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'Jaws' RealD 3D: The Real Deal

Even if you’ve already seen this on the big screen, the RealD 3D technology gives this legendary film the glorious look it deserves.
JAWS. Courtesy Universal Pictures.

JAWS. Courtesy Universal Pictures.

The original Jaws, which came out in 1975, is the gold standard for the summer blockbuster. Directed by Steven Spielberg, it set box office records and made the beach formidable instead of a fun-in-the-sun destination. The story is simple. A man-eating shark, a great white, preys on idyllic Amity Island during the height of summer. Much like his feature debut Duel, Spielberg's Jaws has an antagonist that’s a seemingly unstoppable unknown assailant. It's lead characters are in psychological warfare with a being that taps into primal fear. Spielberg got his start directing television. His episodes of Rod Serling’s Night Gallery and Columbo demonstrated the skills of someone who was astute at the visual vernacular of terror, which was on a grander scale with Jaws.

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Just in time for Labor Day weekend, Universal Pictures’ Jaws is being re-released in theaters for a limited release on September 2, 2022, in IMAX and RealD 3D. Starring Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, and Robert Shaw, the RealD 3D version is crisp and clear and makes the experience even more visceral. The reason this film stands the test of time is that it has all the elements of a "perfect" film. Amazing visual storytelling, compelling characters, natural dialogue, tension throughout, and a believable monster from the deep, wrapped in a blanket of Americana. There's one scene where Scheider's Chief Brody is sitting in a beach chair and Olivia Newton-John's "I Honestly Love You" is playing on someone’s portable radio. Considering the recent passing of Olivia Newton-John, that gives the film an extra tinge of nostalgia.

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Dreyfuss’s Hooper’s frenetic energy and intellectual approach to finding the man-eating shark juxtaposed with Shaw’s mercurial and earthy Quint are enduringly entertaining. Quint’s monologue about delivering the bomb and encountering killer sharks recalls the demon in The Exorcist’s relationship with Father Merrin. In both cases it’s unfinished business between the diabolic entities and the heroes and the devils win. Scheider is sturdy as Brody, a weathervane of the shark’s location and threat. John Williams’ score heralds the menace, while Bill Butler’s keen cinematography captures the essence of the man vs shark narrative.

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Even if you’ve already seen this on the big screen, the RealD 3D technology gives this legendary film the glorious look it deserves. In this post-pandemic world where the movie box office became healthy again, why not end the summer on a high note by catching this masterpiece that created the benchmark for telling stories on the big screen.