic on the beach; thereby, it seemed that the ship was actually at the sea. Obviously, it was a right decision which helped to avoid a number of problems. It was a new step of shooting the movies on the water.
In spite of other movies, the production of Pirates of Caribbean in 2003 was easy and quick. This pirate-theme movie avoided the problems of Cutthroat Island and got the commercial success. The tropical area of Bahamas was chosen for its good location and quite weather. The major part of the scenes was filmed on the boards of two ships which were staying in the docks by the ocean. However, several of the battle scenes were shooting in the open water and the team did not avoid the accidents and injuries.
Analyzing the history of filming a movie on the ocean, it is possible to conclude that the directors use the experience of their colleagues and, therefore, try to shoot on the land in order to avoid the different problems, including the injuries of the members of team.
Hoberman, J. “Nashville Contra Jaws.” The Last Great American Picture Show: New Hollywood Cinema in the 1970s. Ed. Horwath, King and Elsaesser. Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press, 2004. Print.
The Turbulent Story of Waterworld 2008. Web. 06 Mar. 2012.