102 of 110 people found the following review helpful
on July 13, 2000
Well, I bought the DVD dts and I think you'll like the extras such as the outtakes, deleted scenes, and especially an excellent documentary. You'll get the behind the scenes from Spielberg, the actors, photographers, and the producers. In today's film world this movie could be made rather easily, but back then you'll see the tremendous undertaking that went into this production. The movie itself, of course, is just amazing. At one point Spielberg says that the shark is the star, but the scenes on the boat will show you 3 stars at the top of their game. The sound quality is outstanding and exact, but I do have one complaint.... on the 5.1 DTS their isn't much activity from the back 2 speakers. The sound coming from the front 3 is great, but they could have done more. This movie is just as suspenseful as when I saw it in the mid-seventies. I hadn't really watched it in awhile and I had forgotten the outstanding acting performances by Scheider, Dreyfuss, and Shaw. Shaw's USS Indianapolis speech is about as good as it gets, while Scheider's everyman performance really rings true. You'll enjoy this DVD and it's at a good price. A good bargain. Buy it!
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
on August 2, 2012
The original summer blockbuster, Steven Spielberg's JAWS quickly became my favorite film growing up, having devoured it on VHS and on ABC's Sunday Night Movie presentation (the one with the added footage) so many times I could recite dialogue before I was out of grade school. Over the years I've been able to see it on the big screen (thanks to a visit with Lukas on Martha's Vineyard back in `96 or so), but despite that - and having reviewed numerous laserdisc and DVD releases over the years - only now with Universal's Blu-Ray edition do I feel like I've really, completely seen "Jaws." This is a spectacular HD presentation on every level and is sure to thrill fans of this classic 1975 screen adaptation of Peter Benchley's bestseller.
There's not much I can say about the movie that hasn't been written or documented - from behind-the-scenes books to countless documentaries - since the film's 1975 release date. Spielberg's miraculous direction took advantage of every difficult production situation to create an all-time film masterwork that's always been as satisfying for its unforgettable characterizations, surprising humor and memorable atmosphere as it is a white-knuckle thriller about a great white marauding swimmers off the shores of Amity Island. As I write in my review of the terrific "Jaws: Memories From Martha's Vineyard" book a year ago, "Jaws" itself was a collaborative success, one that saw actors from Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw down to extras improvising their lines, giving the film a real, human center that we seldom see in modern filmmaking. The daily shooting schedule couldn't be mapped out all that far in advance since screenwriter Carl Gottlieb spent most nights working on the script with Spielberg - combined with our unpredictable and ever-changing weather here in southern New England, "Jaws" relied on the people making it so much that it's because of their efforts - as well as Spielberg who marshaled them all together - that the movie overcame its physical production struggles. In fact, had the movie not endured such a tumultous shoot, it's likely that "Jaws" never would've become the classic it did.
Universal has produced a number of "100th Anniversary" Blu-Rays this year with remastered transfers - the results have ranged from superb to mediocre, but none have looked as brilliantly detailed as "Jaws." Restored from high-res 35mm original film elements, this is one of the most satisfying catalog releases the studio has produced on Blu-Ray to date: Bill Butler's cinematography is richly textured down to the finest detail, with warm colors and just a dazzling appearance that, even though I've watched the movie dozens of times, brings new background details to light with a clarity that I've never seen before in any format (there's also, thankfully, been no attempt here at "tweaking" the movie's color scheme like we've seen on too many BD releases over the years). The water has more depth, the Martha's Vineyard locations come into sharper focus, and just the faintest hint of some filtering is apparent on a transfer that is content to let the movie's natural cinematography speak for itself. It just looks phenomenal. On the audio side, viewers can select from the movie's original mono soundtrack as well as another, "rethought" 7.1 DTS MA stereo remix, both of which are more full-bodied than their DVD counterparts, though purists may still object to some of the alterations in the latter (i.e. the "new" gunshots at the end still sound closer to the controversial 5.1 DVD remix from a decade ago than they do the original mono recording; in other instances, though, the newer effects are much closer to the mono mix than the 2001 version. It's at least a noticeable improvement in that regard).
Extra features are something of a letdown, mainly because they're almost all in non-anamorphic, 4:3 standard-definition and suffer from low bit-rates. The "Jaws Archives," for example, is comprised of direct screen captures from the laserdisc, many of which look blurry and should've been cleaned up for high-def. Ditto for the deleted scenes, which appear to be filtered and ported straight off the LD (and the DVD). The eight-minute "From The Set" segment includes candid footage of the production's first few days on-location in Martha's Vineyard. Included here is priceless footage of Carl Gottlieb falling overboard and into the icy, early May waters of the Atlantic -- all for the abandoned first attempt Spielberg made at showing the discovery of Ben Gardner's boat. It's a wonderful segment and it's a shame it doesn't go on longer than it does.
Laurent Bouzereau's dry but essential two-hour documentary from the `90s Signature Collection laserdisc is back, and it's been complemented by "The Shark is Still Working," a 2007 labor of love doc from James Gelet, Jake Gove, Erik Hollander, and James-Michael Roddy that treads over ground previously traveled by numerous other behind-the-scenes docs, as well as profiles other aspects glossed over by them (such as an interview with Percy Rodriguez, who performed the voice over for the film's classic theatrical trailer). Unfortunately, the inferior visual presentation does no favors to the program, with heavy compression and "jaggies" present throughout its 103 minutes. Finally, the movie's original, primary theatrical trailer is also on-hand here, in a likewise poor, non-anamorphic standard-def presentation that's worse than its laserdisc appearance from years ago. Of course, given that the prior DVD didn't have trailers of any kind, it's at least an improvement in that regard (the movie's original teaser is a regrettable omission yet again).
The sole new addition is an eight-minute look at Universal's restoration efforts on the picture, presented in HD, plus a digital copy and Ultraviolet copy. The disc is housed in a standard two-disc Elite case with one of Universal's nice 100 Years slipcovers; fans looking for more deluxe packaging ought to check out Best Buy's exclusive (though pricier) Digibook release, or the UK's Steelbook edition, which arrives in early September.
Ultimately, Universal has done one of their crown jewels proud with a Blu-Ray that boasts one of the format's finest catalog transfers - not just from Universal, but any label. Spectacular! (
63 of 73 people found the following review helpful
Jaws was Stephen Spielberg's first hit and after his initial reluctance to release his movies on DVD, it finally makes its DVD debut. We all know the story, a great white shark terrorizes the waters off of Amity Island. The movie is based on Peter Benchey's best-selling novel. This is one of the rare instances where a movie is actually better than the book it was based on. In Mr. Benchey's novel, there is are some extraneous sections such as an affair between Ellen Brody and Hooper that really don't add to the story. The movie streamlines the book and the changes made bringing it to the screen actually improve on the book. The performances of three stars are superb. Roy Scheider plays Chief Brody as an everyman. We can all relate with him as he is just trying do his job and the right thing but is caught in the middle. He wants to close the beaches to catch the shark, but the people he is protecting want them opened as the water is the source of their livelihoods. Richard Dreyfus adds some comic relief to the film as the wise-cracking oceanographer, Matt Hooper. The late Robert Shaw takes what could have been a cartoonish role of the shark boat captain Quint and turns him into an obessive, vengeful man in the mold of Captain Ahab. The real star of the film could be its score by John Williams. The music adds tension and fear to the suspense much like the music from Psycho. The DVD contains some extra material including deleted scences, trailers and best of all a documentary on the making of the movie. This is a must see for all fans of the film. We learn of all the problems the crew experienced while filming on Martha's Vineyard, some original casting choices and other behind-the-scences tidbits. These are nice bonuses, but the movie's first appearance on the DVD format is reason enough to buy it. After 25 years, this movie remains a classic.
50 of 59 people found the following review helpful
This movie is a credit to everyone associated with it, from the stellar cast of actors and actresses to the direction by Steven Speilberg to the original story (a novel) and screenwriting by Peter Benchley. This is a riviting tale superbly told, with excellent cinematography and special effects, and a scary soundtrack that builds the edge of mystery to a crescendo each time it musically announces the shark's appearence.
The idea for the movie is deceptively simple; a great white shark with a fond taste for the sweet taste of human flesh is patrolling the water off Amity Island (read Nantucket or Martha's Vineyard)and terrorizing the summer tourist population. Inject into this some interesting and novel subplots regarding a burned-out city cop and unlikely undersung hero, a brainy, affable but basically misunderstood young marine biologist, and a wonderfully crusty old mariner turned professional shark fisherman and you have the recipe for an entertaining rollercoaster ride.
This movie is a modern classic, one with a young Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and the late Robert Shaw. Watching their characters interact is an afternoon's entertainment well deserved, one that is durable and repeatable. It also is one that translates very well into the DVD mode. One caution; don't view it anytime before going for your summer vacation. You may really be afraid to go back into the water!
14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on February 15, 2001
Steven Spielberg's ultimate shocker still holds up great after all these years for the exact same reasons it was a huge box-office hit back in 1975: amazing score, powerful performances from an extremely talented cast, great special effects, and perfect direction. It's simple story of a shark terrorizing the waters of a small beach may not be the most compelling material ever to come out of Hollywood, but the attention to character and the sheer terror of the shark attacks more then makes up for it. There is something undeniably terrifying about the thought of being dragged underwater by something huge, something you can't even hope to escape from, and the very first attack scene is true nightmare fuel. As is the most memorable scene in the film, Robert Shaw's speech about his experiences after surviving the sinking of the USS Indianapolis, a World War II cruiser that sank and left hundreds of sailors floating in shark-infested waters for more than four days. Shaw's delivery of the scene still chills to the bone and stands as one of the greatest moments in film history. The DVD edition of JAWS has been long-awaited and fails to live up to it's potential. The lack of audio commentary by the director and a handful of out-of-context deleted scenes are major let-downs. But a superb 'making-of' documentary and an extensive art and design gallery are nice additions. Still, this is the definitive version of a classic film, one that deserves to be viewed multiple times both on the screen and in your darkest nightmares. Have fun swimming in the ocean after this one!!!
21 of 24 people found the following review helpful
on September 16, 2004
Have you seen the film? If so, you'll recognize that line. This guy is scooping chum into the water to attract the shark, talking over his shoulder, and when he turns back to face the sea, the open maw of a giant white shark is all he sees, and the critter is about to take his arm off. He gives it that significant silent pause, then says, "Hey, guys? We're gonna need a bigger boat."
It's SO PERFECT.
I loved this film when I first saw it a billion yrs ago, back when the earth was cooling, and I love it still. It's about a big shark that these guys are stalking so their peaceful little tourist town can resume business as usual. But then things turn hairy and scary when they realize that, actually, the shark is stalking them. Benchley's original book is pretty faithfully rendered in Spielberg's screen version. Especially well done are the scenes that pit the scientists and level headed sheriff against the politicians who just want all this nonsense downplayed so they can start making money again.
I slept just fine after watching it, but my husband had nightmares about sharks coming thru the bedroom walls all night for the next several nights, so...viewing discretion advised for those of tender sensibilities. It IS a little gory in a few spots.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
on June 16, 2000
Let me get right to the point. "Jaws" is a classic, a masterpiece, the standard by which all modern horror and action thrillers are measured. Spielberg's 1975 adaptation of Peter Benchley's celebrated novel may well have ignited a new era for the movie industry at that time: the era of the "Summer Blockbuster." Sadly, it's an era that seems more intent upon marketing commercial products and visual effects over substance and innovation, as many of Hollywood's bigwigs (Spielberg included) have sold out to produce brainless, demographically inspired trash like "Con Air," and "Wild Wild West." Remember when going to the movies was fun? Remember when you could expect a healthy blend of crisp and original storytelling, attention to character development, and a plot that didn't insult your intelligence? "Jaws" manifests each of these essential ingredients to a quality movie-going experience, and the result is one of the greatest films of all time.
The residents of Amity Island, Massachusetts have one thing going for their livelihoods: summer tourists and beach goers. So what do you do when a great white shark threatens to bring an untimely end to the summer season, not to mention the lives of several unfortunate bathers? This is the dilemma that's brilliantly played out between the rational-minded sheriff (Roy Scheider) and the politically motivated town mayor (Murray Hamilton). The quarrel is finished when a series of tragic events compel that the shark be killed by any means necessary. Enter the best shark-hunting trio ever assembled. Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw formulate such perfect chemistry that we can't peel our attention away for even a moment. In fact, the movie's final hour may be one of the finest ever filmed in terms of drama, suspense, and sheer horror. All performances are commendable, the dialogue at times is brilliant, and the mechanical shark (Bruce) is as terrifying as any "computer generated" effect from that moronic film "Deep Blue Sea." John William's score ranks among the best ever composed, on a par in terms of ground-breaking significance with the themes from "Star Wars," "Gone With the Wind," and "West Side Story." The movie was followed by three sequels, each increasing exponentially in banality.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
on August 9, 2000
A lot of people I know criticize widescreen format videos and DVDs. They say it looks like part of the movie is cut off. JAWS is the film I use to convert them. I show them the video I own in pan-and-scan mode, usually a scene where the shark pops out of the water when Brody, Hooper, and Quint are on the boat. Then I show them the DVD widescreen version.
What a difference! In the first version, you can only see most of the shark's head and one of the people on board. In the widescreen, you see everyone. Spielberg has a terrific eye and knows how to compose a frame. And the widescreen format is the only way to do justice to this fun and scary film.
The new DVD also has terrific and rich color. The sound is great and will remind you why John William's soundtrack is famous 25 years later. But you can also hear other sound effects Spielberg stuck in, like a muted dinosaur roar when the shark is sinking at the end. This, along with many other interesting tidbits, was revealed to me with a behind-the-scenes featurette that comes with the extras on the DVD. There's interviews with the cast members today, as well as a fun trivia game. I also found the deleted scenes interesting, although I'm glad Spielberg didn't use them. The extras gave me a glimpse on how a film is made. When I rewatched the film, I had a new outlook to what went into it. The outtakes and the photo gallery were useless, but don't let that stop you from buying this. If you're a fan of the film, you will want to own this.
11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on February 10, 2003
There probably hasn't been a single movie in the last 30 years that has changed the psyche of moviegoers more than JAWS. As I recall, people literally did not want to go back into the water! Speilberg tapped into this fear and tapped into it rather well.
As someone who had a certain fear of water, watching this movie on the big screen as a kid, you bet I was horrified! Today, JAWS still remains a classic.
To those who say that the shark looks fake and that a CGI one would've looked superior, well, I wish they would stop looking at movies through CGI-colored glasses. Personally, I think Speilberg's Great White (though mechanical in close-ups) was truly interesting. It had a certainly personality. IMO, many computer-animated creatures today are rather uninspired creations.
Besides, JAWS is much more than just about a shark. The story of greed at the expense of human life is truly interesting to see. It also boasts some great characters as well, namely, Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and especially Robert Shaw as Quint, the old shark hunter with a Captain Ahab syndrome. And what can I say that hasn't been said already about John Williams now timeless score. It's just magnificent!
Yes, JAWS does contain its fair share of frights, but Speilberg was wise in inserting genuine moments of humor as well to relieve that certain tension. A movie shouldn't be all fright, all of the time. Certainly, that scene with Chief Brody at the dinner table with his young son copying his every move was both humorous and quite touching. It gave the movie heart.
JAWS was the first movie to crack the one hundred million dollar mark. Today, many movies seem to crack that mark with ease. Yet, many of them are nowhere near as good as JAWS. Has the movie-going public been dumbed-down as to watch anything and make profits for these lesser movies?
With all of this success, there was a downside. JAWS did to sharks what another great monster movie, KING KONG did to gorillas - it gave these poor creatures a bad image and thus many were slaughtered. Like I said, this movie really changed the psyche of people, in terms of fear of the water and a huge dislike for sharks.
14 of 16 people found the following review helpful
on June 8, 2000
There are few sounds more terrifying than hearing someone screaming "Shark!" at a beach or from the water, whether it be in real life or the movies. A young Steven Spielberg went out and milked that scream for help for all it is worth and more: made a classic Adventure-Horror movie. "Jaws" is great in every department. The acting is flawless, with Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss and Robert Shaw "bonding" in their search and detroy mission of the ultimate great white shark. So powerful is Jaws that almost any picture since has taken little bits from it, unable to escape from its enormous shark shadow. Spielberg, from the opening night sequence shocks us(one of the most terrifying in history) when we don't even see the shark, but see the first victim from the shark's eye view and John William's brilliant soundtrack telling us the terror is just starting. Spielberg has made many great movies, but none scarier than Jaws, none that has its combination of terror, adventure, high spirits, great acting and superb technical achievement of editing, cinematography and sound. With this masterpiece, Spielberg, at a young age, set the bar higher for horror and adventure films, and showed he was a genius in making action movies. It still holds up well, much better than digital movies that are pale in comparison, sloppy and incoherent compared to the great unity of Jaws. Steven Spielberg might have made movies after Jaws that were as good but none better. Jumping beyond its genre , it is on my list of top twenty movies ever made.