Jaws finally got its first ever 4K Ultra HD release. As of last Tuesday, the restored and updated version of Steven Spielberg’s genre-defining horror film can also be experienced on Blu-ray as well as digitally and above, you can catch the first 9 minutes in 4K. While the visual quality of both is equally impressive, diehard fans of the picture may prefer the digital version, as it comes with special lenticular packaging as well as a 44-page booklet.
Additional bonus features on the 4K Ultra HD version include a documentary supplement titled The Making of Jaws, a video essay called The Shark is Still Working: The Impact & Legacy of Jaws, as well as a number of deleted scenes and outtakes. The Blu-ray version, in contrast, offers storyboards, production photos, various promotional materials, and yet another video essay on the film’s lasting impact.
And what an impact it was. Though Jaws premiered 45 years ago, the footprint it left on filmmaking remains visible today. Not only did the movie create one of the biggest staples of the theatrical distribution system, the ‘summer blockbuster,’ but it also single-handedly invented the sub-genre of aquatic horror, one which spawned numerous other shark-featuring films, including recent entries The Meg and 47 Meters Down.
For those of you who have never seen the pic – and are too embarrassed to admit it – Jaws tells the now-infamous story of a little coastal town in New England whose hotly-anticipated summer vacation business gets ruined, not by a global health crisis, but a persistent and bloodthirsty shark.
In order to save the town’s economy – and prevent innocent beach lovers from being devoured – a sheriff teams up with an enthusiastic marine biologist and a passionate yet volatile fisherman to track down, catch and kill the beast stalking their shallow waters. Though this is a rather thin premise for a two-hour film, Jaws found a way to make it work, and its achievement continues to be honored to this day.