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John Travolta solidified his position as the most versatile and magnetic screen presence of the decade in this film version of the smash hit play Grease. Recording star Olivia Newton-John made her American film debut as Sandy, Travolta's naive love interest. The impressive supporting cast reads like a "who's who" in this quintessential musical about the fabulous '50s. Grease is not just a nostalgic look at a simpler decade--it's an energetic and exciting musical homage to the age of rock 'n' roll!
For more about Grease and the Grease Blu-ray release, see Grease Blu-ray Review published by Sir Terrence on May 7, 2009 where this Blu-ray release scored 3.5 out of 5.
Starring: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John, Stockard Channing, Jeff Conaway, Barry Pearl, Michael Tucci
Director: Randal Kleiser
» See full cast & crew
Grease Blu-ray Review
"It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's what you do with your dancin shoes"
Reviewed by Sir Terrence, May 7, 2009
Musicals have seen a resurgence on home video lately thanks to the success of Hairspray and Rent. While these two musicals are fairly recent offerings, the way to test the quality of a production is how well it holds up over time. Grease certainly has, as it is as popular today as it was in 1978 when it was released. Grease has seen many incarnations on video over the years. Released on VHS in 1998, it was re-released as a 20th anniversary edition in theaters, and again released to DVD in 2002. In 2006 it was released again on DVD as a definitiveRockin' Rydell Edition, identical to this current Blu-ray release. The question now becomes, is this worth the double dip if I have already purchased the previous DVD? My answer is a resounding yes.
John Travolta was already famous fresh off the release of Saturday Night Fever a year earlier, and the long running sitcom Welcome Back Kotterin production from 1975 to 1979. However his fame rose to higher heights after the release of this film. Olivia Newton John was not well known before this flick, but became very well known after its release. The song Hopelessly Devoted to You was played tirelessly on the radio for years after the release of this film.
There is no doubt in my mind that Grease must be one of the most watched or heard film musicals of all time. It is not a great movie by any means - certainly not at the level of Singing in the Rain, The Sound of Music, or Evita for that matter. It is however a fun easy kind of movie that anyone can enjoy. It does not take itself seriously, but just seeks to entertain us for 110 minutes.
Danny and Sandy are having a summer fling while on vacation. For them, it was love at first sight, and they spent the entire summer hanging out and enjoying romantic evenings together. They know that when summer is over, they would not see each other again. On the first day of school much to Danny's surprise, his summer love is at his school. Sandy is of the better crowd of goody two shoe types, and Danny is concerned about being seen with her. When Danny is around his greaser friends and Sandy approaches him, he is a jerk and pushes her away out of concern for his reputation. She becomes tired of the hot and cold treatment she is getting from Danny, and begins pushing away from him. He must decide what is more important to him; his status within the greasers, or his love for the girl he fell in love with over the summer.
As plain and simple as this plot is, it is much more complex than that. There are a lot of characters the film follows, and each character has their own world that they live in that is pretty different from the others. Grease explores the typical 1950's stereotypical world with leather jackets, gang brawls, greasy hair, street racing, dance competitions, and hanging out at the local diner. It not all fun and games though, as this film also tackles dropping out of high school and teen pregnancy as well. This gives the film legitimacy and depth, and keeps it from being a lightweight teenage coming of age flick. Teenagers grapple with heavy things in high school, and Greaseportrays this teenage angst accurately, but manages to be fun as well. Let's face it, this is a musical, and there are plenty of fun and laughable moments. You feel like you are part of the different cliques in the movie, and the music and dance drives this production strongly. This is really good stuff, and take my advice and give Grease and spin.
Grease Blu-ray, Video Quality
Grease rocks onto the Blu-ray format in a 1080p/AVC framed in a 2:39:1 video window. While certainly better looking than the previously released DVD disc, this Blu-ray release is more revealing of the good and bad of the source material. All the same issues that dogged the DVD, dog this disc as well. The print master is clean; nick and dirt free, but a little scrubbed visually. For a film shot in 1978, grain should be much more apparent. Detail is good, but inconsistent over the course of the film. The added detail over the DVD is readily apparent and the bump in sharpness is also very noticeable. Colors are well saturated, bright and brilliant, but with glossy indistinct hues. Contrast and black levels are admirable, never blooming or crushed. There is some noticeable edge enhancement, but only intermittently throughout the presentation. The picture was soft on occasion, but vacillated between sharp and soft throughout the entire film. This is the best I have seenGreaselook on any video format.
Grease Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Featuring a lossless 5.1 Dolby TrueHD soundtrack, Grease is an audio disappointment for me. This is a front heavy soundtrack with true to its roots 1978 sound. The soundtrack sounds pinched in the midrange and slightly rolled off in the highs. Dialog is always clean and clear, but occasionally had a boxy colored character to it. The surrounds are used sparingly, with only the occasional discrete voice, crowd noise, or effect thrown in. Ambient cues from the music are also present in the surrounds, which gives the music a little more air in the acoustical space. Bass is powerful, balanced and never bloated or obscuring midrange or upper frequency detail. The lateral spread of the front stereo soundstage is excellent, with imaging extending deep into the sound field. Since this is what 70's mixes sound like, I would have to say this disc is about as audibly accurate you are going to hear Grease sound like.
Grease Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
This disc is stuffed with extra's, some worth watching, others not. If you already own the Rockin Rydell Edition on DVD, do not expect anything new on this disc.
Commentary by Director Randal Kleiser and Choreographer Patricia Birch and Introduction by Director Randal Kleiser does a credible job in filling out the 110 minutes with production facts and details.
Rydell Sing along Takes you directly to each of the 11 song numbers featured in the film.
Featurette The time, the place , the motion: Remembering Grease (22 minutes)
11 Deleted/extended/alternate scenes with director introduction.
Grease on DVD launch party (15 minutes) features coverage of the 2002 launch party.
Grease memories from John & Olivia (3 minutes) spotlights interviews at the 2002 DVD launch party
The moves behind the music (8 minutes) focuses on the choreography of the film.
Thunder Roadsters (5 minutes) highlights the cars used in the production
John Travolta & Allan Carr – Grease day interview (2 minutes) is an interview done at the film's premiere.
Olivia Newton-John & Robert Stigwood – Grease day interview (2 minutes) was also done at the film's premiere.
Photo galleries Theatrical trailer(HD)
Grease Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Grease is a timeless staple of cinematic and musical history. Its music is ear catching, foot stomping and much fun to listen to. It is also memorable, as it will have you humming tunes from it for weeks after viewing. You care about the characters, and the pace of the flick is strong and consistent. If you are a fan of Grease, I would suggest a strong buy for the improved picture and sound quality over the DVD. If you are looking for a night and day upgrade from the DVD, this may not be that kind of release. However the improvement is enough to warrant a double dip if you are a real fan of this musical.
Grease: Other Editions
Blu-ray bundles with Grease (1 bundle)
Grease Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Paramount Announces Catalog Titles for May - February 10, 2009
In an early alert to retailers, Paramount Home Entertainment revealed an impressive list of catalog titles they will be bringing to Blu-ray this May. As these are just retailer alerts, no technical specs or special features have been revealed for any of these titles, ...
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