“Jaws” has seen endless re-releases on VHS and DVD, and it makes one wonder if it’s really worth double, triple or quadruple-dipping into your wallet for this classic movie which we’ve seen hundreds of times already. But Universal Pictures, in celebration of the studio’s 100th anniversary, has decided to give many of their classic movies a digital upgrade, and “Jaws” was at the top of the list. The end result however has Steven Spielberg’s 1975 classic looking and sounding better than ever, and it’s going to be very hard to find another Blu-ray release in 2012 that’s better than this one.
Indeed, the excitement many fans have had regarding the imminent release of “Jaws” on Blu-ray once again shows how incredibly popular this film remains over 30 years after it first appeared in theaters. This is one of those movies that is impossible to get sick of as it never ceases to be boring even if you know what’s going to happen. It’s a thrilling spectacle which was brilliantly conceived by Spielberg, and Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw were perfectly cast in their unforgettable roles. It digs deep into our fears of what’s in the water, and that fear has not abated since this movie’s initial release.
Spielberg still refuses to do commentary tracks for any of his movies, but the wealth of extras that Universal Pictures provides for us more than makes up for that. Some of the extras from previous releases are here such as the documentary on the making of “Jaws” which remains one of the best of its kind. “Jaws” first became famous for all the things that went wrong during its production, especially with the mechanical shark that never seemed to work. Also included is the movie’s original theatrical trailer which was conspicuously missing from the 30th anniversary DVD.
Universal Pictures has also added some new extras to this release as well. One of the most interesting is “Jaws: The Restoration” which chronicles the movie’s meticulous restoration which was done from the 35mm original film elements. It’s amazing what can be accomplished with today’s technology, and “Jaws” looks fabulous in this high resolution format. Those who weren’t around when this classic first came out wondered what it looked like back then, and this Blu-ray release gives you a very good idea of that.
My favorite extra on this release however is the inclusion of Erik Hollander’s documentary “The Shark Is Still Working,” its title a riff on that radio transmission Richard Dreyfuss kept hearing over the crew members’ walkie talkies:
“The shark is not working. Repeat, the shark is not working…”
“The Shark Is Still Working” not only looks at the troubled production of “Jaws,” but it also looks at the impact it had not only upon its release, but years after it as well. Scheider narrates it, and there appearances by as Kevin Smith, Robert Rodriguez and Eli Roth who look to this movie as a major inspiration for them becoming filmmakers. There’s also footage of festivals held in this movie’s honor, and of how Martha’s Vineyard still looks the same as it did when “Jaws” was made there all those years ago.
I have personally tried to slow down on my purchase of any home entertainment for financial reasons, and also because I keep running out of shelf space for DVDs and Blu-rays. But this release of “Jaws” was impossible to pass up as the love we all have for this movie remains never ending. I say this after every remastered movie I see, but “Jaws” has never looked better than it does here. For those who love this movie as much as I do, this Blu-ray release is a must see and a reminder of how impossible it is to get sick of this particular movie.
‘Jaws’: 35 Years Later, and the Shark is Still Working
Key differences between the book and the movie: Jaws