The Review at a Glance: (max score: 5 )
Audio/Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )
Studio and Year: Universal - 1975
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 124 minutes
Disc Format: BD-50
Encoding: AVC (MPEG-4)
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Audio Format(s): English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Dolby Digital Mono, Spanish/French DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French, Spanish
Starring: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, Murray Hamilton, Lorraine Gary
Directed by: Steven Spielberg
Music by: John Williams
Written by: Peter Benchley & Carl Gottlieb based on the novel by Peter Benchley
Region Code: A,B,C
Blu-ray Disc release Date: August 14, 2012
When the seaside community of Amity finds itself under attack by a dangerous great white shark, the town's chief of police (Roy Scheider), a young marine biologist (Richard Dreyfuss) and a grizzled shark hunter (Robert Shaw) embark on a desperate quest to destroy the beast before it strikes again.
I saw Jaws is the theater in 1975 when I was eleven years old. It was and is an experience that I will never forget. The terror and fear it evoked resonated well afterward and like most who saw it I was in no hurry to go anywhere near the water. Back then I viewed it as frighteningly good movie that everyone talked about but my perspective revolved more around the shark and suspense. As a fan I would watch it whenever it was on TV/cable. As I grew older I developed a much deeper appreciation for it.
Jaws is one of my all time favorite films. It’s a gripping thriller with a superbly crafted story that is driven by suspense, a transcendent music score and iconic characters that include the 25 foot great white shark. I think what I love best about Jaws is it characters. The primaries in Brody, Hooper, Quint and the shark are of course the standouts but there are a host of colorful and complimentary secondary characters, which would include John Williams’ music, that are essential to what makes Jaws special. The screenplay carefully sets the stage by introducing each of the main players beginning with the memorable opening sequence and then slowly building, then escalating the suspense, while integrating elements of drama, humor and horror that effectively connect us with the story.
Initially not showing the shark and then drawing it as a marauding rogue with a vengeful mean streak is a defining element that is played to perfection. Of course that is just the tip of the iceberg. Looking closer there is enriching narrative components that support the story. Brody a man on an island whose afraid of the water, Hooper & Quint (the old seadog versus the cocky rich kid), Larry the mayor who can’t see the forest for the trees, Brody’s dilemma (responsibility versus pressure), man against nature and the looming question of what if? The first and second acts of the film are excellent but for me it’s the third act that puts the icing on the cake. From the point where Brody says goodbye to his wife, before boarding the Orca, through to the end credits combines all the film’s elements and makes for some of best/memorable moments ever caught on film. Everyone seems to have their favorite scenes, many of which are shared. Here is a few that standout for me:
- Quint’s intro
- Hooper, Larry and the missing tooth
- The entire third act (too many to list)
- Brody and Mrs. Kintner
- “Take my word for it Charlie..”
- “That’s some bad hat Harry”
- The practical joke water exodus
- Brody and Larry ”Do what you do best”
Jaws is an indelible movie experience comprised of quotable lines, endearing characters and engaging filmmaking. Steven Spielberg’s visionary direction is expertly underscored by Bill Butler’s terrific cinematography and Verna Fields’ pitch perfect editing. Here is some information from Universal’s press release that I found worthy of mention:
One of the most influential motion pictures of all time and nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award®, JAWS stars Oscar® winner Richard Dreyfuss and Oscar® nominees Roy Scheider and Robert Shaw. Produced by legendary filmmakers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown, the film earned an Oscar® for composer John Williams’ instantly recognizable minimalist score, as well as Oscars® for Best Editing and Best Sound. When it was first released in 1975, JAWS smashed box-office records and became the highest-grossing film of its era. Today, it remains one of the highest-grossing films in motion-picture history and is largely considered the film that launched the summer blockbuster.
JAWS is one of 13 classic Universal films to be digitally remastered and fully restored from 35mm original film elements as part of Universal’s ongoing 100th Anniversary celebration. The JAWS restoration began with researching and evaluating the existing film elements to determine the best means to restore the film. Over the course of several months, skilled technicians at Universal Studios Digital Services meticulously balanced color, removed dirt and scratches, and repaired any damage to the film.
Jaws is a classic American film that is justly deserving of its status. As a fan I am thrilled that it has come to Blu-ray. Universal has gone the extra mile to ensure that its presentation is worthy of the expectations of film enthusiasts. Read on to see my take on the results.
The rating is for thematic material, disturbing images, brief language and terror.
AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:
REFERENCE = 92-100 / EXCELLENT = 83-91 / GOOD = 74-82 / AVERAGE = 65-73 / BELOW AVERAGE = under 65
**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Low frequency extension:
- Surround Sound presentation:
- Dialogue Reproduction:
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)
- Black level/Shadow detail:
- Color reproduction:
Jaws comes to Blu-ray Disc from Universal Studios Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 27 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 5.3 Mbps.
Universal did an outstanding job with the frame by frame restoration which appears to have beautifully preserved the film’s original elements. Colors are tonally balanced with lustrous primaries, clean rendering and visible delineation in the secondary hues that make up the period clothing. Fleshtones are appreciably lifelike with discernible texture and natural tonal depiction. I was easily able to discern the difference in the shades of blue in Robert Shaw’s and Richard Dreyfuss’ eyes. The earth tones in the sky, beach and landscape locations look incredible. The level of visible detail in facial features, hair and clothing during close-ups is noteworthy. The weave in the fabric of Larry’s sports jackets as well as the slightly worn leather on the seats of Martin’s patrol truck is noticeable. Wide angle shots vary in terms of visual depth but most reveal subtle degrees of refinement and fidelity appears intact. I could make out the rough texture on the roadway surface as well as the cleanly reproduced pattern in the front grill of the police truck during the long range panning shot after Martin leaves home and heads to the beach early in the film.
Resolution is excellent as interior shots of the Brody home, town hall, and Quint’s boat, The Orca, offer clarity, detail and dimension that in many instances offers an enriching perspective that belies the film’s age. Shadow detail is quite good and conveys appreciable dimension during the scenes shot in uneven light. Blacks are gradational, stable and deep. Contrast and brightness are balanced well which enliven bright scenes and colors while maintaining a discerning level of visibility during low level segments. Look for the brief scene in chapter 14 as Quint stands shadowed in the boat’s pulpit in the failing dusk light with the gorgeous multi-staged gray and orange sky behind him. Grain is present although minimally inconsistent which appears attributable to the restoration process. The effects are diminutive and not compromising in my opinion. Having seen Jaws in the theater over thirty years ago I have no recollection of how well this presentation compares. While there are instances where the seams of the restorative process shows they didn’t prove quantifiable enough to warrant a deduction in my opinion. Having watched Jaws countless times on home video I must admit to being blown away by how good it looks here. Universal has done a wonderful job with it and I for one certainly am appreciative of their efforts.
The film’s soundtrack has been re-mixed into lossless 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround sound. For the purist the original Mono track is included as well. Similar to the film restoration it is readily apparent that plenty of care went into the redesigned audio. The presentation features sparkling clarity and focused imaging. Dialogue is refined and tonally distinctive as it seamlessly blends with the front three channels. The scene where Martin and Ellen stand near the gangway saying goodbye before Martin boards the Orca sounds great as Quint’s running dialogue can clearly be heard in the background. The vocal performances are sibilant free with smooth transitions and opulent texture. Excellent channel separation enhances the discerning of sound effects and the orchestrated elements present in the music as the sound field bristles with sonic detail (the opening of chapter of 11 is a great example of this). The surrounds are utilized for discretely placed sound effects (listen as the shark pummels the boat following “show me the way to go home”) and atmospheric extension that creates an enveloping presence that appreciably enhances John Williams’ superlative music score. Robust dynamic range and low frequency effects combine to provide good solidity and weight to the audio without sounded unnatural. These primarily come in the form of bass content associated with the music score and in support of recorded elements that contain lower bass frequencies. I was extremely pleased with the outcome of this audio presentation. It highlights the strengths of the source material without ostentatious display and sounds great.
This audio/video presentation as a whole successfully compliments the film and makes for a significant improvement over the standard definition release of Jaws. Kudos to Universal on a job well done.
- Deleted Scenes & Outtakes – 13 minutes
- The Shark is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of JAWS: All-new feature-length 101 minute documentary featuring never-before-seen footage and interviews with cast and crew including Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Scheider. (10 segments)
- Martha’s Vineyard
- This is a Great White..a BIG one
- The shark is not working
- Call me Ismael
- I Love Sharks..I love them
- The USS Indianapolis
- Life imitates Jaws
- The Shark is still working
- Martha’s Vineyard
- (HD) JAWS: The Restoration: An all-new, in-depth look at the intricate process of restoring the movie – 8 minutes.
- The Making of JAWS: A two-hour documentary featuring interviews with key cast and crew.
- From the Set: An insider’s look at life on the set of JAWS, featuring an interview with Steven Spielberg – 9 minutes.
- JAWS Archives: Take a peek inside the JAWS archives, including storyboards, production photos and marketing materials, as well as a special segment on the JAWS phenomenon.
- Original Theatrical Trailer
- Ultraviolet Digital Copy
- Bonus DVD
- Digital Copy
- pocket BLU
- My scenes bookmark feature
- D-Box Motion Code enabled
Jaws is one of the most popular films of all time and is a classic piece of American Cinema that is beloved by people the world over. This highly anticipated Blu-ray release is a rewarding achievement that revitalizes the film’s original elements. The restored high definition video presents this film in a new light and the lossless 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio surround mix aggrandizes the soundtrack without ostentatious display. The assortment of bonus supplements includes Blu-ray Exclusive content, cast/crew interviews, behind the scenes footage and more. Jaws is a cinematic gem and a personal favorite that has finally come to Blu-ray. I am happy to report that Universal Studios has gone the extra mile to provide fans with the opportunity to experience it looking and sounding better than ever. This is a must have Blu-ray offering plain and simple.
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Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS55 3D Ready 1080p High Definition Front Projector
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Onkyo PR-SC5508 THX Ultra 2 Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-93 Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Panasonic DMP-BDT310 3D capable Blu-ray Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Toshiba HD-XA2 HD DVD Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player (HDMI Audio/Video)
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" Series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SV Sound PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
APC AV S15BLK Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Furman SPR-20i Stable Power Regulator
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package