“Jaws” on the big screen, of course I am going to be there. This is a cinematic experience and no matter how great the home video releases are (and yes I will be buying the 4K Upgrade being promoted by the current release) one should always see “Jaws” in a theater when it is possible. The screen size and sound are probably going to be superior, but even more than the technology, you are seeing the movie in the place it was made for with people who have the same desire as you, to sit in a theater to experience this masterpiece. The only question is whether the tweaking for 3-D enhances or detracts from the experience.
So we went to two screenings, back to back in different theaters. The first had a 3-D presentation so let me start with that. “Jaws” is a perfect film, so it doesn’t really need anything else to gin it up, but there were interesting moments in the film with the 3D effect. The Billboard Public Service announcement does pop a bit more and it does draw your eye to the graffiti artist’s work. The scene in Quint’s workshop was also a little more intriguing because some of the production background stands out more. Some of the effect was distracting however since you start looking at the things that are different rather than the things that are important. Quint’s limerick gets pushed to the background because the foreground with Ellen Brody is now the 3D focus in the scene. I don’t know that it lessens the film but it does alter the perspective you have and that was a little disconcerting.
The second screening was in the New IMAX where the screen size is substantially bigger and the quality of the sound and projection has been carefully adjusted to perfectly fit the venue. This was the experience I preferred. The movie looks great in both versions, but without the 3D effect, the experience is the way you are usually engaged with the film which is probably more comfortable.
I liked that the sound in the theater allowed me to hear Brody repeating the directions for the knot he is trying to tie while the reel is slowly being taken. Most mixes focus on the clicking of the reel and obscure the off screen sounds as a result. You also can make out more of Quint’s improvised lyrics for 15 Men on a Dead Man’s Chest.
I am still trying to figure out what Ellen was serving at dinner, but the rest of the scene was solid with Sean imitating his father and providing a great emotional arc for Chief Brody. I have literally seen this movie over a hundred times and I still get bits and pieces of new insight each time. This is the first time it dawned on me that Meadows is driving Mayor Larry Vaughn’s car when they track down Brody at the ferry. Why the Mayor gets out of the passenger seat in this scene probably has something to do with framing the scene, but once I realized it, the moment felt strange.
We are going back for a third screening today, just because we can.
I have this film on 4K disc and it looks and sounds amazing, especially in Dolby Atmos. If you have a nice home theater, the disc will look and sound much better than regular movie theater. But I still want to see it on IMAX, you can’t beat seeing a film of this caliber on that giant screen.