Steven Spielberg’s Jaws starring Roy Scheider, Robert Shaw, and Richard Dreyfuss celebrates its 45th Anniversary this summer, and a new 4K Blu-ray remaster has just been released.
For a taste of what awaits you, check out the opening shark attack scene below, remastered in stunning 4K.
When a young woman is killed by a shark while skinny-dipping near the New England tourist town of Amity Island, police chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) wants to close the beaches, but mayor Larry Vaughn (Murray Hamilton) overrules him, fearing that the loss of tourist revenue will cripple the town. Ichthyologist Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss) and grizzled ship captain Quint (Robert Shaw) offer to help Brody capture the killer beast, and the trio engage in an epic battle of man vs. nature.
For its 45th anniversary, Universal brings Jaws to the UHD format with a practically impeccable 2160p/Dolby Vision UHD presentation. In the early minutes beyond the campfire scene the picture demonstrates superb command of its elements, the first of many notable scenes of practically reference quality. Grain is fine, accentuating the native filmic roots and bolstering the sense of cinematic texturing that sweeps through the shots with resplendent accuracy. Throughout, the picture proves to be very dynamic. There are many examples of notable, superb textures that stand apart at this resolution, notably period attire: light jackets, heavier sports coats, even a thin veil worn by a grieving mother. There’s a tangible increase in sharpness and clarity across the board when comparing to the previously issued, and still perfectly workable, Blu-ray, but the UHD brings out the absolute best the original elements have to offer. Many of the weathered accents around the beaches and piers are tack-sharp and tactile and details both interior and exterior around town gain appreciable boosts to sharpness and clarity, even at distance, obvious in comparison but even plain to see when simply watching the UHD straight through. Skin textures and hairs are unsurprisingly some of the most obvious beneficiaries of the resolution increase and clarity gains. What a vivid, flowing, and fine film-like experience.
The Dolby Vision color grading is just as big a victory for the picture as the resolution increase. The colorists have certainly not gone overboard by redefining the film’s color temperature or fundamentally altering any component. On the contrary, this is a perfectly natural grading that amplifies where needed without drastically changing any scene’s essential tonal parameters. Depth is certainly improved over the existing SDR Blu-ray, giving more balance and life to flesh tones, more stability to sand under harsh daytime sun, more resplendence to blue waters and skies, the latter two of which transform from looking fairly washed out on the previous format to much fuller and pleasing here (see a dialogue scene with the camera positioned slightly below the characters, aimed upwards to allow plenty of sky into the frame, at the 52:40 mark for a very good example of both color grading gains and textural finesse). And when the water becomes saturated with blood, the red depth and its contrast with the serene blue makes for a striking juxtaposition. Brighter whites gain stability and clarity, such as the Brody home or the police station exteriors, both featuring white paneling and fencing. White abounds around town and is certainly one of the most readily improved components, with the green shutters and accents another point for high praise. Look at some of the seaside silhouette shots early in the film, say the 4:25 mark on the UHD. The improvements to black level output, shadow detail, and the rising sun behind clouds gently enhance the mood and screen command, reinforcing the juxtaposition between the terrifying events unfolding in the water and the detached, relaxed scene on the beach.
Further, the UHD handles challenging scenes with ease, such as a foggy nighttime boat trip in chapter 10 where light pierces through fog with no sign of troublesome artifacts. It’s remarkably smooth and efficient and, combined with the wonderful black levels, fine grain, and improved clarity, makes for one of the more surprising reference moments in the movie. The print appears virtually free of unwanted blemish. The odd smudge or speckle does creep in but they’re rare and barely visible, such as on the left-hand side of the screen at the 1:24:17 mark. There are no encode artifacts of note, either. This one’s a keeper for sure and a must have for any UHD library. (Source)
Are you a fan of Jaws? Are you excited to pick up the 45th Anniversary 4K Blu-ray? Let us know in the comments below or on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram! You can also carry on the convo with me personally on Twitter @josh_millican.