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Jaws (Widescreen Anniversary Collector's Edition)

Steven Spielberg's 1975 adventure thriller about three men who must hunt down a maneating Great White shark.

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Universal 25th Anniversary Collector's Edition DVD review

  • Jul 5, 2011
  • by
I needn't evaluate the merits of the first great summer blockbuster; Jaws is a tremendous film, far superior to most of the extravagant productions that Hollywood studios produce for general audiences these days. I'm happy to see that this edition looks and sounds so good. Its print is clean, but by no discharge of grain - it looks like film, and not as though it were shot yesterday. Colors are vibrant and the contrast is distinguished by those lovely natural hues that only good film stock can reproduce. The soundtrack is fine, also: I played this through tiny television speakers, my estimable stereo and a friend's absurdly expensive surround sound array, and it sounds great on all.

The ominous expanse of the ocean - and the clanging buoy that marks the location of the story's first feeding - serve as the background of the main menu. Scene selections via menu are what you'd expect, nothing more or less. Captions for the hearing impaired are available in English, as are French subtitles. However, no Spanish subtitles are available, which seems a rather severe omission in my opinion.

Spotlight on Location featurettes are produced for inclusion on many of Universal's DVDs, but they're rarely as long or detailed as this one. Interviews with the principle cast and crew, exclusive footage of deleted scenes and a wealth of photographs all yield more than a few intriguing stories pertaining to Benchley's book, the trials involved with the film's grueling and technically demanding shoot and its record-breaking reception. One of the most interesting aspects of the screenwriting process involved Quint's unforgettable U.S.S. Indianapolis monologue, which was first scripted by Howard Sackler as a short paragraph, extended by John Milius and finally revised extensively by Robert Shaw shortly before he performed it. I usually don't care for behind-the-scenes featurettes, but this one is so well-edited and provided so much substantial information that I found myself enjoying it.

Despite a few embarrassing exceptions, most of the deleted and alternate scenes are as ably shot and acted as anything retained for the theatrical cut. In a particularly humorous sequence, Robert Shaw harasses a young musician in an instrument retailer with the most overbearing variety of encouragement. As good as many of them are (a few provide some new perspective), the lot are ultimately extraneous, especially considering how lean the movie is at just over two hours. A couple of inadvertently amusing outtakes from two crucial scenes are also included.

Absolutely enormous, this disc's production photo gallery is comprised of literally hundreds of photos of the cast and crew, equipment, settings and boats, as well as film stills, promotional photographs, advertisements, movie posters, lobby cards, book covers, articles concerning the film and quite a lot more. Most of these pictures are interesting, but their gallery's lack of navigational controls is a major flaw. That viewers can't scroll back and forth as they please is annoying, but we're also prohibited from fast-forwarding or rewinding through the selections. The gallery proceeds at a sluggish pace and will loop infinitely until the 'menu' button on your remote control is pressed. With a flexible interface, this feature could have been so much more enjoyable.

Negligible though they are, the rest of this edition's features are pleasant enough. A cute trivia game allows the player to view footage from the film to aid them in selecting multiple-choice answers, and Shark World serves as a primer for basic information about the species. Oddly enough, the special features listed on the keep case's paper sleeve include theatrical trailers and a screen saver, both of which are absent.

 Overall, this is quite a good DVD. I'd like to think that its few flaws were attended to for the production of the 30th Anniversary disc, but I haven't seen it. If not, maybe they'll get around to that when they release a 40th Anniversary Deluxe Edition. I'm not really joking.

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More Jaws (1975 film) reviews
review by . July 14, 2012
posted in Movie Hype
**** out of ****    The dead body that is discovered washed up on Amity Island's beach in Steven Spielberg's "Jaws" will instantly remind most people of mystery and noir films of the past. In those films, the killer is human, whereas here; it is not. The body belongs to a girl who went swimming in the ocean the night before and never came back. We saw something attack her off-camera from the blue abyss. Her body is found mutilated beyond comprehension; her limbs separated from …
review by . January 31, 2009
posted in Movie Hype
"You're going to need a Bigger Boat..."   On February 11,2008, almost a year ago, Roy Scheider, the actor who said the famous line in this enduring classic monster film passed on to the next life. What better way to wrap up my horror "reviewing streak" than to pay tribute to one of the lead actors in the best monster film ever made. I will review this as a film made in 1975 and not in 2000, it would be unfair to review a classic as modern one.     JAWS (1975) is the …
review by . December 23, 2008
posted in Screen Gems
Jaws 30th Anniversary Edition DVD
-This review pertains to the Jaws: 30th Anniversary Edition DVD-       In 1975, a young up and coming director named Steven Spielberg (Duel and The Sugarland Express) became America's premier filmmaker with his motion picture adaptation of Peter Benchley's novel, Jaws. Upon its theatrical release Jaws quickly became a cultural phenomenon, embraced by critics and audiences alike. It's hard to believe, but it's been over thirty years since the film debuted and Jaws still keeps …
review by . September 08, 2006
posted in Movie Hype
If you want to learn about the movie that created the summer blockbuster phenomenon (I've never understood that, wouldn't it make more sense to release the biggest movies in the winter when people who live away from the equator are trapped indoors and looking for things to do instead of in the summer when it's nice out), make sure you pick up JAWS. One of Steven Spielberg's earliest films and his first true masterpiece from a directing standpoint and a box office success, this movie is rare masterpiece. …
review by . July 29, 2003
posted in Movie Hype
For several summers, my family and I vacationed on Martha's Vineyard where much of this film was shot (renamed Amity Island). You can imagine how eager we were to see the film when it was first released. So many locations were familiar. We also spotted several friends who appear briefly as extras. However, we were certainly not prepared to be as frightened we were by several scenes. (Those who have already seen this film know which ones.) If I recall correctly, this was the first film which Steven …
review by . May 25, 2003
**** ½ Who hasnt heard of Jaws? From the legendary theme from John Williams to the image of a monstrous shark approaching from the depths, Jaws is a classic, a legend, and a masterpiece.In case you havent heard the story, Jaws focuses on Martin Brody (Scheider), the hard-working chief of police on Amity Island. After a girls mutilated body is found on the beach, Brody calls in oceanographic scientist Matt Hooper (Dreyfuss) to examine the body and tell the town whats happening. Whats happening …
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Robert Buchanan ()
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I'm a bibliophile, ailurophile, inveterate aggregator, dedicated middlebrow and anastrophizing syntax addict. My personality type is that of superlative INTJ.
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About this movie


In the vastly overrated 1998 bookEasy Riders, Raging Bulls, author Peter Biskind puts the blame for Hollywood's blockbuster mentality at least partially on Steven Spielberg's box-office success with this adaptation of Peter Benchley's bestselling novel. But you can't blame Spielberg for making a terrific movie, whichJawsdefinitely is. The story of a Long Island town whose summer tourist business is suddenly threatened by great-white-shark attacks on humans bypasses the potboiler trappings of Benchley's book and goes straight for the jugular with beautifully crafted, crowd-pleasing sequences of action and suspense supported by a trio of terrific performances by Roy Scheider (as the local sheriff), Richard Dreyfuss (as a shark specialist), and particularly Robert Shaw (as the old fisherman who offers to hunt the shark down). The sequences on Shaw's boat--as the three of them realize that in fact the shark is huntingthem--are what entertaining moviemaking is all about.--Marshall Fine
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Director: Steven Spielberg
Genre: Adventure, Classics, Drama, Horror, Thriller
Release Date: 1975
MPAA Rating: PG
DVD Release Date: July 11, 2000; June 14, 2005
Runtime: 125 minutes
Studio: Universal Studios
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