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Jaws is one of those classic films that needs very little introduction, it’s part of our culture. Most people have at least seen the film on TV, and it frequently turns up in people’s video collections, usually on the unmarked tape at the back of the cupboard along with Ghostbusters and the copy of Star Wars taped off of the telly one Christmas. Thankfully this 25th Anniversary Edition is of a significantly higher quality than that found on your average E-180 Scotch tape.

Jaws: 25th Anniversary Edition
For those of you who have been living under a large rock since 1975, the film tells the story of a small island resort called Amity, which is being terrorized by a huge great white shark. When the remains of a young girl are found, Chief of Police Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) closes the beaches and enforces a strict ‘no-swimming’ policy. With the 4th of July weekend fast approaching, and keen to protect the commercial interests of the townspeople, the Mayor tries to sweep the whole incident under the carpet and re-opens the beaches, much to Brody’s disgust.

When a young boy becomes the shark’s second victim, Brody teams up with shark expert Matt Hooper (Richard Dreyfuss), and together they set out to stop the dorsal-finned menace. It soon becomes apparent that they aren’t capable of dealing with the creature on their own, so the duo seeks to enlist the help of a contractor. Enter Quint (Robert Shaw), a wily old seafarer who offers to help the pair track and kill the shark before it can eat any more holidaymakers. Unfortunately for our daring trio, the shark proves to be slightly more troublesome than your average fish…

Jaws features some fine performances, especially Robert Shaw as Quint. His ‘Indianapolis’ speech is enough to send shivers up and down your spine… Roy Scheider is great as Brody, the hydrophobic cop who takes on the task of ridding Amity of the killer shark, and Richard Dreyfuss puts in a good performance as the young shark expert. Still, there are some that might argue that the real star of the show is the mechanical shark, or Bruce, as he is otherwise known. Sure it looks like a big rubber shark, but it still made me jump the first time it unexpectedly lunged out of the water…

Jaws: 25th Anniversary Edition
Presented in anamorphic 2.35:1 widescreen, the picture quality is excellent, especially for a film of this age. There are a couple of very minor image problems, but on the whole this is a superb transfer, certainly the best-looking version of the film you’ll come across. Everything is very sharp and colourful, which provides a showcase for the excellent cinematography. A lot of work must have gone into the restoration of the image, and it really shows in the final product.

After the splendor of the video transfer, sonically Jaws is a little bit of a let down. It all sounds good enough, but the surrounds are only really used for John Williams’ admittedly excellent score. Then again the film was originally shot in mono, so I guess it is to be understood and I’m probably just being too picky. However, the perfectionists among you may be alarmed to learn that the original mono track is not present on the disc. Still, the audio deserves a lot of credit just for the incredibly atmospheric music.

This anniversary edition comes packed with quality extras. There’s a 50 minute ‘Making Of’ documentary, deleted scenes, outtakes, photo galleries, ‘Get Out of the Water’ shark trivia game, shark world, 3 trailers, production notes, talent files and DVD Rom content. The documentary is very interesting, with lots of behind the scenes info and interviews with the principals. The deleted scenes offer slightly longer versions of some takes, as well as a couple of new scenes. The trailers are also worthy of a quick mention, all three create a great deal of tension, although it has to be said that the first one goes on so long it’s hardly worth watching the film afterwards!

Jaws: 25th Anniversary Edition
With Jaws, director Spielberg created a film that terrified people of all ages years after its initial release. To this day I’m still paranoid about swimming in the sea! With its excellent script, accomplished performances and tremendous (for their time) special effects, the film is an all round winner. Its appeal lies not in gory, prolonged shark attacks, in which the evisceration of the victims is shown in detail, but rather in the apprehension of these attacks. Spielberg manages to build up enough suspense to completely engross the viewer in the narrative, so that by the time the decidedly fake looking shark is revealed suspension of disbelief is a given. I just wish the makers of Deep Blue Sea had taken note of this when making their film, but I digress. The superb video quality and generous collection of insightful extras combine to make this an exceptional presentation of an all time classic, one that comes highly recommended.