Jaws (1975) - 30th Anniversary Edition

Genre(s): Drama / Thriller
Universal || PG - 120 minutes - $19.98 || June 14, 2005
Reviewer: Chris Gonzalez || Posted On: 2005-06-18


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.:: F I L M ::.
The Film

S P E C I A L
.: F E A T U R E S :.

Special Features

A U D I O &
.:: V I D E O ::.

Audio and Video

.:: O V E R A L L ::.
Overall
.::MOVIE INFORMATION::.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Writer(s): Peter Benchley (novel), Peter Benchley (screenplay) and Carl Gottlieb (screenplay)
Cast: Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, Richard Dreyfus, Lorraine Gary


Theatrical Release Date: June 20, 1975


.::DVD INFORMATION::.
Supplemental Material:
  • From the Set: Never before available Spielberg Interview


Technical Information:
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Widescreen (2.35)
  • English (Dolby Digital 5.1), English (DTS 5.1), English (Dolby Digital 2.0), French (Dolby Digital 2.0), Spanish (Dolby Digital 2.0)
  • Subtitles: English, Spanish

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.::THE FILM::.

Like so many other viewers and fans of this classic I first viewed the film in my childhood. I remember being so shocked and frightened with the film that I had trouble going in a swimming pool by myself - and the deep end was simply out of the question. Upon my first viewing as the climax approached I became so involved and tormented that I slowly raised my dangling feet and put them securely on my sofa. This was the movie that made sharks my number one fear in the world, and still haunts me whenever I jump in the water.

Obviously, I have a bias towards the film - it shaped a part of me and was a huge part in my formation of love for movies. Even with this bias, one cannot deny that this is a complete masterpiece, and only so much more impressive for it’s impact, timelessness, age, and young director. It is, in my opinion the greatest man vs. nature story ever brought to the screen. I will not bother going into plot details, because anyone who is above the age of seven knows exactly what they’re in store for the moment they hear the word Jaws. It is engraved in our culture: a symbol of terror, adventure, and nature’s unpredictability.

It is a testament to the crew and Spielberg that there are many standout moments in the film besides the iconic monster: there is the instantly recognizable score from master John Williams and the dynamic trio of Chief Brody, Hooper, and Quint. I won’t even begin to discuss the perfection of the opening scene.

Everything about Jaws is sublime and without flaw. Its success is only more impressive after watching the special features on the disc and hearing about how close it came to never happening.



.::SPECIAL FEATURES::.

For such an important movie in film history this classic deserves the utmost treatment, but the only really great feature is the 2-hour documentary. The rest is good, but not great. The documentary is one of the best out there, but this film deserved more. The package comes with a 60-Page Photo Journal that doesn’t provide anything new, but is a nice thing to own and has some great photos from the production.

Deleted Scenes and Outtakes: The Deleted Scenes take up about 12 minutes of time and are interesting for any Jaws enthusiast. Some were wisely deleted, as they would have slowed down the pace, but others - like Quints insane toying with a young boy - are great character moments that should have stayed in, even if they don’t further the story. The outtakes are standard and short, but fun to watch.

From the Set: This 9 minute feature is a fun segment that shows Spielberg in his youth and is a great demonstration of a filmmaker in his prime, full of vigor and promise.

The Making of Jaws: This 2 hour documentary was included in the last DVD release, but with an hour chopped out of it. It is a very well done documentary that has countless interviews from those involved and almost goes scene by scene through the making. It is completely fascinating, revealing, the selling point of the disc.

Jaws Archives: These are pretty standard photo archives that cover storyboards, marketing tools, and the sometimes -ridiculous toys that came with the explosion of its popularity.



.::AUDIO & VIDEO::.

The sound and picture for the disc are the same as those released on the previous disc, and that is pretty good news. For such an old film this is the best Jaws will ever look. Colors are right, no trace of edge enhancement, and it all looks very natural. The sound is also as good as the film will ever be heard, with the perfectly balanced level of dialogue, music, and sound effects. The DTS version is a bit better, as usual, but the Dolby track is still pretty great. It doesn’t get a perfect score simply because it is such an old film and can’t compete with the likes of Lord of the Rings and the Star Wars prequel discs.



.::OVERALL::.

While the features may be lacking, the overall perfection in the film itself and sound and picture makes this disc a must in any DVD collection. The movie and documentary are definitely worth the buy, and it is sold for such a cheap price, I can’t imagine anyone in their right mind complaining.