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A masterclass in transfers !
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.