on 7 September 2012
I've broken a golden rule with myself as I vowed never to buy a Blu-ray at its full price if I'd already owned the film on a multitude of different formats before (VHS , Laserdisc , DVD) , but some films are just worth paying that extra for and I honestly couldn't wait for the price to drop as this is one of my all time favourite films.
Its going to be hard not to quote lines from the film or make any corny puns writing this review , so will do my best not too.
After the disappointing picture quality of Spielberg's Jurassic Park box set on Blu-ray , I was more than a little wary of this transfer , but I'm pleased to say that all is excellent with Jaws.
The 7.1 remastering is just incredible through my AV receiver! It was like being sat in the middle of a 94 piece orchestra and has now topped the best sound on any of my Blu-rays.
The scene where the shark attacks the guy in the estuary is a good example of a subtle change in sound. There's a nice deep bass thud through the subwoofer when he is pulled underwater from his upturned boat , and although its a tiny tweak to the sound , it really makes all the difference and now that scene appears more violent than it already was.
The night time attack on the Orca has a similar effect of making a scene more potent , with more bass thudding punch to the sound coming from every direction around your front room when the shark repeatedly hits the boat , and by NO means is the new sound overpowering to these scenes , its just the right touch.
The picture restoration is just fantastic , although I nearly spat my drink out at one point ! Not through being made to jump at a scene but at one stage , I thought Mr Lucas had broken into the editing lounge with his trusty laptop and tweaked about with Spielberg's masterpiece... Thankfully , I wasn't in for a world of hurt , pain and misery , and when I compared the DVD to this Blu-ray , it was more down to the new colour restoration and new clarity that I was unused to with this film. The scene in question is with the two shooting stars , which now appear to have more of a reddish hue making them look more vibrant , and not down to Mr Lucas's destroy, destroy , destroy mentality... PHEW !
Some excellent documentaries with this Blu-ray which is around 4 hours worth , some of which have been transferred straight from the Laserdisc and DVD with a couple of new ones. Notably , The Shark is Still Working documentary , which is a brilliant addition to the extras , but all the features are worth watching again and again.
It just doesn't matter how many times I see the deleted scene of Quint in the music shop , it cracks me up every time and its a shame that actually got cut from the film.
There's also a short documentary on the restoration process , which Mr Lucas might find helpful as to what is appropriate and WHAT ISN'T ! Can't help but think that Spielberg is sending a subtle message to Mr Lucas in one of his interviews by saying that 'less is more' and if he had the technology of CGI back when he was filming Jaws , it wouldn't be as good !
I do know some people who spend vast sums of money on the latest TV to ensure they're getting the best quality picture , but then still watch a film with the sound through their TV speakers , with the attitude of "so long as I can hear it , it doesn't matter" and just don't realise what a dramatic impact or difference a good sound setup can do to any film and can cost as little as £50 for a basic system.
Anything is better than standard TV speakers and really are only getting half of the whole Blu-ray experience without a good home cinema system.
For me , and this is a personal preference , sound is the most important element that I look for when upgrading a film to Blu-ray , picture quality a very close second and the amount of extras comes third.
This Blu-ray ticks all the right boxes and more and with the new picture and sound it really feels like your watching this film for the very first time , which I know sounds a little cliché , but just can't recommend this Blu-ray highly enough.
All in all I'm ecstatic with this upgrade and hope that the Blu-ray box set of Indiana Jones due out next month , is as good in quality as this JAWSome film... Sorry , couldn't resist.
on 16 July 2004
If you have not seen it - please go out and get it now. Action films simply do not compare to movies like this. Jaws is subtle, clever and at times hilarious, and unlike most blockbusters does not rely on special effects and trifling acts of sensationalism to sell. The film is about a killer shark, but for the first half of the film we do not see her - this is what makes the film great - we are able instead to concentrate on the way humans react to this unseen force. The scheming town mayor is an accurate satire on the self-important local busy-body who thinks only of the financial ruin the shark could cause. Don't miss the on going duels between the rich college boy Hooper and the working class hero Quint - it is here where some of the best dialogue appears. The first half of the film is so good one almost forgets about the shark as a physical entity, more of an abstract notion which is only conceived by the way the islanders behave. The second half is where all the action happens as far as seeing the shark up close and personal. All in all, a film of two halves which compliment each other exquisitely. Get it - you can watch it again and again and you will always pick up a witicism that you had not heard before. It will never die
on 13 September 2005
This is the set for the ultimate collector. This limited edition set comes in a black box. Don't worry, the box will
fit on your DVD shelf, it is about the same height as a standard
box, and about as wide as two normal DVD boxes put together.
Even if you got the 25th Anniversary edition, splashing out on this one is definitely worth it. As with the normal version you get the two DVDs. Disk one contains the movie in 2.35:1 Anamorphic Widescreen with DTS 5.1 Surround sound. The picture quality is vey good, although there are a few 'white spots' here and there.
The second disk contains a 1 hour 50 min documentary, containing everything from Universal winning the rights to the novel, through production and the mechanical shark not working, all the way to the release of the film. Since the film is quite old, there is not much behind the scenes footages. This documentary is composed mainly of people just talking.
Other features include; a Spielberg interview on set from 1974, some shark facts, 13 deleted scenes, outtakes, storyboard and image gallery.
This collector's edition also includes a soundtrack C.D., a limited edition senitape, 8 lobby cards, 6 publicity stills and a sketch book.
on 8 September 2012
I am loath to give this film anything less than 5 stars but in this instance a ball has been dropped. A small ball, maybe. But even small balls can hurt when dropped.
One of the most iconic films of a generation has finally been brought out in stunning high definition and it is stunning. The restoration is fantastic. Sound and picture are hyper clear and thankfully the restoration has not had softening noise reduction thrown at it. It looks beautifully grainy where it should. Jaws was the film I had been waiting for and went straight into the collection as a pre-order as soon as this steelbook was released.
Bit of a shame then really that this Steelbook is prone to become easily nicked or scratched due to the glossy nature of the artwork but secondly and a bit more importantly is the access to the film in the menu section.
I sat through the glorious montage of bells and whistles celebrating 100 years of Universal films and prepared myself for the main feature only to be greeted by one of the worst menu systems ever. It begins with the scene of the Summer Girl first victim and then the menu features open up for use. Sounds nice and all but you need to be somewhat experienced in hieroglyphics in order to gain correct access to the various features, extras, subtitles etc, there is no text and save for the familiar 'Play' triangle, the others are vague symbols to say the least.
It is standard, corporate and a pretty mundane menu system. 'So What' some may cry. Well 'Why Not?" The beauty of Blu Ray is that it is the definitive release of a film certainly in physical form. It will be digital downloads from here on in so if you want to actually own the film then really Blu-ray will be the final physical format. So for this reason why don't the studios produce these definitive versions with the attention they deserve.
As I mentioned, the restoration of this film has been comprehensive and the documentary regarding this process included in the extra features is a must watch. So with this treatment it really feels to me that the menu system has just received an afterthought. My reckoning as to the reasons for this spawn from Universals' commitment to include their infamous silver 'swish' border at the left hand side of all their menu screens. It prohibits developers from indulging their creativity and results in a half hearted effort.
Take a film I recently bought as an example; First Blood [Blu-ray] This film is under £4 (at time of writing) and it was also one of the earliest Blu-ray releases ever released, put together by British company Studiocanals' Optimum blu-ray department. The film itself has received a fair HD transfer and very little in the way of extras but the menu system is in keeping with the film and pays homage with a showcase of scenes and an interactive Bowie knife to select the menu options. It is relatively basic but it trumps the bells and whistles release of this feature, hands down.
Great examples of Menu systems for reference would include:
Alien Anthology [Blu-ray]  [6 Disc Set]
Iron Man (2 Disc) [Blu-ray][Region Free] 
Star Trek XI [Blu-ray] [Region Free]
Rant over. So (a harsh, maybe) 4.5 stars for this release as the film itself is truly the definitive presentation.
on 26 April 2014
I'm sure that everyone knows the plot of this movie now, so I'll just briefly sum it up; Three guys (the local police chief, a marine biologist and a local professional shark hunter) go out on a mission to kill the great white shark that has been killing people.
I love this movie, but I do have one or two issues with it (I'll talk about those later).
As a lot of people know, this movie is notorious for having production problems, mainly because the three mechanical sharks used were entirely unreliable, and therefore did not work. Oddly, I think that this actually worked in the movie's favour, as it allowed for a lot more character development, and it helped build up the tension, as we don't see the shark for the majority of the movie.
In terms of the actors, I just have one word; AMAZING.
Now onto the issues I have (both of which are so minor that they are not enough to reduce my rating for this movie). One is that the shark, of course, looks fake (except for the shots when Hooper is in the cage, as most of those were actually a real shark). Another is a very personal issue with the blu-ray (btw, the movie looks AMAZING on blu-ray), and that is the fact that when you're getting the disc out, you have to place your finger over the shark's mouth (you can stop laughing now). I don't know why, but I've always been a little bit scared of doing that, even when just holding the box I'll make sure that none of my fingers is over the shark's mouth (seriously, stop laughing). It may be something to do with the image of the shark, I don't know. Anyway, I still enjoy the movie.
Anything else? Oh yes, the music! Again, AMAZING, especially that theme tune (dada dada dada dada dada dada dada dada dada dada dadadadadadadadadada). IMO, that is one of the best theme tunes in movie history. It's certainly one of the most iconic - it's one of a handful (OK, maybe a little more than a handful) of theme tunes that are instantly recognizable; you hear that theme tune, you think "Jaws".
If there's anyone who hasn't seen this movie yet, stop reading these reviews and BUY IT NOW!
on 13 May 2005
One day early in 1976, I discovered a school friend reading a book which he told me was about people on an island being terrorised by a killer shark. I thought it was a hysterical idea and laughed my head off, but just a few short months later, the posters appeared everywhere, depicting the conical, toothsome head propelling towards a hapless surface swimmer and proclaiming "She was the first". JAWS had arrived, and like everyone else I was queuing round the block, desperate to see what has become one of the most famous, talked about, and influential movies of our time.
The story is well known, probably even by people who weren't born when the film came out. One man, police chief Brody (Roy Scheider) against a killer shark and the fictitious community of Amity Island, a town that won't face the truth about the monster in its midst. Brody is joined in his escapade by oceanographer Hooper, played by Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw in a career-topping performance as rough-diamond shark hunter Quint, the man with a liking for scraping his fingernails down blackboards and comparing war-wounds. All three are excellent, cutting tremendously engaging characters and helping the storyline to flow seamlessly. In the early scenes the shark itself is portrayed largely as an unseen menace, picking off its victims and teasing the audience with clever camera angles and of course John Williams' legendary soundtrack. The suspense builds brilliantly, but there are some humorous moments as well. and the child actors create some entertaining diversion - kids playing with a fake shark fin cause widespread panic at the beach. A poignant interaction between Brody and his son at the dinner table - all scenes of vintage Spielberg.
But it's in the second half, essentially a three-hander between Scheider, Dreyfuss and Shaw, when the movie really comes into it's own. The claustrophobic isolation of Quint's creaky fishing boat sets the scene for a final stand off between man and man-eater. The three make an ill-fitting team and it's clear from the outset who's going to come off worse. When the final pay-off comes, it's every bit the result of two hours of carefully racked-up tension, and enough to leave the viewer heaving a sigh of relief when it's over.
The big question is of course, more than 30 years on, is JAWS still a great film? And to me the answer will always be a resounding YES!! It stands up to repeated viewing and created a style much imitated even today. Maybe by today's standards the model shark (nicknamed "Bruce" by the film makers) seems phoney, and the movie certainly fell victim to sequel-syndrome in the years that followed, but these are minor flaws in a work of exceptional merit. If you've never caught it before, whatever you do, don't miss this classic.
on 7 May 2004
Jaws is one of those classics that, no matter how many times you see it, you are able to watch time and again without feeling bored. Sure, you know the ending, but who cares when a film is this much fun?! For those of you who haven't seen this film (how you managed to avoid it I can't even guess!) it won't spoil the film much by simply saying that, when a giant great white shark terrorizes a sleepy community, all hell breaks loose and it's up to the local law-man to set things right.
You can tell from the off that this film is a classic, with the opening score, that has become so synonymous with the animal star of the film, by the great John Williams (who has also written the score for Star Wars, Raiders of the Lost Ark, Home Alone, Jurassic Park and, more recently, Harry Potter, to name but a few). The acting is much more than you would expect from the average film of this genre, and this above all else keeps the viewer hooked to the very end. For their time the action sequences are excellent, though by todays standards they would seem dreadful. This does, however, not detract from the movie in the slightest.
Jaws has had a huge following, and will always be hailed as a classic. The film is so good, in fact, that it has created an almost world-wide fear of the great white shark. Of course, included on the DVD are a multitude of special features - even an educational video - so you can learn for yourself the whether or not this beast will rise from the deep next time you're out having a doggy-paddle! The full list of features is printed above, so I won't bore you with repetativeness. Needless to say that there is an impressive array of special features which far out-weigh those of most DVD's both in terms of content and quality.
To sum things up:
If you have seen this film and enjoyed it, then this is the DVD for you. If you haven't seen this film there are few that I can recommend more highly. Rent it, buy it, but whatever you do, you MUST see this film!
on 23 November 2012
I waited for the digibook version of this movie as I felt this would look nicer on the shelf and also gets a behind the scene booklet incorporated.
The film looks great, Extras are terrific with 2 x 2hour long documentaries as stand out.
But you have to decide which package you want as I didn't take too much notice myself. If you are going for the digibook version, you don't get the digital downloads. The digital versions only come in basic casing.
Now I'm not gonna moan mainly because I didn't read the different marketing points of each, but alternate packaging versions are becoming quite common Universal seem to be the main guilty party with steelbook, digibook, digital copy, augmented all having been available this year.
Just make sure you hold out for the version you like cos the disc content is usually the same.
i: I appreciate it's Universal's 100 year anniversary but how many compilation adverts were on here before you get to the menu screen ????
ii: I don't like the symbols on the menu screen (also seen on the classic monsters collection and I'm guessing on more universal releases). I forget almost every time where the symbols might take me if I select one of them although the play symbol is fairly obvious.
menus, ads and multi-versions aside, the film is a classic and never looked better with a multitude of extras
on 11 December 2014
What can I say about this modern suspense horror masterpiece that hasn't been said before?
As well as being one of Steven Spielberg's three best films along with Schindler's List and Saving Private Ryan, it is a tight, well paced superbly filmed masterclass in how to ratchet up the tension through mood, music and well placed camera cuts and zooms - Alfred Hitchcock saw it and said that "Spielberg was the first director he had ever seen who think outside of the Proscenium Arch" of the cinema - high praise indeed from the master of suspense cinema.
But it is in the three main performances that the film's main strengths lie - Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw in the stunning performance of his career - seriously, watch his speech on the boat about the sinking off the USS Indianapolis, I can't believe he didn't win the Oscar for best supporting actor!
An all time, five star, definite must buy classic at a great price with lots of extras.
Just Buy It!
on 19 August 2006
I first saw Jaws in 1975 at the tender age of 12 and had nightmares for a fortnight! Thirty one years later, the nightmares are gone, I have a fascination for sharks and Jaws is my all-time favourite film. Why?
Well, for a start, just watch the characterisation between the three male leads. These are extremely strong characters in their own right and, in any other film, would be fighting each other for dominance of the screen. Yet Spielberg makes these characters work together beautifully and the result is a joy to behold. Catch the interplay between Quint and Hooper on the Orca - Quint crushes his beer can and Hooper, not to be outdone, crushes his plastic cup!
For those of you who have not seen Jaws (where have you been?!) the basic plot is simple. A large great white shark stakes a claim off the local Amity Island beach and begins to snack on the tourists. The police chief, Brody, is the only one who suspects its existance, but his pleas to hire a fisherman to kill the shark fall on deaf ears - it's the beginning of the summer season and the locals are scared they will lose their income if he closes the beaches. In desperation, Brody calls in a young oceanographer to help and the pair set out to prove that the town has a shark problem, a scene which is brought about spectacularly when the shark enters the boating pool, capsizes Brody's son's boat, kills a rower and then escapes back out to sea. Brody is vindicated, Quint is hired to kill the shark and the hunt is on!
Jaws is almost a movie in two parts. The first half sets up the plot and characters, introduces the unseen menace of the shark and plays like a basic horror movie. Once Quint enters the fray and the trio set out to trap the shark, the mood moves up a notch, with some scenes playing almost as though from a comedy and the whole thing feeling like a jolly jaunt at sea! Even the appearance of the shark doesn't darken the tone, but adds to the adventure. Once the strange nature of the shark becomes apparent, however, the menace returns and the movie turns once more into horror mode, with our hunters becoming the hunted in a fight for survival.
Each scene is set up with the utmost eye for detail in this movie. Several are my favourites and are worth watching out for - the now famous reverse dolly shot as Brody sees a shark attack from the beach - Brody's son, Shaun, mirroring his father's movements as he ponders what to do - the stunning shot of the ocean through the bridge archway, which seems to echo the shape of the shark's jaws - and Quint's USS Indianapolis speech. And complimenting every scene is John Williams' outstanding score. Never,in the history of movies, have two notes sounded so threatening!
I could talk about Jaws all day, but I'm beginning to run out of space! I love this movie and I would like everyone to love it too! It's the ultimate man-against-nature movie and a rollicking adventure to boot! Absolutely well worth a viewing! And don't be afraid to go in the water!