Jaws isn't just a great horror flick. It's not only one of the best when-animals-attack movie ever made. It's simply a fine film across the board, worthy of all accolades. It has certainly has been reviewed enough times, so I won't chum the waters with mine.
Whether you know the movie or not, this latest incarnation is worth a look because it's the first time on Blu-ray and it's got quite a few excellent additional release material featurettes.
The film is presented in an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.36:1 and all the upgrades were personally overseen by Steven Spielberg. The color and picture quality is sharp as a shark's tooth but the HD is still true to the original 35mm negative. The blacks and midnight blues are dark and nuances can be seen everywhere — you can pretty much read all the text on the cork board and in the shark attack book scene, if you want to look that closely! Audio is similarly improved, with John Williams’ score da-da-dumming with more clarity than ever before thanks to DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 track. Even other sounds, such as clinking glasses and soft sighs can be heard as never before.
When it comes to the features, many of them are collected from other editions. Which is fine; I mean, what more can be said about a classic from the 1970s? From the Special Edition DVD there are deleted scenes and outtakes, the Making of Jaws, From the Set footage and Jaws promotional archives. However, there is one big, great-white sized new feature exclusively released for the Blu-ray, and that is The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact and Legacy of Jaws.
Taking a (sound) bite from a repeated refrain during the filming of the blockbuster — "The shark is not working!" — this documentary on the film and its subsequent sequels tells you everything you ever wanted to know about sharks but were afraid to ask.
This doc has been in the works for years, and was much-anticipated by Bruce's worldwide fan-base ("Bruce" being the nickname given to that uncooperative mechanical Great White). A pared-down version finally finds its way to the masses, here on the Blu-ray. Obviously a labor of love, leagues-deep with info on every aspect from the artwork on the novel's cover to the spate of shark-killings which followed the film's release, this dissertation has it all.
Perhaps most interesting to fans of this "nature attacks!" horror movie and all-around suspense classic will be the never-before-seen interviews with director Stephen Spielberg, stars Richard Dreyfuss and Roy Schieder (who also narrates the doc), author Peter Benchley in his very last on-camera interview, screenwriter Carl Gottlieb, production designer Joe Alves, and producers Richard Zanuck and David Brown… to name just a few of the principals.
There are also several interviews with peripheral fans (out of nowhere filmmakers like Kevin Smith and M. Night Shyamalan, Jaws memorabilia collectors, marine biology experts, film critics). And rest assured, the horror aspect of the film is well-explored — as is our "primal" (a word that comes out a lot, and is cleverly played up) fear of underwater predators, and the ocean in general. John Williams' super-scary score is also given its proper props.
Director Erik Hollander and writer James Gelet have left no shark unturned, fully exploring not only the original film but its sequels and spawn ad infinitum. Witty-written and prettily-presented (stills move in 3-D effect, ala The Kid Stays in the Picture), The Shark Is Still Working is well worth a look for diehard devotees and casual fans alike.
Blu-ray Bonus Features
The Shark is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of JAWS.
JAWS: The Restoration: An all-new, in-depth look at the intricate process of restoring the movie.
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.
Deleted Scenes & Outtakes
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
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