by Jeremy J. Glowacki
It was the summer of 1975, and I was four and half years old. Having a daughter that same age now, I can completely understand why my mom flipped out and fired the my babysitter when she took me to see Jaws during its opening week one hot summer afternoon.
The babysitter, a sweet teenage girl from my grandparents’ church, had offered me two choices of fun things to do that day: “go to the pool” or “go see a movie.” Being no different than I am today, I picked air conditioning over sunburn, though I had no idea what I was getting myself into.
I remember bits and pieces of the completely age-inappropriate movie, but I vividly recall that by the end of the movie I had chewed off the sweet tasting (probably lead-based) paint from the head of the “knock-off” GI Joe doll I had brought me. Later, after my mom had screamed at the babysitter and sent her home, I innocently mentioned that Joe’s hair had turned white because he was scared of the shark in the movie. Hello child psychologists!
Fast forward to the summer of 2012 and guess what movie is coming out on Blu-ray and in HD for the first time? That’s right; it’s Jaws, and I can’t wait to see it in all of its digitally remastered, restored glory, and with 7.1 surround sound, when it comes out on August 14, 2012.
Jaws is one of 13 classic Universal films to be digitally remastered and fully restored from 35mm original film elements as part of Universal’s ongoing 100th Anniversary celebration. The Jaws restoration began with researching and evaluating the existing film elements to determine the best means to restore the film. Over the course of several months, technicians at Universal Studios Digital Services meticulously balanced color, removed dirt and scratches, and repaired any damage to the film elements shot by shot and frame by frame.
Following the picture restoration, Universal Studios Sound team up-mixed the iconic Jaws soundtrack to DTS-HD Master 7.1, optimizing the sound on the Blu-ray for the latest home theater technology. The entire restoration process was conducted in conjunction with Steven Spielberg and Amblin Entertainment’s post-production team to ensure the integrity of Spielberg’s original vision remained intact.
A hint at how the original print of Jaws was painstakingly restored by Universal.
The Jaws Blu-ray Combo Pack is available in collectible Universal 100th Anniversary packaging for a limited time. The Combo Pack also contains a digital copy of the film for a limited time, compatible with iTunes, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch, Android or online retail partners, as well as an UltraViolet copy. UltraViolet is the new way for consumers to collect movies and TV shows in the cloud to download and stream instantly to computers, tablets, and smartphones.
Blu-ray bonus features include a new documentary, called The Shark is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws, which includes never-before-seen footage and interviews with cast and crew including Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, and Roy Scheider. The disc also includes Jaws: The Restoration, which is an all-new look at the intricate process of restoring the movie, The Making of Jaws, From the Set, deleted scenes and outtakes, Jaws archives, and the original theatrical trailer.
The PG-rated film, which has a running time of two hours and four minutes, will be available in 2.35:1 aspect ratio, with English DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1/DTS Digital Surround 2.0 Mono and Dolby Digital 2.0, Spanish and French DTS Digital Surround 5.1 available.
Rumor has it that the remaining 13 restorations will include titles such as To Kill a Mockingbird, All Quiet on the Western Front, The Sting, Out of Africa, Frankenstein, and Schindler’s List. Wow, Out of Africa... that was my first date movie in high school. Don’t ask me what memories that re-release will conjure up.