Jaws Review

Movie: Jaws
By: Maniac E
Date: August 9, 2012

Do you like fish? Well, he likes you too...

There was no other movie that made sure people wouldn't want to go into the water anymore. Spielberg's "Jaws" is back and restored for this bluray edition. Most of us know how it should be before we see anything, our ears are chilled by composer John Williams' menacing two note soundtrack which then builds into that unforgettable frenzy as the unseen shark savages its first victim. Spielberg made sure we got our water fears up.

Though it was Spielberg's first foray into high-concept filmmaking, Jaws continues to serve as a blueprint for the blockbuster film, has spawned countless imitators, and remains a perfect example of how to perfectly build suspense. It all begins with the death of a young swimmer at the jaws of a shark, an influential scene in of itself, the very first "stinger kill", which would populate slasher films in the succeeding years. While more bodies turn up on Amity Island, Spielberg milks the slow burn, hiding the shark in his watery depths, instead introducing us to Roy Scheider's protagonist, Police Chief Martin Brody.


It remains invigorating not just because the characters including Robert Shaw's ballsy shark-hunter Quint, and Richard Dreyfuss' dedicated marine biologist Matt Hooper are well-developed and extremely likable, but because the script is fraught with motivation and fear at every turn. The bureaucratic Mayor demands that the beach stay open despite the suspicious deaths, but once an attack is witnessed at the beach, mass hysteria takes over. Everyone has a right to be scared, which combines with Brody's guilt at keeping the beach open, and some gory suspense sequences, generating an anarchic, intense mix.


Due to malfunctioning shark equipment, Spielberg by necessity had to master the art of the tease, holding the shark back as much as possible, luring us into a false sense of security before unleashing it in brief, violent bursts. The sight of it drifting by underwater remains as terrifying as anything else in the film, stupendously, economically well-directed for maximum punchiness. The ramp-up, ramp-down of excitement is so anxiety-inducing complete with shocking gore and what the BBFC refer to as "sustained threat" that it's amazing the film was originally released as a PG.


On the lighter side, the insights into family that are now-customary for Spielberg's films are alive and well here; Brody is a driven family man, all the more concerned when a young boy is killed by the shark, naturally feeling compelled to protect the beach for the sake of his own children. Also, a class war is briefly probed during the antagonism between Quint and Hooper, the former a wise-cracking, beer-swilling "working class hero", while Hooper is better-educated and serious-minded, and Brody falls somewhere in the middle as the arbiter.


When it comes down to basics, Spielberg doesn't let up on the action; it is intelligently formed, such as when the intrepid trio famously uses a series of barrels to keep track of the shark's movements. It kick-starts a thrilling man-vs-beast showdown that commands just about the entirety of the third act. Even though we naturally have a leg-up on the audiences of the time for in this restored presentation, the shark's falseness seems even more obvious than before it continues to instill fear because Spielberg's direction is so assuredly taut, and bolstered entirely by John Williams' memorably minimalist, terror-inducing score.


Watching the latest Summer smashes, it is virtually impossible to list the sheer number of ways that they were influenced by Steven Spielberg's seminal action adventure film. Furthermore, Jaws continues to be regarded as a high-point of the legend's oeuvre, and justifiably so. It remains an influence on the modern blockbuster, and is one of its best examples.



Image quality

The classic summer blockbuster takes a massive bite out of Blu-ray with a spectacular high-def presentation. Presented in its theatrical 2.35:1 aspect ratio, the 1080p/AVC MPEG-4 encode was struck from a recent restoration of the original camera negatives, supervised and approved by Steven Spielberg. Of course, the picture still comes with a few age-related issues, like soft edges in certain scenes, but on the whole, the transfer is fantastic with spot-on contrast and stunning clarity into the far distance. Black levels are true and often sumptuous in several areas with excellent delineation of the various gradations and small background objects hiding in the shadows. The color palette receives a generous boost without feeling artificial, especially in the bold primaries.


The original mono recording is also given the restoration treatment and receives a massive upgrade with this DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 soundtrack. Credit has to go to the engineers who worked on this because it's brilliant. Rather than simply making new foley effects, they singled the sounds from the original design, cleaned them up and repurposed them, expanding the soundfield into a wonderfully immersive aural experience. The rears often come alive with discrete atmospherics of the beach, ocean and the chatter of tourists flooding Amity. The iconic music of John Williams bleeds fluidly into the surrounds, beautifully enveloping the listening area with excitement and thrills.


Most extras aren't HD quaility but we can't expect them to polish up most of that stuff since its almost 40 years old. We get the following parts: The Making of Jaws, From the Set, Archives, Deleted and outtake scenes, hd remastering video, and The Shark Is still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws. All of this ending up around 4 hours of extras.


Jaws ended up being one of my favourite bluray releases ever. Almost everything you want is in it, almost all the extra's and more. The sound is just pure perfection with its 7.1 soundtrack remasterd. Visually a real eyecatcher and I would say show this to your friends when they still have doubts about bluray! 100% recommanded.












Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw and Richard Dreyfuss