The 1975 Steven Spielberg classic "Jaws" comes out on a Universal 100th Anniversary Edition package consisting of a Blu-ray disc and a DVD. The disc set houses the film's HD, SD, and UV digital copies, along with a number of supplements. Undoubtedly one of the most successful and influential films in cinema history, this horror-thriller masterpiece based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same title won three Oscars for Best Film Editing, Best Musical Score, and Best Sound, along with a nomination for the much-coveted award for Best Picture.
Set in a small island town known for its tourist-driven beach, the story revolves around a great white shark that starts menacing the people in the community. This leads a part-time sheriff to team up with a marine biologist and a grizzled seafarer to hunt it down. The film stars Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, and Murray Hamilton.
Compared to prior disc editions, this Blu-ray package's image resolution in this new and restored version aptly reveals new unseen details for the movie's already brilliant set pieces. This cinematic opus looks almost brand new, while still keeping the integrity and novelty of its source print. Scenes consistently showcase impeccably balanced color timing and beautifully crisp images. Spielberg's choice of shots truly establishes a sense of dread that is worth revisiting in its HD glory.
Overall, the people behind the remastering of the film did a remarkable job in cleaning up the images. Shots are virtually free of heavy noise and other intrusive age-related problems. Some white specks are still occasionally present, but they are not detrimental to the overall quality of the picture.
This transfer boasts a thrillingly effective lossless seven-channel track, which is smartly paired with the equally pleasing original mono tracks for purists to enjoy. It also provides dubbed five-channel tracks in Spanish and French. With the choice for which one works better for the picture being quite subjective in nature, both the repurposed mix and the mono mix work well in the story. No high-end crackles and other aural distortions plague the film.
The master surround track offers a spectacular mix that is wonderfully spread through the different channels. John Williams' iconic and magnificently towering score sound extraordinary. Audio elements have distinctive clarity and precision that even the relatively quieter scenes benefit from the immersive sound placement of ambient effects. Viewers can easily overcome the understandably mono-like feel of the dialogue which clearly comes from the film's original recording.
The combo pack supplies a couple of extras including the feature-length pieces "The Shark is Still Working: The Impact and Legacy of Jaws" and "the Making of Jaws," the vintage production featurette "From the Set," a reel of deleted scenes and outtakes, and the film's original theatrical trailer. These videos are all presented in SD format. The package also hosts the in-depth restoration featurette "Jaws: The Restoration," which is the sole HD material in the roster, as well as "JAWS Archives," which compiles storyboards, production photos, and different film collaterals as digital collectibles. Subtitles are available in English SDH, Spanish, and French.
"Jaws" is an impressive addition to Universal's restoration efforts of catalog releases for its centennial celebration. Even after more than three decades, this blockbuster offering's impact on film and culture continues to have a firm grip on many generations of cinema fans. Its influence in motion-picture history makes this Blu-ray release a great addition to anyone's classic movie collection.
- Arts & Entertainment
- Peter Benchley