Peter Benchley’s now classic monster story hits Blu-ray with Steven Spielberg directing Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw through the treacherous waters of Amity Island.
Film making 5/5
Bonus Features 5/5
Total 4.5/5 Stars
Jaws is the classic Steven Spielberg film from 1975 that caused a craze in many ways including the summer blockbuster and films using simple effects to stir the viewer’s imagination. Due to budget constraints and a lack of special effects in the industry Spielberg was forced to use more hinting and less actual shots of the real monster shark.
Jaws was a classic from the start but not the kind any film maker wants to be part of until the film hits theatres, a joke floated through the cast renaming the film “Flaws”. The film had numerous problems during filming which made the scenes often just hint at the giant shark which is especially evident in the opening attack and the chase scenes.
The first girl attacked is never shown with the shark and the chase scenes were the crew of the Orca chase down the barrels that are keeping the shark from diving deep looks great. At the time the shots were done this way because they did not have a decent looking prop so the film went to editing and the final cut of the movie with these scenes used more imagination and less real monster.
Filming like this now is done more with computer based effects and less viewer imagination but the final cut makes the film a classic in cinematography which was actually a big surprise to the cast and crew. Jaws has taken the world to a new and amazing place with its summer blockbuster creation with big budget films and tons of advertising promoting them.
Jaws has other accolades to its style like the general filming in the big ocean miles from land where you can see a shoreline which adds to the films realism that they are at sea instead of in a big lake. Steven Spielberg certainly misjudged Mother Nature and had many problems with equipment just to get things filmed but he also learned a lot and made do with what he had and a stretched budget.
The actors all did a fantastic job and the difficulties faced in production do not show at all throughout the film but actually make it look like everybody knew what they were doing. The camaraderie shown in the one scene of the men comparing war wounds and singing just before the shark returns to fight back really is at odds with the reality of the filming.
Jaws may have been a disaster to film that really turned out to be a great movie and if you think I am kidding one fact really brings this home. The original screenplay had Richard Dreyfuss’ character dying from the shark attacking him in the shark cage.
Due to some great shots of a shark attacking the empty cage in Australia Spielberg decided to change the outcome of the character and have him survive the attack to appear minutes later. This last minute change in plot is a showcase of the entire film and how in the end everything did work out for the better.
Jaws on Blu-ray looks fantastic and is easily the best film I have seen from the 1970’s that has been transferred to Blu-ray and was even under Steven Spielberg’s direction. Rarely does a crew come back to a film so many years later to work on the film in some way but Spielberg helped directly on the transfer to Blu-ray.
The film looks great and color is perfect for each scene without being overly reworked or looking out of place as has happened for older movies transferring to Blu-ray. The film has a great transfer and looks very good as well as sounding fantastic with a great 7.1 surround sound track.
The audio from the 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio Track is fantastic and with the remastered track you get the full force that Spielberg wanted for his film. The score and music of the film really hits home and is fantastic with its iconic pieces that have to this day remained a part of movie culture.
Bonus features include a few new ones as well as others that have been released with previous editions of Jaws in the past including about four hours of extras. The two pieces of extras that are an hour and forty minutes and over two hours are from previous editions while one eight minute piece talks with Spielberg and others about the restoration.
The extras are worth it if you have not seen them before but if you have previous editions these would just be rehashing the past. The entire collection does give about as in-depth a look at the film as you’re ever going to get and is well worth viewing all of it.
Jaws is an iconic that spawned the now common practice of huge advertising campaigns and releasing a film worldwide instead of gradually. The film also spurred a type of filming that is now replicated throughout the horror genre and can easily be seen in films even as early as Alien in 1979.
Jaws is a great movie and well worth the purchase price and the Blu-ray edition is fantastic, a must have film if I have ever seen one.
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