As a young’n I was not a fan of Jaws. The recently released Blu-ray Edition (part of Universal’s 100th Anniversary Collection) of the movie gave me an excuse to revisit the movie, after more than 30 years Jaws holds up remarkably well.
What is there to say about a movie that has withstood the test of time? Jaws remains one of the ultimate blockbuster films. Spielberg’s use of practical effects really helps the movie maintain its sense of gritty realism. Young Roy Scheider (Roby), Robert Shaw (Quint) and Richard Dreyfuss all look amazing in this absolutely gorgeous restoration. All the love, care, spit and polish are up there on the screen.
Blu-ray technology was made to showcase the visual splendor of today’s movie makers, but when we see it used to bring to life older films you cannot help but marvel at how groundbreaking films like Jaws, Wizard of Oz, etc. truly were.
Amity Island has never looked fresher. The mechanical sharks don’t suffer much from the high-def transfer. This movie did such a masterful job of limiting the amount of time you actually see the shark (mainly due to them being broken during most of the shoot) that it makes the unknown more terrifying than if we’d actually saw more of it. If this was a Lucas production, I’m sure he would have digitized those sharks by now.
This is old school blockbuster (the word was invented for this film) filmmaking at its finest. Even then, Spielberg knew that at the end of the day it is still about the actors and a timeless story. Most movie audiences of today are a lot more sophisticated than the ones in the 70s. Would the shark attacks have the same impact today as then? Probably not, but there is no denying the movie holds up remarkably well.
The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact and Legacy of JAWS – The highlight of the extras include a feature length, almost 2 hour, Documentary on the making of Jaws. Everyone from Spielberg to the Set Designer to Richard Dreyfuss tell great stories about the Shark not working, we get a lot of good information on the marketing campaign and the movie’s ultimate impact by being the first Summer blockbuster and more. There’s a funny moment when we get to see Spielberg’s actual reaction to getting passed over for a Oscar nomination for Best Director. It really is a packed documentary.
The Making of Jaws – is a 2 hour collection of mostly unedited interviews with folks from the movie including Spielberg, the screenwriter, and others. Most of these were used in the new Documentary The Shark is Still Working.
JAWS: The Restoration – This is a 9 minute featurette that delves into all the work that went into restoring Jaws to its full glory.
From The Set - This 9 minute feature shows archival footage shot by a british journalist who visited the set. Spielberg used to be so young!
Jaws Archive – The Jaws archive include the original storyboards used in the movie – this is kind of neat but uses a really small aspect ratio so the images are hard to make out, a collection of production photos, a look at the original ads and posters, and more.
Pocket Blu – Pocket Blu is an interesting app that connects your iPad (or other Mobile device) to your blu-ray player. A Blu-ray player can be controlled through Pocket Blu, and you can stream or download some of the extras from the Jaws Blu-ray to your mobile device. I do like that you only need one App and it’ll work with all Pocket Blu compatible movies. Using the chapter feature did not always work. There was a long delay between when I tapped on a scene to when it came up on the TV. The navigation is easy and fairly intuitive to use. It does not really sync with the movie. I’m sure that feature is coming soon. I do like that you only need one App and it’ll work with all Pocket Blu compatible movies.
Original Theatrical Trailer
The background screensaver is the famous shot of the woman swimming in the water and the John Williams music. Universal’s excellent navigation menu is then superimposed and each selection flies out. It’s elegant and understated.
It is almost impossible to come away from watching this Blu-ray and all the extras and not have a renewed sense of awe for Steven Spielberg. I know I’ve said numerous times that I’ve never been the biggest fan of his work. But man, you have to admire the vision, heart, and gonzo attitude he displays when he makes his films. Especially in his earlier work like Jaws, ET, Close Encounters. Making Jaws today would be fairly “easy” but back then? You really had to love and believe in what you are doing. This Blu-ray is a must own for any collector.
- Movie – A
- Audio/Video – A+
- Presentation – A-
- Extras – A
Final Grade A+
EM Review by
Originally posted 8/23/2012