"Grease" stars John Travolta as Danny, a greaser who has a romance over the Summer with Sandy, an Australian girl (Olivia Newton-John). They part at the end of the Summer, thinking that it was just a bit of fun. When the school year starts up, they find that they are at the same school. While that may have been otherwise been a pleasant suprise, good girl Sandy isn't at all pleased with Danny's tough image and vice versa. Much slight drama and even more dancing ensues.
While the actors of "Grease" occasionally look more ridiculous than the twenty-somethings that portray teens in todays features (some of the supporting cast of "Grease" practically look like they're closing in on 40), many of them are genuinely able to overcome this fault thanks to energetic performances. The picture certainly looks and feels dated at this point in time, but the cast certainly gives it their all.
Travolta's portrait of cool reminds why he became a star in the first place, while Olivia Newton-John and Stockard Channing provide solid lead performances, as well. Of course, songs such as "Summer Nights," "Greased Lightning," "Beauty School Drop-out" and, of course, "You're the One that I Want" are as much of a star as any of the cast - while all of the songs are rather cheesy (although that's coming from someone who isn't particularly fond of musicals), there are certainly a few genuinely catchy numbers.
The film's technical credits are fair. While Bill Butler ("Jaws") remains one of the more highly respected cinematographers working, the film's visuals can occasionally appear rather bland. Production design and costume design are solid, while Randal Kleiser ("Blue Lagoon") provides adequate direction. In addition, the 110-minute picture seems as if it could use some trims to pick up the pace. Overall, "Grease" remains a charming but slight effort that's carried along (although sometimes just barely) by the light tone and performances.
VIDEO: "Grease" is offered in 2.35:1 (1080p/AVC) by Paramount on the film's Blu-Ray debut. The picture is improved by more than a few steps over the previous DVD edition. While the picture still certainly looks both its age and budget, sharpness and detail are moderately improved - some scenes do look mildly soft, but the overall impression is a smoother, more detailed image than what has been previously seen on home video.
As for concerns, only a couple of minor instances of edge enhancement were seen, and the print looked mostly clean, with only a few minor specks and marks spotted throughout the running time. Colors look mildly warmer and brighter than on previous home video releases, and colors looked well-saturated.
SOUND: "Grease" is presented here in Dolby TrueHD 5.1. The soundtrack provided a decently enjoyable affair, showing off the songs fairly well, but leaving the remainder of the soundtrack to largely sound its age. The majority of this soundtrack is still mono, but when the music comes in, the soundtrack perks up and opens up a fair amount. Surrounds are still really not put to much use, but do get a bit of work reinforcing the music. The music sounded a tad richer and fuller on the Dolby TrueHD presentation, but differences between the Blu-Ray audio presentation and the DVD's Dolby Digital 5.1 presentation were mild.
EXTRAS: Director Randall Kleiser and choreographer Patricia Birch offer up a new audio commentary for this DVD. It's a little odd that the case doesn't note the fact that there's a new commentary, but it's a good one, as the two really cover all the bases on the film. The track has a minimal amount of silence as the two do a good job at pointing out some fun details and stories behind certain scenes and talk about other issues, such as locations, script changes, choreography, casting and characters. Fans of the track should find it a good time.
Also included here are 11 Deleted/Alternate/Extended Scenes, an optional intro from director Randall Kleiser, "The Time, The Place, The Motion: Remembering Grease" documentary, karaoke sing-along feature, "Grease DVD Launch Party" (footage from the release party of the original DVD edition), "Grease Memories From John and Olivia" (short interviews), "The Moves Behind the Music" featurette, John Travolta and Allan Carr interviews from "Grease Day", "Thunder Roadsters" featurette, Olivia Newton-John and Robert Stigwood "Grease Day" interviews, trailer and photo galleries.
Final Thoughts: "Grease" gets a fine upgrade with this Blu-Ray edition, which boasts improved video quality, somewhat improved audio quality and the extras from the previous "Rockin' Rydell" edition. Recommended for fans.
The Film B