Jaws: 45th Anniversary Limited-Edition Ultra HD Blu-ray Review

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. Ralph Potts reviews Jaws, in this 45th Anniversary Limited-Edition Ultra HD Blu-ray release from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Film:

Extras:

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )

97

Details:

Studio and Year: Universal – 1975
MPAA Rating: PG
Feature running time: 124 minutes
Genre: Thriller

Disc Format: BD-100
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.35:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1, French DTS-HD 7.1 High Resolution, English DTS 2.0 Mono, Spanish DTS 5.1
Subtitles: English SDH, French
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

Release Date: June 2, 2020

“You’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat”

Synopsis:

“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.” – Universal Pictures Home Entertainment

My Take:

Jaws is 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.

I reviewed the 2012 Jaws Blu-ray release and have included my comments from that review here. Ratings for film, and bonus content will be the same, as they are identical to that release. New comments and ratings for the Ultra HD video and Dolby Atmos sound mix are below.

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 who is afraid 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:

  1. Chrissy
  2. Quint’s intro
  3. Hooper, Larry and the missing tooth
  4. The entire third act (too many to list)
  5. Brody and Mrs. Kintner
  6. “Take my word for it Charlie..”
  7. “That’s some bad hat Harry”
  8. The practical joke water exodus
  9. 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.

In 2012 JAWS was 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 classic American film that is justly deserving of its status. As a fan I am thrilled that it has come to Ultra HD 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.

This Jaws 45th Anniversary limited-edition Combo Pack with lenticular packaging includes a 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray™ and Digital code of the film along with over three hours of bonus features and a 44-page booklet with introductions, rare photos, storyboards and more from the archives. Dive into hours of bonus features including the making of JAWS, deleted scenes, outtakes from set and much more!

Replay Value:

Parental Guide:

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.**

UHD Presentation(HDR-10): 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

UHD Presentation (Dolby Vision): 100
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • HDR: Dark Highlights: 
  • HDR: Bright Highlights: 
  • HDR: Expanded Color: 
  • Resolution: 
  • Visual Impact: 

 

Dolby Atmos Rating: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

 

  • Level of immersion: 
  • Soundstage integration: 
  • Audio object placement: 
  • Effectiveness of Atmos platform: 
  • Entertainment factor: 

 

Jaws comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Universal Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos/TrueHD 7.1 channel sound.

In 2012 Universal fully restored Jaws from the original 35mm negative, and Its presentation in Ultra HD is derived from the 4K Digital Intermediate. It’s important to note that the ultimate goal for any release on home video is to present a film in the highest possible quality based upon its original elements. A film like Jaws has an aesthetic that incorporates film grain and the use of optics that won’t result in the type of high gloss, tack-like sharpness of a film shot using digital cameras. This isn’t a problem and shouldn’t be seen as such.

I would like to start with some of my comments on the 2012 Blu-ray review’s video quality as they pertain here as well:

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 camera pan, 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.

Jaws is a horror/thriller that strives to recreate the look and feel of director Steven Spielberg’s vision. Reminiscent of several other classic catalog films released on Ultra HD Blu-ray, this rendering takes the faithful reproduction on Blu-ray to the next level. I am happy to report that its primary foundation remains fully intact while revealing layers of seemingly new levels of detail, definition, color delineation, and emboldened contrast that elevate its thematic impact. The opening scene with its deep blacks enriching contrast and like dark transitions look better than ever. The white caps on the ocean surface as Chrissy swims out, glisten brightly in the moonlight.

The scenes that take place on the beach during the day in Amity retain their hazy aesthetic with moments where the increased resolution and wide color gamut draw forth a bit more delineation and depth. The opening shot on July 4th as the crowds of beachgoers arrive looks fantastic. Grain remains perfectly intact with a predominantly organic and filmic essence that underscores the thematic content.

In general, I found the application of high dynamic range added a pleasing visual element that enriched both natural and artificial light. I also felt that the purposefully dark/dreary sequences benefited from the application of HDR which emboldened their blacks and shadow delineation. A great example of this is the scene where Brody and Hooper search the waters and stumble upon Ben Gardner’s boat wreckage. The streaming beams from the searchlight, underwater boat lighting and floating particles in the water near the hole in the hull have never looked so lifelike.

The color range over the course of the presentation is reproduced beautifully, especially the rendering of primary colors, which are was gratifying and vivid. I also found that fleshtones appeared gradational and quite natural. As impressed as I was with the 1080p rendering, I found this presentation allowed its attributes to be fully realized in a way that it hadn’t been before.

This Ultra HD presentation is marvelous, adding a lustrous visual element to the experience of watching Jaws. Ultra HD renderings like this should give fans contemplating the switch to an Ultra HD capable set up, the nudge they need.

Dolby Vision vs HDR-10:

I utilize the TCL 55P607 UHD Dolby Vision HDR flat panel in my review system to enable me to compare the visual quality of titles that contained the Dolby Vision metadata versus its HDR-10 counterpart on the same disc. All titles are first watched via my JVC front projector. I then select specific scenes which are watched on the TCL, first via HDR-10 then via Dolby Vision. The TCL isn’t among the top tier flat panels with DV, however it came recommended by AVS Forum Senior Editor Mark Henninger, and calibrates/performs extremely well for a set at its price point.

* The cumulative A/V score will still be based upon the HDR-10 rating, with the DV rating serving as informational only for now.*

In comparing the DV and HDR10 renderings I ran the same scenes using my reference UHD player (both in DV and HDR10 modes). The title looked outstanding on both formats. I simply wasn’t disappointed with either and gave each my highest rating.

Dolby Atmos:

In listening to the Dolby Atmos soundtrack, I was surprised at how active the mix is. The use of overhead sound objects elevates proportional correlation. When compared to the original 5.1 track the Atmos mix offers a noticeable improvement by opening up the soundstage, elevating the perception of low-level detail and seemingly offering broader dynamic range. John Williams’ beautiful music score invigorates the extended sound field as its presence underscores the storyline. The film is loaded with atmospherics, off screen cues and discrete sound effects that when applied using the freedom of object-based placement adds an enriching layer to the soundtrack. This is noticeable right from the opening underwater sequence with noteworthy examples being found throughout (the encounters with the shark both above and underwater sound great!). The new mix doesn’t overshadow the original track’s elements but, simply adds a complimentary layer that brings the listening experience to new heights. Woo Hoo!

For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Bonus Features:

  • Disc 1: Jaws Ultra HD Blu-ray
  • Disc 2: Jaws Blu-ray (2012 Release)
    • The Making of JAWS
    • The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of JAWS
    • JAWS: The Restoration
    • Deleted Scenes and Outtakes
    • From the Set
    • Theatrical TrailerADDITIONAL BONUS FEATURES ON BLU-RAYTM:
    • Storyboards
    • Production Photos
    • Marketing JAWS
    JAWS Phenomenon
  • Collectible 44-page booklet with introductions, rare photos, storyboards and more from the archives.
  • Lenticular Packaging
  • Digital Code

Final Thoughts:

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. Its widely anticipated release in Ultra High Definition has arrived and the results are spectacular. It comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray in this 45th Anniversary Limited-Edition offering featuring newly restored video quality that befits its status, complimentary lossless sound, including multiple listening options one of which is a new Dolby Atmos mix, that enhance its already renowned soundtrack, legacy supplements and collectible extras. Jaws in this Ultra HD Blu-ray Limited -Edition package is simply a must have for the collections of film enthusiasts.

 

Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:

JVC DLA-RS2000 4K Ultra High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman color calibration software and Portrait Displays C6 HDR2000 colorimeter from Portrait.com)
Stewart Filmscreen – Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16×9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Electronic Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV7704 Audio/Video Processor
Emotiva XPA-7 Gen 3 Seven Channel Amplifier
Emotiva XPA-11 Gen 3 Amplifier
Panasonic DP-UB820 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Oppo BDP-203 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/Roomie Remote V6 Universal Remote Control
SVS Ultra Tower Speakers (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Center Channel (Gloss Finish)
SVS Ultra Surrounds (Gloss Finish in Bipolar Configuration)
Dual SVS PC4000 Cylinder Subwoofers
Niles Audio In-Ceiling/In-Wall Series Speakers
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) – Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
AC Infinity Aircom T8 Component Cooling Systems