Blu-ray Review: Jaws

Jaws Blu-ray boxSTUDIO: Universal | DIRECTOR: Steven Spielberg | CAST: Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw
BLU-RAY & DVD RELEASE DATE: 8/14/2012 | PRICE: Blu-ray/DVD Combo $29.98
BONUSES: featurettes, deleted scenes, archives, outtakes, digital copy, Pocket Blu
SPECS: PG | 124 min. | Thriller | 2.35:1 aspect ratio | DTS-HD 7.1 audio | English, Spanish and French subtitles

RATINGS (out of 5 dishes): Movie | Audio | Video | Overall

JawsIf we’re thankful for anything in Universal Studios turning 100 in 2012, it’s that the studio released a restored version of Jaws in celebration of its centennial birthday. (Of course, we’re very excited about the Blu-ray debut of E.T. in October, but that comes later.)

Steven Spielberg’s (Jurassic Park) epic shark attack movie — the reason beach goers have been wary of the ocean since 1975 — looks nothing less than amazing on this Blu-ray. Spielberg says as much in the featurette “Jaws: The Restoration,” admitting that the high-definition home version looks better than the film ever did in theaters. And he’s right. Universal’s restoration, which is detailed in the featurette, brings out the film’s color, from the first night scene, to the ridiculous 1970s fashions and the blood red in the spooky seas, and the sharpness, down to the shine on star Roy Scheider’s (2010) nose.

And the 7.1 sound, all restored from the original materials, resonate beautifully in the speakers, from the lapping water to John Williams’ (Indiana Jones movies) dah dah… dah dah… score.

Of course, such a great restoration of a film shot before digital effects does have its drawbacks: The legendary rubber shark Bruce, which was used in many shots in Jaws, is more noticeably fake now. But, with Spielberg’s tension-filled direction and Williams’ Oscar-winning and renowned score, the movie is still terrifying.

Honestly, we can’t praise the restoration enough. And it’s fitting that the process gets its own featurette. “Jaws: The Restoration” shows the work that went into the preservation of this movie, including the cleaning of the original negatives and the documentation of the making of the film in DVD producer Laurent Bouzereau’s fascinating “The Making of Jaws,” which was originally on the two-DVD 30th Anniversary Special Edition released in 2005 and is included on this Blu-ray/DVD set.

Most of the special features on the Blu-ray are, in fact, ripped off that 2005 DVD, and why not? They’re good. They also include a “From the Set” featurette, deleted scenes and outtakes and storyboard, production photo and marketing archives.

But, as well as “Jaws: The Restoration,” the Blu-ray contains the new multi-part documentary “The Shark Is Still Working,” named after the notoriously unreliable mechanical shark — nicknamed Bruce after Spielberg’s lawyer — that was used in the film. Narrated by star Scheider, the retrospective looks at shooting in Martha’s Vineyard in 1974, the movie’s worldwide legacy, Williams’ iconic theme music, co-star Robert Shaw (The Sting), who passed away too early three years after Jaws was released in theaters, and more.

Coupled with the great Blu-ray menu, which replays that peaceful opening sequence with the lapping water before the first shark attack, this 100th Anniversary Universal disc is definitely one for every film lovers’ collection.

Buy or Rent Jaws
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About S. Clark

Sam Clark is the former Managing Editor/Online Editor of Video Business magazine. With 19 years experience in journalism, 12 in the home entertainment industry, Sam has been hooked on movies on since she saw E.T. then stared into the sky waiting to meet her own friendly alien. Thanks to her husband’s shared love of movies, Sam reviews Blu-ray discs in a true home theater, with a 118-inch screen, projector and cushy recliners with cup holders.