Jaws – 4K UHD Blu-ray Review

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Film Title: Jaws (1975)
Release Date: 2020
Rating: PG
Runtime: 124 minutes
Region Coding: Region Free
Studio: Universal
Audio Format: Dolby Atmos
High Dynamic Range: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Version Reviewed: 4K UHD Blu-ray
Release Date: 6/2/20
Director: Steven Spielberg
Cast: Roy ScheiderRobert ShawRichard Dreyfuss, Lorraine Gary, Murray Hamilton, Carl Gottlieb, Jeffrey Kramer, Susan Backlinie

Jump to Sections:
Movie | Video | Audio | Bonus | Closing | Screenshots
Full 4K Tech Specs found at the bottom

jaws_4k_1click to view a 4K Screenshot

The Movie

“Jaws” was a 1975 film directed by Steven Spielberg, in what would be his second effort as a feature-film director, and in turn would be the film that really launched his career. For the years leading up to this film Spielberg would make a name for himself directing three TV movies: “Duel” (1971), “Something Evil” (1972),  and “Savage” (1973). However, Steven Speilberg’s directorial debut would come with “The Sugarland Express” (1974) just a year before this. These days the director is best known for going on to direct such classic films as “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977), “Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark” (1981), “E.T.: The Extra-Terrestrial” (1982), “The Color Purple” (1985), “Jurassic Park” (1993), “Schindler’s List” (1993), and “Saving Private Ryan” (1998) — to just name a very few.

The story to Jaws was based on the 1974 novel (of the same title) written by Peter Benchley. The screenplay was adapted by Benchley himself, for the first three drafts, along with the help of Carl Gottlieb. Gottlieb is known first (and foremost to fans of the film) as the character “Meadows” in the film, and secondly best known for co-writing the screenplay and story to the film “The Jerk” (1979). Lastly, it’s certainly with noting that Gotltlieb also wrote the book “The Jaws Log” (1975) about the making of the film itself.

Jaws tells the story from the perspective of a protagonist, a police chief of a beach town, named “Martin Brody” (Roy Scheider). The small beach town of Amity relies on summer tourism and it’s an absolute tragic event, on many levels when a young woman is discovered by the police in what was determined to be a shark attack. Once Sherrif Brody has word of this shark he decides to close the beaches himself, without asking the town’s mayor. On his way to close the beaches, the Mayor “Vaughn” (Murray Hamilton) manages to catch up with Brody and tries to discourage him from doing so. Let’s just say this is a beach town, as mentioned, and the town’s chief of police really has no choice but to leave the beaches open.

Meanwhile, Brody has called in a specialist in sharks and that man finally arrives right during the hectic events after another shark attack. “Matt Hooper” (Richard Dreyfuss), a marine biologist, is just the guy that Brody was looking for, as he even goes as far to say, regarding needing someone that knows sharks. Hooper looks over things and comes to the determination of the shark that some local fisherman later catch to not be the same type of shark that was responsible for previous attacks. It’s with that that an eccentric town fisherman “Quint” (Robert Shaw) decides to offer up his services of finding and killing the real shark that’s responsible for the killings. Will the town go as far as to use this fisherman, or will they continue to leave the beaches open and will they let it just be feeding season for the shark?

Movie Rating: 5 (out of 5)

jaws_4k_2click to view a 4K Screenshot

Video Quality

This 4K UHD Blu-ray debut of Steven Spielberg’s 1978 classic “Jaws” comes from a 4K restoration that was originally done back in 2012 — and released on Blu-ray that year — for the studio’s 100th anniversary. The 4K physical release comes with HDR10, Dolby Vision, and HDR10+ forms of High Dynamic Range.

Now, let’s get technical first off. This is using a BD-100 (100 gigabyte) disc. It uses a total of 91.20 Gigabytes for the entire 4K UHD Blu-ray, including both the film and bonus materials. The film itself is using a total of 77 Gigabytes exactly. Now, looking back in hindsight to the original 2012 Blu-ray release: it only was using less than half of that for the film (at just 33.8 gigabytes). Plus, it was sharing the rest of a BD-50 back then with bonus materials.

Now, usually, in previous reviews, I would include my 4K vs. Blu-ray screenshot comparisons visually but instead this time I’ll just include them as a link HERE. As you can tell, this is for sure the very same 2012 4K restoration — down to the very exact same specs of dirt and such left in. However, film grain stands out a whole hell of a lot more this time around in true 4K restoration.

Next, the movie was shot on 35mm film using the Arriflex 35-III and Panavision and Panflex cameras. The film then, after the 2012 4K restoration, received a 4K digital intermediate (master).

This 4K presentation offers a perfectly solid black level here and that comes much thanks to the addition of HDR (high dynamic range) in the three forms included. There is also a nice bit of color correction here as a result of HDR as well, with more lifelike colors and accurate flesh tones. This may be a 4K restoration that is 8 years old but it still manages to deliver, in true 4K finally.

This restoration definitely holds up to today’s standards and comes with a very nice amount of fine detail and film grain. In fact, the film grain here is so much more pronounced on the physical BD-100 4K UHD Blu-ray versus the streaming version in 4K, that I sampled beforehand of the film. It’s a lot different visually on physical media, and that comes thanks to bitrates as high as 80Mbps. You just can’t get that on iTunes. Jaws on 4K UHD Blu-ray in its debut earns a perfect 5 rating for video quality.

Sure, I imagine come around the 50th anniversary they will do another restoration, likely in 8K by then, and that is the only way I think this film will ever look any better than this. That’s just my honest opinion here, folks. It is one very nice upgrade and worth making the jump from DVD or Blu-ray to a great 4K presentation of the original 2012 restoration — in all of its glory.

Video Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)

jaws_4k_3click to view a 4K Screenshot

Audio Quality

“Jaws” arrives on 4K UHD Blu-ray with a new Dolby Atmos sound mix, including a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core for those without the proper equipment to decode that mix. It is certainly worth noting that you also get a DTS 2.0 Mono mix (@447kbps) of the film included in the English language. So, it’s nice to see that the original Mono sound mix included — even if it isn’t in a lossless sound format.

It’s at around 48 minutes in when the original score (by John Williams) can get pretty deep and so do some sound effects, resulting in a pretty nice amount of low-end bass coming from the subwoofer. Next, is an underwater scene that comes with even more bass and a great amount of use of the height channels as well. This all as the music itself gets used, along with sound effects, throughout the height channel speakers of this Dolby Atmos mix. It’s a pretty damn good mix in terms of encompassing the viewer (listener) in a complete box of sound in their room, so-to-speak.

The height channel speakers get used for sound effects really effectively in ways to make things such as waves or a boat sounds later on in really fill the room. It’s nothing excessive, just something that does the film justice in terms of sound, it’s worth stating that John Williams’ original score here sounds excellent with a very thunderous amount of bass at times, a nice rear channel usage, and just a perfect level of height channel now added. This Dolby Atmos mix is truly amazing and by far the best this film has ever sounded. This is remarkable to hear a 1975 film that originally was released in Mono in a sound mix now even more intense and justifiable than the previous 7.1 mix (found on the 2012 Blu-ray).

Jaws in its debut to 4K UHD Blu-ray earns itself every bit of a perfect 5 rating for overall audio quality. The Atmos mix is where it’s at and there’s also the DTS 2.0 Mono mix included, for those who are purists and willing to put up with a lossy format.

Audio Quality Rating: 5 (out of 5)

jaws_4k_4click to view a 4K Screenshot

Bonus Materials

Bonus materials physically and digitally on this release include:

  • A Digital Copy of the film via Movies Anywhere is included, which is compatible with services like Apple’s iTunes and VUDU. Here you get a paper insert inside the packaging that contains a code you put in at the URL listed. This will redeem as a 4K version of the film on services like iTunes, VUDU, and FandangoNOW.
  • A Blu-ray Disc of the film is included. It features a DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 sound mix and the original 2012 restoration, along with all of the bonus materials – on the physical release – listed a bit below.
  • A Limited Edition Collectible Lenticular package
  • A 22-page Limited Edition Collectible Booklet

The 4K UHD Blu-ray Disc includes the following bonus materials, presented in a variety of HD and SD video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound:

  • The Making of Jaws (2:02:48 – SD) was a feature-length documentary from 1995, on the making of the film — as the title suggests. This, directed Laurent Bouzereau, is comprised of lots of interviews, behind-the-scenes glimpses, on set footage, archival underwater footage, and whatnot. Those interviewed here include Steven Spielberg (director), Peter Benchley (author/co-screenwriter), David Brown (producer), Richard D. Zanuck (producer), Carl Gottlieb (co-screenwriter/actor), Ron Taylor, Valerie Taylor, Roy Scheider (“Brody”), Richard Dreyfuss (“Hooper”), Lorraine Gary (“Ellen Brody”), Sid Sheinberg (former president MCA Inc.), and quite a few others.
  • The Shark is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws (1:41:06 – SD) was a 2007 feature-length documentary on looking back on the film, in a retrospective manner. This was directed by Erik Hollander and features Jaws‘ star Roy Scheider as the narrator. Here, you will get a whole lot of behind-the-scenes photos, old home movies, archival on-set footage, and retrospective interviews with Richard Dreyfus (“Matt Hooper”), Steven Spielberg (director, “Jaws”), Bob Burns (monster movie historian), Kevin Smith (filmmaker), Peter Benchley (author of Jaws), Bill Butler (director of photography, “Jaws”), Roy Scheider (“Martin Brody”), Richard D. Zanuck (producer, “Jaws”), David Brown (producer, “Jaws”), Joe Alves (production designer, “Jaws”), Roy Arbogast (special mechanical effects, “Jaws”), Carl Gottlieb (screenwriter/“Meadows”), Lorraine Gary (“Ellen Brody”), Jay Mello (“Sean Brody”), William S. Gilmore, Jr. (production executive, “Jaws”), M. Night Shyamalan (filmmaker), Jeffrey Kramer (“Deputy Hendricks”), Robert Rodriguez (filmmaker), Patrick Read Johnson (filmmaker), Percy Rodrigues (voice of “Jaws” trailers), and numerous others. Too many to list here, honestly.
  • Jaws: The Restoration” (8:29 – HD) first appeared on the 2012 Blu-ray release of the film. This gives you a great glimpse at what all went into restoring the film back then, as part of the Universal centennial project. It features interviews with Michael Daruty (senior vice president of technical operations, Universal Studios), Peter Schade (vice president of content management and technical services, Universal Studios), Steven Spielberg (director), Bob O’Neil (vice president of image assets and preservation, Universal Studios), Seanine Bird (project manager, Universal Studios Digital Services), Daniel DeVincent (senior colorist, Cineric), Eric Bauer (inferno artist, Universal Studios Digital Services), Phil Definbaugh (mastering supervisor, Universal Studios Technical Services), Leo Dunn (colorist, Universal Studios Digital Services), Frank Montano (re-recording mixer, Universal Studios Sound), Richard LeGrand (executive director, Universal Studios BluWave Audio), and John Edell (supervising sound editor, Universal Studios Technical Services). This includes some great original footage of the film before restoration as well as some side-by-side restoration comparison footage as well that is a must-see.
  • Deleted Scenes and Outtakes (13:33 – SD)
  • “From the Set” (8:46 – SD) appears to be from a British TV show and is a segment on the set of the film, back in May of 1974 at Martha’s Vineyard. This includes a nice bit of behind-the-scenes and on-set footage. There’s narration by the reporter or TV show host all throughout as well as interviews with the film’s director Steven Spielberg.
  • Theatrical Trailer (3:15 – SD)

The Blu-ray Disc includes all of the same bonus materials, presented in a variety of HD and SD video quality with Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo sound. These include the following:

  • “The Making of Jaws” — as listed and described above.
  • “The Shark is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws” — as listed and described above.
  • Jaws: The Restoration” — as listed and described above.
  • Deleted Scenes and Outtakes — as listed and described above.
  • “From the Set” — as listed and described above.
  • Theatrical Trailer — as listed and described above.

Overall, the bonus materials here are downright excellent. Sure, this is the exact same set of extras previously found on the original 2012 Blu-ray but they are great and come to you on both the 4K disc and the Blu-ray. I mean, you get two feature-length documentaries about the making of the film and one that’s a retrospective. Then, there’s the original 2012 restoration featurette which is amazing and worth seeing. There’s also deleted scenes and outtakes, a featurette, and the film’s original theatrical trailer. All of that totals up to a little over four and a half hours of bonus content. Finally, there are the physical extras (as mentioned further above) which are great and make this on perfect set of bonus materials.

Bonus Materials Rating: 5 (out of 5)

jaws_4k_5click to view a 4K Screenshot

Closing Thoughts

“Jaws” was the first big “summer blockbuster” and it created that by becoming the highest-grossing film of its time. This film changed the life of director Steven Spielberg and would lead to him becoming a household name by the time the 1980s arrived and he was not just directing but also producing some amazing films. This film [Jaws] offers up so many memorable lines and has some excellent performances by Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and of course Robert Shaw.

In its debut to the 4K UHD Blu-ray format, Jaws arrives making a big splash in both terms of video and audio quality, earning perfect ratings in both fields. This does make use of the original 2012 4K restoration of the film, and don’t let the age of that fool you, as this looks extraordinary in true 4K with the addition of high dynamic range — finally. This looks incredible and is truly a remarkable improvement visually in comparison with the original (2012) Blu-ray release of the film.

Next, the all-new Dolby Atmos audio mix here blows the lossless 7.1 surround mix, found on the previous Blu-ray release, away or perhaps right out of the water? The addition of height channels and still keeping the four rear channels works out exceptionally well. This can go from being one very over-the-top intense mix to being subtle at the drop of a hat. The height channels, here in Atmos, get used for the sound effects and especially for the beautiful original score by John Williams. This mix is certain to please anyone.

Finally, you get one very impressive and perfect set of extras here with this Limited Edition lenticular set on 4K UHD Blu-ray. Physically, you get one very cool lenticular box and cover (as mentioned) which houses the film on 4K (in its packaging) as well as a 44-page collectible booklet (pictured a bit further below). These make for some very impressive extras, just physically alone, but then you get hours and hours of bonus materials on both the 4K disc and the Blu-ray of the film, also included. All and all, this 4K UHD Blu-ray debut of the film makes for what I’d call a highly recommended upgrade.

In terms of 4K UHD Blu-ray release, this gets:
5 (out of 5) for video quality
5 (out of 5) for audio quality
5 (out of 5) for bonus materials

Overall Verdict:
A Highly Recommended Upgrade

Available As:

2020 4K UHD Blu-ray Release

4K UHD Blu-ray Screenshots:

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4K UHD Blu-ray Technical Specifications:

Aspect Ratio: 2.35:1
Exact Runtime: 2:03:56
Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (with a Dolby TrueHD 7.1 core), English DTS 2.0 Mono, Spanish DTS 5.1 surround, French DTS-HD High-Resolution Audio (HRA) 7.1 surround
Languages: English, Spanish, French
Subtitles: English, Spanish, French
HDR: HDR10, Dolby Vision, HDR10+
Disc Size: BD-100
Disc Use: 91.20GB total / 77.0GB for film