The Great White Blu-Ray Hunt

Today is the day. The day JAWS came out on Blu-Ray. On my late and dearly missed Mom’s birthday, no less. And I had a solid plan to get it in my grubby hands.

It’s here…

Could I have ordered it online on Amazon? Sure. But when I saw this past Sunday there was a Best Buy exclusive coming out with 40 pages of stuff that I probably didn’t need but wanted, I decided that was the one to get. So I dropped Mrs. Von Luger off at Port Authority in NYC for a trip to sunny Mt. Pocono, PA and headed over to Best Buy on 44th and 5th. But first I killed some time at a Barnes and Noble two blocks down. Big mistake? Maybe…cause there were no more Collector’s Series copies of JAWS left when I got to Best Buy!

The back…

After mulling over my options and maybe buying the regular Blu-Ray, I made the choice to head down to 23rd and 6th to another Manhattan Best Buy. But this time I would be smart and call first to see if they had any left! Oh no – on hold for five minutes! Screw that! As I neared 34th Street I changed course and headed to Penn Station. Made a train by literally one minute, then headed East to Little Neck and the Von Luger Mobile. Then I set out to my “local” Best Buy in Carle Place, NY, deftly avoiding any sight of the office where I work a half a mile or so west of Best Buy (since today was a day off for yours truly).

Aaaaaannnndddd…..They didn’t have any copies of the Collector’s Series Digibook either. Ugh…. What to do? I stalled, looking blindly and punch-drunkedly for other stuff I couldn’t find anyway, while holding in my paws a copy of one of the few regular Blu-Ray copies left. I checked the Customer Kiosk for stock, to no avail. I asked Mike, the guy patrolling the movie/games sections, to no avail. I got on line to pay. I got off the line, hemming and hawing. I decided to look up on my phone just what the heck is in the Digibook and is it worth it, and found a video review which I watched in the store. That’s when I decided to have them order me a copy. Screw it. So I don’t have it today, no biggie.

Meantime, Mike the movies/games guy was looking behind the register to see if there were any regular copies left for a customer that asked him. Aaaaaannnndddd….. Someone left behind a copy of the Collector’s Series Digibook Thingie and my hero Mike saw me and handed it over, then I handed the other customer my regular copy (hopefully not too sweaty by now) and all was good in the ocean! Hurray for me! No waiting! Hemming and hawing paid off for the first time ever!

Now, the smattering of faithful VLB readers know how feel about JAWS. Truth be told, it’s my second favorite film behind The Great Escape, but it’s rapidly becoming 1 and 1A. Now, how is the Blu-Ray you ask? (OK, maybe you don’t give a crap, but I’m telling you anyway!)

First, the packaging is pretty sweet. 42 pages of stuff in the BB exclusive Digibook (boy, that word sounds silly when you keep saying it). Notes on the production, the cast and crew, the film’s influence and legacy, storyboards, a couple of script pages, great photos, etc.

Inside Front Cover

The Intro by Richard Zanuck

Benchley novel

Roy Scheider

Storyboards

Ah, but let’s pop that sucker in the old Blu-Ray player. Man, it looks amazing. Fantastic digital restoration. Crystal clear, but not to the point of looking fake. Depth and detail is fabulous. And it sounds terrific. John Williams’ masterful score is better than ever.

Blu-Ray Main Menu

“It’s a Digibook.” “A wha??”

“Hey, thanks for breakfast!”

For some reason, this made me think of Mummenschanz

Fast fish! One of my Dad’s favorite scenes.

But the real pull for me, in addition to the great extras from previous versions, which include an awesome 2-hour Making of JAWS documentary that first showed up on the super Laserdisc edition, is the inclusion of The Shark Is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws, which I heard about 5 years ago and finally got to see. Great clips and interviews! Narrated by Roy Scheider! Richard Dreyfuss mimicking the shark! Three uses of the word “recalcitrant” in one minute! Schweet…..The only bad thing is it’s not in full HD. What’s up with that? Eh, no matter. Just wish my Dad was around to share this with. It was his second favorite movie also.

The doc is worth the price of admission

My favorite part of the new doc is Spielberg watching the Oscar nominations…with Joe Spinell (!) who exclaims about the non-nod for Steve: “Who made the picture,  somebody’s muthah?” Or maybe my favorite part is how they talk about the Signature Collection Laserdisc and how people bought Laserdisc players just to get this set, which included one of the best docs ever made, the famous Laurent Bouzerau one which is more of a must-see than this new guy. (They’re both on the new disc!) Well, what are you waiting for? Get thee to a Blu-Ray store!

Here’s another GREAT article about the restoration, and the film, courtesy of The New Yorker. (Thanks to Drax for sharing!)

Images from the Blu-Ray © Universal Studios.

Published in: on August 14, 2012 at 9:17 pm  Comments (9)  
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9 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. What was your Dad’s favorite movie, Scrooged? (Zulu right?)

    • Zulu is correct. Have the Laserdisc that you bought for me.

  2. JAWS is definitely one of my favorite movies of all time! Thanks for giving me an idea for my birthday wish list. Great post!

    • Thanks, lady! Definitely put that one on the Santa list….but make sure it comes with a cheapie Blu-Ray player!

  3. Wow, ZULU was another Bradley-copy classic from GoodTimes. I see a motif developing here. Nice work and congrats, Turafish!

    • Thanks, BOF! Zulu is seriously underrated in my book. Dad had good taste in movies! I mean, Jaws goes without saying….

  4. This movie brings back lots of good memories and will always be my favorite. Jaws was my first theatrical experience. I owe that to my neighbor Tommy who lived across the street and with whom I saw it with. Not only did he convince my Mom to let me go, he convinced my friend, Patrick, Mom too! Unfortunately Pat’s Mom changed her mind after watching a movie review on the 10pm news the night before. The critic recommended this was a movie not for children. Lucky for me, my Mom didn’t watch channel the 5 10pm news!

    Now I just need to buy a HDTV and Blue Ray player to watch it!

    Great pics Joe.

    • Thanks for the read and the comment, George!
      Watched JAWS with Cassie last night. She said “it was scary” and claimed she didn’t like it. But at the end she said “Oh, poor shark…” so I think secretly she did like….(I hope)

  5. Depending on which day of the week it is, Jaws is my favorite movie of all time (on odd days it would be The Searchers) and I doubt anything could ever touch it for sheer excitement and chills. Your journey for perfection makes me wish I’d waited a few days and held out for the Best Buy exclusive. Alas, it needed to be in my paws that very day and so Amazon won out. I’ve seen Jaws perhaps 35-40 times over the last 38 years but I have never seen it so clear! The waves hitting the beach in the opening literally blew my mind.

    I still want an explanation, however, for that weird cut in the autopsy scene with Dreyfuss: “Here is what happens…”

    Great report, Joe!

    Dean Pete


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