Amity Island would like to welcome you back. The beach, however, is still closed. Jaws, as a BIG part of Universal’s 100th anniversary, has finally arrived on blu-ray with a detailed and loving restoration that adds new life to a film first released in 1975. It was the first and arguably the most unforgettable blockbuster and with this new coat of HD paint Jaws looks and feels like a whole new film.
Starring the ocean’s most feared predator and directed by a then 28-year-old Steven Spielberg, Jaws is one of the most influential films ever released upon an unsuspecting public. The film, based on the Peter Benchley novel of the same name, could have easily been a misfire with the public. It was a huge gamble that paid off big time for everybody involved. But when we look a little closer, we can see just how lucky and fortunate and clever and talented those involved with the project were. Jaws is a B-movie by design with its simple premise of hunting a great white shark that gets its jollies from terrorizing a small coastal community and with the mechanical shark being more of a burden than an actual prop, there was every risk that the film would never produce the desired effect of terror.
Thankfully, Spielberg and his leading men of Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, and Roy Scheider muscled past the limitations of the script and the special effects and made everything come to life. The hard-nosed experienced shark hunter Quint, a man with a cold set of reasoning skills is rendered perfectly human by Shaw. Dreyfuss brings an easygoing personality to his role as the shark scientist from a family of means. Scheider's police chief Brody finds himself some mojo as an outsider forced to police the very water he is afraid of. On paper, these three B-movie archetypes are beyond simple; the actor’s make them human.
Spielberg, working tirelessly without an operational shark, borrows more than a few tricks from Hitchcock to produce the right level of suspense that more than carries this film across the finish line. The action scenes he captures are both artistic and thrilling and, working alongside cinematographer Bill Butler, leans upon his film school background to establish himself as a new voice and vision in cinema. Editor Verna Fields shares a bulk of the credit for the success of Jaws, too. We should see very little of the shark seems to be the mantra. And it absolutely works.
Jaws is a high watermark; the defining moment for summer blockbusters and its success forever changed the studios and how they conduct their business…for good and for bad. The movie itself is the real deal, though. It’s a genuine masterpiece of mood (thanks to John Williams’ iconic score) and monster mayhem. Watching it again, one is surprised at just how quickly it snaps together into a work of art and pushes our imagination to fill in the blanks of just how big this leviathan, legacy and all, actually is.
MPAA Rating: PG-13 - Intense Shark Attacks including Bloody Images, Terror, Language, Brief Partial Nudity and Brief Drug Use.
Runtime: 124 mins.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer: Peter Benchley
Cast: Richard Dreyfuss; Roy Scheider; Robert Shaw; Lorraine Gary; Murray Hamilton
Tagline: When beaches open this summer, you will be taken by Jaws.
Memorable Movie Quote: "You're gonna need a bigger boat."
Theatrical Distributor: Universal Pictures
Official Site: www.universalstudiosentertainment.com/jaws
Home Video Distributor: Universal Studios
Release Date: June 20, 1975
DVD/Blu-ray Release Date: August 14, 2012
Synopsis: Based on Peter Benchley's best-selling novel inspired by the Jersey Shore shark attacks of 1916. The police chief of Amity Island, a summer resort town, tries to protect beachgoers from a great white shark by closing the beach, only to be overruled by the town council, which wants the beach to remain open to draw a profit from tourists. After several attacks, the police chief enlists the help of a marine biologist and a professional shark hunter. Roy Scheider stars as police chief Martin Brody, Richard Dreyfuss as marine biologist Matt Hooper, Robert Shaw as shark hunter Quint, Lorraine Gary as Brody's wife Ellen and Murray Hamilton as Mayor Vaughn.
English SDH, French, Spanish (less)
English SDH, French, Spanish, Portuguese, German SDH (less)
Available on Blu-ray - August 14, 2012
Screen Formats: 2.35:1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Audio: English: DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 (48kHz, 24-bit); English: DTS Mono; French: DTS 5.1; Spanish: DTS 5.1
Discs: 50GB Blu-ray Disc; Two-disc set (1 BD, 1 DVD); UV digital copy; DVD copy; BD-Live; D-Box; Mobile features
Universal Studios presents this classic in its theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio with a brand new painstakingly remastered print. The 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode was mined from a recently restoration of the original camera negatives. The process was supervised by Spielberg himself and the results are stunning. There is a sharp clarity to the picture – allowing the viewer to see far over the sea’s horizon – that has never been there before. Contrast is perfect throughout and the colors have more life to them than ever before. Reds gush with significance; blues are true to sky and ocean; and the sand is no longer dulled by age and the consequences of time. Skin tones are perfect and sun-tanned throughout and black tones are deep and inky, never losing their shapes. Interiors are bright and riddled with textures and fine object detail. Even the original mono soundtrack gets a boost with a remastered DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack that completes the fresh overhaul with its immersive qualities and, perhaps, the finest treatment of John Williams’ score. You’ve never seen or heard Jaws like this before and, for my money, it is indeed the very definition of a Must-Own.
Universal Studios Home Entertainment brings Jaws to Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack in line with the studio's 100th Annniversary label. At startup, viewers go straight to the familiar main menu window with an edited cut of the film's opening nighttime swim scene, which then switches to a serene and calm view of the ocean with a buoy in the distance. As you move through the supplemental material, the belly of the beast is exposed…and the truth. Some of the once-included featurettes have been removed for this release. Why? We couldn’t tell you. What you do get are a couple of great documentaries that cover the history of the production, a British news featurette about the film from 1974, a collection of storyboards, production photos and promotional art showing the lighthearted humor the crew needed in order to survive the grueling shoot, a good collection of deleted scenes and outtakes, the original trailer, and a look at the film’s restoration. You also get BD-Live Functionality, My Scenes, News Ticker, pocketBLU app, D-Box Motion Code, a DVD copy and an UltraViolet Digital Copy for portable devices.
- The Making of Jaws (123 min)
- From the Set (9 min)
- Jaws Archives
- Deleted Scenes and Outtakes (14 min)
- The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws (101 min)
- Jaws: The Restoration (8 min)