The Geek Life is a weekly look at what is going on in the Geek Culture. Movies, Comics, Books, Video Games, and TV Shows encompass more than just release dates and reviews. This week the Geek Life celebrates Jaws on Blu-ray.
Since Friday, Mania has been getting ready for the release of Jaws on Blu-ray. The classic film that launched Steven Spielberg’s career is long overdue for the Blu-ray treatment. There are tons of special features here including deleted scenes and a “making of”. What I had to watch first, even before the film, was The Shark Is Still Working. Now, I had seen Jaws dozens of times and even once in the theater (on 35mm). The Shark is Still Working had become one of my “must sees” as of late. A friend caught a screening in LA and raved about it. Sadly, I couldn’t get the film booked in my local art house theatre and screenings were too far between. That is all a thing of the past as each and every one of us can now own this brilliant documentary made by fans for fans. Check out my interview here with J. Michael Roddy, producer of the documentary.
The film itself blew me away. Now, I have been reviewing Blu-rays and DVDs here at Mania for nearly 5 years. I’ve seen a lot of transfers that were good, but there are only a few that have blown me away. When anyone asks me, “Bob, what are some good Blu-rays?”, my answer is usually as follows: Hands down North By Northwest (see column), Up (see column), and The Wizard of Oz (see review). These 3 films all have great special features, but the picture quality alone makes them worth picking up. I am relived to say that Jaws now joins my list.
In short, I saw more of Chrissie (Susan Blackline) than ever before. I heard John Williams’ fantastic score as if I was sitting in the recording room. I marveled at the sky that Cinematographer Bill Butler captured whether it be morning, noon, or night and, thankfully, the magic and illusion is still there on screen. Watching Jaws in 1080p doesn’t reveal any of the shark’s mechanics, nor does it make him look fake. To put it simply, this classic is still a classic.
With Jaws coming out this week, I thought I would share a few other fun things to pick up for either yourself or the Jaws aficionado this coming holiday season. Now, if you are going to have a Jaws party/ screening you have to have the right beer. Not just any old beer, but Quint’s beer, Narragansett Lager Beer (see picture above). To celebrate the release of Jaws, Narragansett is releasing its beer in the original 1975 can. So now you, too, can down one and crush it in your bare hand. Just for authenticity sake, have some plastic cups sitting around for the Hoopers in the group.
If you have read this column in the past, you know that I am a huge fan of t-shirts. Jaws t-shirts (good ones) are few and far between. I have three that I recommend. The first is “Quint’s Shark Fishing” from Last Exit to Nowhere. It is a simple shirt and not plastered with the logo of Jaws all over the place. A shirt like this makes you recognizable to the other true die-hards. My second suggestion is Last Exit’s to Nowhere’s “Amity Island Police” shirt. Simplistic, brilliant, and again marks you as a true fan. The final shirt is one that is easily found at most comic book conventions. Pick up the “Jaws Chalk Drawing” shirt over at 80stees.com. It simply doesn’t get any better than that.
A few other great items to pick up are books that have to do with the making of Jaws. For any and all pictures you would ever want to see about the making of Jaws, pick up Jaws: Memories from Marth’s Vineyards by Matt Taylor. It is an incredible book with stories and photos that will delight you and/ or the Jaws fan sitting at home. There is also a great possibility that you don’t already own it as it only came out last year. The other book (beside Peter Benchley’s original novel) worth getting is the Jaws Log by Carl Gottlieb. Carl Gottlieb was not only the co-screenwriter of the film but also played “Meadows”, Amity’s newspaper man. His insight and first hand knowledge of the film, both in front of and behind the camera, is unparalleled. Newmarket Press just released the book last week in an Expanded Edition. Having read an early edition, I cannot wait to see what Carl has added. Many film makers site the Jaws Log as their first hand book on how to make a movie. I had the opportunity to sit and chat with Carl about Jaws and his book on the Universal Backlot. Check it out below:
Robert Trate writes three weekly columns for Mania: the DVD Shopping Bag, the Toy Maniac, and The Geek Life. Follow Robert on Twitter for his for Geek ramblings, Cosplay photos and film criticisms.
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