Jaws 2 - 4K Ultra HD Blu-rayOverview -
Just when you thought it was safe to buy a Blu-ray - Jaws 2 chomps down on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray from Universal. Unnecessary, but a solid follow-up finds Roy Scheider going through that hell again of fighting off another deadly great white. Now on 4K, the film scores an impressive and welcome HDR10 upgrade, 2.0 mono, and the same assortment of bonus features. It might not shine quite as brightly as the original, but this is a welcome upgrade. Recommended
The horror is far from over as Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary and Murray Hamilton reprise their iconic roles in Jaws 2. Four years after the great white shark terrorized the small resort of Amity, unsuspecting vacationers begin disappearing in an all-too-familiar fashion. Police Chief Brody (Scheider) finds himself in a race against time when a new shark attacks ten sailboats manned by teenagers, including his own two sons. The same heart-stopping suspense and gripping adventure that enthralled movie audiences throughout the world in Jaws returns in this worthy sequel to the original motion picture classic.
Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take
Steven Spielberg’s Jaws is a masterclass in suspense and terror. The production might not have been the smoothest, but the final product speaks volumes. Grossing hundreds of millions of dollars at the box office and creating the classic summer movie event all in one stroke, Jaws is a classic that stands the test of time. It can’t be remade, but that didn’t stop Universal from trying to squeeze more dollars out of wallets with a stretch of less successful sequels.
At the top of the sequel pack is Jaws 2. The film can’t hold a candle to the original, but credit must be given to director Jeannot Szwarc and writers Carl Gottlieb and Howard Sackler for giving it their best shot. Originally the hope was to do a prequel of sorts focusing on Quint’s time aboard the USS Indianapolis recreating his famous speech. That would have been an amazing route to go, but instead, we see another great white shark decide to stake out Amity Island for a bite or two. Roy Scheider, Lorraine Gary, and Murry Hamilton return to their roles with John Williams delivering another iconic tension-filled score.
Unlike the first film that held back the shark as long as possible (partly due to technical difficulties with Bruce), Jaws 2 gives the audience what they paid to see, lots of blood and lots of screams. The shark is all over this show munching down one hapless islander after another. The suspense factor may be mitigated, but the body count is thrilling and increasingly inventive. The franchise quickly follows what would become the typical slasher structure, especially for slasher sequels, with more of the killer, more deaths, and a lot more blood.
Nowhere near as good as the original, it’s not a bad sequel. It’s actually a better book if you can find a copy for a quick beach read. But as a film, Szwarc keeps the show energetic with some impressive camera work and lets his actors do their thing. The film is never slow or boring. Gottlieb and Sackler hit on a clever idea of adapting auto cruising culture to boating giving our young teen fish fodder a reason to keep going out on the water. The cast gives it their all, especially Scheider who stands front and center without having to contend with the scene-stealing chops of Robert Shaw. Entertaining from start to finish, it’s a fine sequel, even if it didn’t need to exist.
Vital Disc Stats: The 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Jaws 2 feasts on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with a new two-disc 4K UHD + Blu-ray + Digital release from Universal. The 4K version is pressed on a Region Free BD-66 disc, with the same BD-50 disc from 2016 returning to support the 1080p. Housed in a two-disc case, the disc loads to a static image main menu with the bonus features panel along the right side of the screen. The digital copy is Movies Anywhere supported and is supposed to redeem in 4K, but so far from what I’ve heard around the interwebs, the 4K option isn’t popping into VUDU, iTunes, or other supported collections.
Perhaps not as sharp and gorgeous as what Universal offered for the original Jaws, nonetheless, the studio delivers a worthwhile 2160p HDR10 upgrade for Jaws 2. From the outset, it’s clear that Universal put some time into this new transfer cleaning up those little lingering nicks and speckles for a clear and clean-looking transfer without scrubbing out natural film grain or details. Facial features, production design, costume textures, and all of the damage and burns on the shark’s face look sharp and clear. Soft shots that were always soft remain, but considering the first film's look, Michael C. Butler did a heck of a job matching the feel of Bill Butler's (apparently no relation) work.
The HDR10 grade is a welcome upgrade to the color timing, brightness, and black levels. I was always pretty happy with the 2016 Blu-ray, it was a welcome upgrade over the old DVD, but I did feel brightness wise it was a bit too hot. This transfer steps that back a tad and evens out brightness levels, keeping whites nice and bright without blooming and blacks and shadows strong without crush. Colors see a small shift for a warmer appearance without dramatically shifting primaries. Skin tones are healthy with Scheider looking as leathery tan as ever. Primaries are bold and strong without appearing oversaturated. Reds are vivid, blood the appropriate crimson, with plenty of 70s yellow to go around. After a dodgy DVD, a respectable Blu-ray, Jaws 2 scores an impressive 4K disc release for fans to enjoy.
Now for Peacock subscribers, there is a Dolby Vision HDR version up there to stream. I took a look at it briefly, it looks pretty good but flipping between the two I just didn’t feel like the Dolby Vision was offering much of an enhancement overall, at least not enough to raise hell for it not being on disc. Just in a streaming experience, I’ve had the worst luck with Peacock 4K streams as they often start out looking great, but for whatever reason after about ten to fifteen minutes it shifts back to SDR 1080p and will stay that way. I have to then stop the film and start it again to get that 4K Dolby Vision back - only for it to leave ten minutes later. That ain’t worth it. Sure it’s a bummer we didn’t get Dolby Vision on disc, I won’t deny that, but for what appears to me as only nominal improvements, I’m not too disappointed considering how great the disc looks as is.
One area where Universal didn’t fiddle was the audio track. We have what sounds like the same DTS-HD MA 2.0 mono track as 2016. Flipping between discs, I listened through a variety of key sequences and didn’t notice any differences. If any tinkering was done, I couldn’t hear it or it was so slight it was tough to catch. However, I did run this through my receiver’s DTS Neural:X function and was pleasantly surprised by the impact it had. Not a necessary flip by any means as I’m more than happy with the 2.0 mono as is, but if you’ve got that option it’s not a bad way to roll. Dialog is clean throughout and Williams’ score is just as effective and ominous as ever. Some folks may be irked for a lack of 5.1 audio or an Atmos or DTS:X mix, but I’m one of those people that feels that kind of upgrade isn’t always necessary or needed to enjoy a classic.
Jaws 2 isn’t the greatest movie ever and can be considered an unnecessary sequel to a classic, but it’s still a damned fun flick. Sure, there’s nothing to “new” about a great white shark eating people off the coast of a New England island community, but dang did the filmmakers come up with some clever ways for this toothy killer to enjoy a snack. Universal Studios gives Jaws 2 a fine upgrade to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray with an all-around impressive HDR10 transfer. Audio may be the same, and there’s nothing new in the extras. Those more than happy with their Blu-rays can stand pat, but 4K fiends will find a nice delicious morsel to chew on with this release. Recommended.
March Comes In Like A 2160p HDR Lion - HDD's March 2024 4K UHD Shopping GuideBy:
Edward Zwick's Glory 35th Anniversary 4K UHD Limited Edition SteelBook Arrives on June 4By:
Turbine Reissues 3-Disc Pitch Black Director's Cut 4K UHD Set with Their World-Exclusive Atmos Audio Feb 29thBy:
Sergio Leone's Once Upon a Time in the West Coming to 4K UHD May 14By: