The Deep appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.35:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. While something of a mixed bag, the transfer usually satisfied.
Sharpness was good. On occasion, I saw a little softness in some wider shots, and even a few tighter images came across as a wee bit ill-defined. However, those instances manifested themselves infrequently, as the majority of the flick displayed nice clarity and delineation. I noticed no issues with jagged edges or shimmering, and the movie lacked edge enhancement. Source flaws were also a non-factor. I witnessed a couple of small specks, and grain could be heavier than expected at times, but neither issue bothered me.
Colors looked pretty nice. The tropical setting allowed for a broad array of hues, and the film brought them to life in a positive manner. Blacks tended to be reasonably dark and dense, but shadows were less consistent. Some of the problems related to the use of “day for night” photography; as usual, those shots tended to be rather opaque. Even so, some other low-light images looked a tad too thick. Nonetheless, I found a lot to like here and thought the transfer deserved a “B”.
While also a bit inconsistent, the Dolby Digital TrueHD 5.1 soundtrack of The Deep seemed quite good for its age. My only complaint related to the quality of some effects. On occasion, the foley worked sounded somewhat distant and artificial. That wasn’t a consistent complaint, but it created some mild distractions.
Otherwise, the quality of the audio was positive. A few lines seemed somewhat stiff, but most of the dialogue came across as acceptably natural. The majority of the effects displayed nice accuracy and depth; other than the handful of artificial-sounding bits, those elements were pretty full and robust for their age. Best of all, John Barry’s score offered terrific clarity. The music consistently sounded warm and rich; that was easily the strongest aspect of the track.
I also thought the soundfield was pretty involving, especially for a track from 1977. The mix opened up matters well. Some localized speech appeared, and those bits occasionally could be a little dodgy; at times, the lines weren’t especially well located. Nonetheless, most came from the appropriate spots.
Music continued to excel, as the score boasted well above-average stereo imaging. Effects also broadened the horizon in a satisfying manner. In particular, dive sequences added a lot of zip to the experience. Those scenes used the five speakers in a manner that engulfed us in the watery domain. All in all, the soundtrack worked very well.
Only a few extras round out the set. An archival TV special from 1977, The Making of The Deep runs 48 minutes, 40 seconds. Hosted by Robert Shaw, we also find comments from writer Peter Benchley, director Peter Yates, producer Peter Guber, underwater directors Stan Waterman and Al Giddings, and actors Nick Nolte, Lou Gossett and Jacqueline Bisset. The program covers locations and shooting at sea, the novel’s origins and some story issues, filming the diving and aquatic life scenes, and some effects.
Since “Making” aired on CBS in an attempt to sell movie tickets, it comes as no surprise that it comes with a promotional tone. Still, we get a lot of good shots from the set, and we learn a reasonable amount about the shoot. It’s not a great piece, but it’s worth a look.
Six Selected Scenes from the 3-Hour Special Edition fill a total of 21 minutes, 29 seconds. We find “Prologue: The Goliath Sinks” (3:08), “Romer Treece’s Disposition” (1:06), “Treece and David Harassed by Cloche’s Goons” (2:12), “Pillow Talk” (6:22), “Extended Conversation between Cloche and Treece” (3:22) and “Treece’s Past Revealed” (5:19). As indicated by the title of this collection, these sequences first appeared as part of an extended cut of the flick that aired on TV.
Should any of them have been in the theatrical version? Probably not, as the 124-minute edition is slow and dull enough as it is. The “Prologue” is moderately interesting to see, but the movie doesn’t need it, and it probably telegraphs story information too much.
Some of the other clips include a bit more character info, but don’t expect this to add up to much. The participants remain pretty thin and forgettable. While I don’t think much of these cut scenes, I’m sure fans will be happy to see them, though it’s a disappointment that the Blu-ray didn’t provide all of the footage added to the three-hour version.
A bunch of ads appear under Previews. These include promos for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Dr. Strangelove, Secret Window, The Dark Crystal, The Da Vinci Code, and Rocky Balboa. No trailer for The Deep pops up here.
Although The Deep shares a lot of connections to Jaws, it doesn’t remotely compare to the high quality of that cinematic masterpiece. Instead of action, drama and interesting characters, The Deep provides a dull experience that seems more suited to TV movie territory. The Blu-ray provides good picture and audio as well as a few moderately interesting supplements. This is a quality Blu-ray for a mediocre movie.