Jaws 2 (Blu-ray) (1978)

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Released 2-Jun-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Thriller Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Making Of-The Making of Jaws 2
Featurette-Jaws 2: A Portrait By Actor Keith Gordan
Featurette-John Williams: The Music of Jaws 2
Featurette-The "French" Joke
Storyboards
Theatrical Trailer
Rating Rated M
Year Of Production 1978
Running Time 116:15
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Language Select Then Menu
Region Coding 1,2,3,4,5,6 Directed By Jeannot Szwarc
Studio
Distributor

Universal Sony
Starring Roy Scheider
Lorraine Gary
Murray Hamilton
Joseph Mascolo
Jeffrey Kramer
Collin Wilcox Paxton
Ann Dusenberry
Mark Gruner
Barry Coe
Susan French
Gary Springer
Donna Wilkes
Case Standard Blu-ray
RPI $15.95 Music John Williams


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 2.0
Spanish dts 2.0
French dts 2.0
Portuguese dts 2.0
German dts 2.0
Chinese dts 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.35:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
Spanish
French
Portuguese
German
Japanese
Czech
Danish
Finnish
Greek
Korean
Norwegian
Swedish
Smoking Yes
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits No

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

††† Unlike numerous other lucrative blockbusters of the 1970s (such as Star Wars, Superman, etc), Steven Spielbergís Jaws did not lend itself particularly well to a sequel. After all, the story was about a shark terrorising a small island community, and the shark was killed during the picture's climax. With the titular monster dead and the main story arc closed, not much room was left for a continuing saga. However, money is money, and with Jaws earning big at the box office (over $400 million worldwide from an estimated $8.5 million budget), the studio ordered a sequel. Shouldering the intimidating weight of its predecessor and burdened with high audience expectations, Jaws 2 could've been a slapdash catastrophe made for a fast buck all round, but it is instead surprisingly serviceable, suspenseful fun.

††† Jaws 2 takes place a few years after the events of Jaws, and the narrative unfolds in the same placid island community of Amity where Police Chief Martin Brody (Roy Scheider) patrols with diligence. After a string of mysterious boating accidents and disappearances, Brody grows suspicious that another great white shark is lurking just offshore, but, once again, both the mayor (Murray Hamilton) and the city council refuse to listen. Unfortunately for the inhabitants of Amity, Brody is correct. The chief persists until he loses his job, and is eventually compelled into action when he finds out that his two sons and their friends are stuck in the middle of the ocean, being stalked by the monster white shark.

††† When placed against Spielberg's original masterpiece, Jaws 2 looks as pale as shark-eaten bodies. For those of you rolling your eyes in wonderment at the fact that another unnaturally huge white pointer swims to Amity to terrorise the same group of people... Your pain is shared. It's a long shot, and the plot device seems manufactured for the sake of a sequel. But once you suspend your disbelief and accept the film on its own merits (of which there are many), Jaws 2 is a lot of fun. For starters, the main characters are a bunch of teenagers, and, though it can be difficult keeping tabs on who's who, we do grow to care about them. The script posits these teens as resourceful, bright people who react realistically to the situation, and it's for this reason that tension is felt when they're placed in peril. However, at nearly two hours in length, Jaws 2 could've benefitted from a bit of trimming - there are uneventful stretches which lack both the economy and the zippiness of the original Jaws. Another sorely missed asset is Spielberg's brand of visual panache, as Jaws 2 is more on the aesthetically dull side. Added to this, the filmmakers continually attempt to up the ante, leading to scenes of pure absurdity, such a beat involving a shark attacking a helicopter and managing to drag it underwater.

††† As competent as he may be, director Jeannot Szwarc is still no Steven Spielberg. Szwarc and director of photography Michael Butler adopt a similar shooting style to original Jaws, but are unable to generate the same brand of unbearable tension. The shark is seen far too often this time, and, consequently, it's less terrifying. Like the original Jaws, the mechanical sharks here often look phoney, sometimes distractingly so. In actual fact, the shark effects here are often less convincing than those in the first film. It'd be unreasonable to expect perfect shark effects in a Ď70s production, but it's a tremendous problem that the mechanical sharks have declined in quality, rather than improved. That said, Szwarc nevertheless manages to orchestrate a number of chilling, tautly-edited shark attack sequences, and there is a degree of tension here, especially during the film's latter half when the teens are always vulnerable to an attack as they float on a jumbled mass of broken, half-sunk sailboats and catamarans. John Williams' score is terrific, and though it is reminiscent of the first film, there are some original compositions which lends gravitas to the production.

††† Unfortunately, there's no Richard Dreyfuss or Robert Shaw here, and none of the characters are as interesting as those played by the pair in the original film. What we're left with is an engaging Scheider as Chief Brody, a less interested Hamilton as the Mayor Vaughn (who rushed the filming of his scenes so he could be with his cancer-stricken wife, hence the dull performance), Jeffrey Kramer who reprises his role as Deputy Hendricks with endearing zeal, and Lorraine Gary who's perfectly adequate as Martin's wife Ellen. The kids also place forth convincing enough performances.

††† Jaws 2, naturally, will never be labelled as a masterpiece like its predecessor, and it's a step down from the landmark first film, but it's better than most of the knock-offs that plagued theatres in the post-Jaws era. Despite its flaws, it should prove worthwhile to those clamouring for a fun Jaws follow-up. It's unfortunate that the Jaws franchise is usually regarded as one good film followed by three abominations to mankind. Although a case can definitely be made against the catastrophic Jaws 3 and Jaws the Revenge, this second film gets too much of an unfair bad rap by association.

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Transfer Quality

Video

††† The original Jaws debuted on Blu-ray all the way back in 2012 after an extensive remastering process, and now four years later we finally have the sequels. For obvious reasons, Jaws 2 did not receive the same pedigree of costly remaster as its predecessor, but this sequel nevertheless looks strong on the whole, presented in its original aspect ratio of 2.35:1. Luckily, the movie is given 36GB of space on this BD-50, allowing for a healthy bitrate and ensuring that there are minimal compression issues. Itís the best-looking Jaws sequel on BD.

††† First things first: There is quite a considerable amount of print damage here, with noticeable flecks and scratches frequently cropping up. I personally do not mind such artefacts because it amplifies the old-fashioned cinematic vibe, but others may disagree. In addition, the transfer is a tad soft, and although the filmís grain structure remains in-tact for the most part, there are moments which look too smooth, and some shots are muddy (particularly underwater footage). These are about the only issues to speak of, however, with nothing in the way of encoding anomalies - there is no crush, aliasing or ringing to speak of.

††† This is a stable transfer all things considered, exhibiting sharpness and detail that ranges from good to great. Compared to the dated old DVD, the difference in clarity and refinement is simply startling, with the 1080p, AVC-encoded high definition transfer bringing out nuances in the waves, boats, clothing, and the shark itself. Colours are strong and true, looking faithful to the original theatrical presentation - this is not a revisionist effort with contemporary colour timing, thankfully. Although there is evidence of light DNR, I didnít detect any distracting edge enhancement. Jaws 2 looks organic and filmic, which is exactly what fans were after. It probably hasnít look this good since the cinema back in 1978.

††† Itís remarkable that the Jaws sequels ever reached Blu-ray at all considering Universalís evident hesitance, thus itís great to report that Jaws 2 looks as good as it does. Itís a worthy replacement for the DVD, and probably even better than we had a right to expect, especially given Universalís spotty track record for catalogue titles.

††† A number of subtitle options are available.


Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

††† Whereas the original Jaws received a repurposed 7.1 audio track for its Blu-ray debut, Jaws 2 comes packaged with its original mono soundtrack, encoded in lossless DTS-HD MA 2.0. On the one hand, it is disappointing that Universal didnít at least upgrade the audio to a 5.1 track, but then again, the revisionist efforts on the first Jaws have irked purists due to changed sound effects and other alterations. Aside from its limited channel activity, this is a solid audio presentation.

††† Although not exactly nuanced, thereís plenty of oomph to this track. When the shark attacks boats or the helicopter, the sounds are impactful and effective, while Williamsí score comes through with wonderful precision. Dialogue is also fine; itís always audible and easy to understand. I did detect a few hisses and other tiny imperfections, but otherwise this is a perfectly serviceable track that represents a significant upgrade over the lossy track on the DVD.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

††† Most extras from the DVD are carried over, with no new inclusions. The Blu-ray only misses out on an image gallery, but I doubt anyone will miss it.

Deleted Scenes (SD; 4:41)

††† A selection of four deleted scenes which did not make the final cut. These can be viewed individually or via a ďPlay AllĒ function. Although three of these scenes were better left on the cutting room floor, a fourth scene involving the shark attacking the helicopter pilot underwater really should be in the final cut. Suffice it to say, all of these scenes are in bad shape; they are not 16x9 enhanced, and no restoration work has been carried out since the DVD.

The Making of Jaws 2 (SD; 45:22)

††† This is the highlight of the set. Carried over from the DVD, we have a extensive, fascinating glimpse at the making of this maligned sequel, which was plagued with production issues, much like the original Jaws. Itís full of worthwhile interviews from a variety of participants, and behind-the-scenes photographs to provide insight into how Jaws 2 was made. For any fans of the movie, this is an essential watch. The doc is presented in 4:3 and the quality is not much better than a DVD.

Jaws 2: A Portrait by Actor Keith Gordon (SD; 8:18)

††† Another extra from the DVD, this is an eight-minute interview with Keith Gordon, who played one of the teenagers in the film. Filled with behind-the-scenes photographs, this is a great little featurette which provides a unique perspective of his on-set experiences, when he was only 16. Gordon also talks about his career after Jaws 2. Like the previous documentary, this extra is in 4:3.

John Williams: The Music of Jaws 2 (SD; 7:12)

††† Producers Richard D. Zanuck and David Brown talk about John Williamsí work on the first film, and discuss bringing him back for the sequel. Williams himself also provides an interview to talk about the thought process behind his compositions. Well worth watching.

The ďFrenchĒ Joke (SD; 1:18)

††† A very brief piece with director Jeannot Szwarc about the French title of the movie, and how it had to be changed.

Storyboards (SD)

††† Three storyboard galleries are available to view here.

Theatrical Trailers (SD; 7:57)

††† Eight minutes of trailers from the movieís marketing campaign. The source is in terrible shape and the clips are in 4:3 full-screen.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

† † Based on current info, all editions worldwide are identical. It seems that Universal is releasing the same disc in all territories.

Summary

††† Fans of the Jaws movies have waited years to see the sequels debut on Blu-ray, and now they're finally here. Jaws 2 remains an underrated follow-up and a reasonable companion piece to Spielberg's masterful original film, and this Blu-ray is just fine. Video is strong, audio is robust, and there is a great supply of extras. It's a shame that no new supplemental material is included, but I'll take it nevertheless. Recommended.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Callum Knox (I studied biology)
Wednesday, June 01, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDPlayStation 4, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 42LW6500. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderBuilt in to amplifier/receiver. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationLG BH7520TW
SpeakersLG Tall Boy speakers, 5.1 set-up, 180W

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