on October 7, 2006
I won't go into praising the movie. It's already an American Classic and obviously anyone who's contemplating buying this will already love it. I felt guilty about double-dipping but the cute leather jacket was an irresistable gimmick. The following discusses mainly technical aspects of the new disc.
I did a one-to-one comparison with the older disc. The picture has been cleaned up and looks noticeably different, though not necessarily better. The tiny dirt specks and film nicks, few as they were on the first disc, have been almost entirely eliminated. There is less grain. The picture also looks brighter, due to application of higher contrast. This has both positive and negative effects. In the darker scenes; like ONJ's "Hopelessly Devoted to You," the greater contrast (deeper black levels and brighter highlights) makes it appear clearer, and I personally prefer it this way. Some viewers may not like it as the lighting now appears harder and more "artificial". In other places, the greater contrast tends to wipe out detail in the brighter parts of the picture; you can see this at the opening beach sequence, where the scene now appears brighter and clearer but the finer detail in the sandstone rocks have been obliterated in the glare. So pluses and minuses, but overall I liked the new transfer.
The audio too has been remastered. The bass here is noticeably more prominent than on the previous DVD. It has that very satisfying visceral feel to it but there is also swamping of the underlying instrumentation. However I doubt if many people would notice or bother. What reviewers have referred to as an echoey quality on the first remix is still there. It is actually an over exaggerated reverb added to the vocal track. Most of the tracks in Grease have electronic reverb applied but some are more obvious and artifical than others; especially so in the 1998 remix featured here. The most egregious examples would be at the "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee" reprise and Travolta's "Electrifyin'" repeats in "You're The One That I Want." Again I liked the newer, audio remix, mainly for its richer bass extension. Like previous reviewers have said, the 2.0 Stereo featured here is not the original theatrical Stereo mix but a downmix of the later DD 5.1 remix (made in 1998 for its 20th Anniversary re-release). And purists should note that the DD 5.1 remix (1998) is actually messing about with the music itself - there are additional instrumental and vocal overlays not found on the original theatrical soundtrack. (Eg. additional bass drum in second half of "Summer Nights," background vocals in "Hopelessly Devoted to You," and a clap-track in "We Go Together.") Perhaps someday the producers will see fit to release Grease with its original unembellished soundtrack.
The real delight here are the Extras. My favourite is the 15-minute long "25th Anniversary DVD Launch Party." Exerpts from the party concert include full length versions of Olivia Newton John singing "Hopelessly Devoted to You," Olivia and John Travolta singing "You're The One That I Want," and the reassembled cast singing "Summer Nights." All fine performances packed with fun-filled nostalgia. The 11 deleted/extended scenes are all in B&W and last for just 10 minutes. Nothing earth-shattering here but good to have all the same. The Sing-Along was something I appreciated. In the previous DVD, there was no direct access to individual songs. A note about the Sing-Along subtitles. These are multicoloured, animated, karaoke-style, lyrics that accompany the songs and can be activated within the film or in a separate Sing-Along session. It apparently caused problems for some viewers. I tried it out on several DVD players, a Sony, a Pioneer and a Denon, one of which was over 5 years old. The lyrics displayed without any problem. It also worked on a computer DVD-ROM drive (Pioneer), so at least these models apparently work. Only the main feature is anamorphic (enhanced for widescreen TV - 2.35:1 OAR). All the extras are in standard 1.33:1 fullscreen.
"GREASE" is the most successful movie musical ever created. The 1978 film was based on a musical by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey and eventually caught the attention in the early 70's of producer Allan Carr who purchase the rights to adapt the play into a film.
With the popularity of "SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER" in 1977 which help boost the career of John Travolta, producer Robert Stigwood joined Allan Carr to create a film based on this play. Tapping director Randal Kleiser who worked with Travolta in the popular 1976 TV film "The Boy and his Bubble", recruiting "GREASE" musical choreographer Patricia Birch and hiring Director of Photography Bill Butler ("Jaws", "Stripes" and "Rocky II & III", etc.), this team would create a film that would become a musical ingrained into American pop culture.
Despite no respect in supporting the film by the major film studios, "GREASE" would become the second highest grossing film in 1978 behind "Superman" bringing in $96 million in the box office, the "GREASE" soundtrack would achieve #1 status around the world during its release and the film received many award nominations.
VIDEO & AUDIO:
"GREASE" is featured in 1080p High Definition and I will tell you I was blown away by the picture quality.
I've watched this film dozens of times, owned the VHS and both DVD versions and when I started watching the High Definition Blu-ray transfer, I was speechless. The many colors featured in the film were quite vibrant. This film is over 30-years-old and Paramount really did a great service in the transfer and remaster of this film. Closeups, outdoor scenes, you name it, the film looks spectacular!
I compared my 25th Anniversary DVD to this Blu-ray and just the opening sequence alone with the two at the beach, the colors are just absolutely stunning on Blu-ray. I was literally in awe of how beautiful this film looked in High Definition. The DVD video quality just doesn't compare to the Blu-ray disc and I was quite impressed!
As for audio, audio is presented in English 5.1 Dolby TrueHD and also in French 5.1 Dolby Digital and Spanish mono. Since music is a big part of the film, it was important for me to test this Blu-ray out on my system. Where the 1977 film "SATURDAY NIGHT FEVER" was just spectacular for its High Definition audio transfer, I was hoping to have an awesome lossless soundtrack for "GREASE".
Somehow, in the beginning of the film, it seemed as if the audio coming from the center channel was a bit lower than my front speakers. So, dialogue seemed as if it was being overpowered by the music. I've run a variety of tests and I did have to increase my center channel dB a little bit to compensate for the music coming louder but this may be due to my audio setup for my receiver. But everything sounded well throughout the film after the adjustment.
The dialogue was quite clear but the music really came alive and I did notice certain sounds utilizing my subwoofer during the car and music scenes. But overall, the music does sound great and clear via Dolby TrueHD 5.1.
"GREASE" comes with a good number of special features. Included on this Blu-ray disc are:
* Commentary: Commentary by Director Randal Kleiser and choreographer Patricia Birch - This commentary is quite interesting as Kleiser talked more about the film side of "GREASE" while Patricia Birch talked about the choreography part of the film. Both give really good insight of bringing the musical to film, talking about the things they had to accomplish and how Kleiser, Birch and DoP Butler really had to work closely with each other and the talent to make this film successful. You learn about the challenge of filming the National Bandstand segment, the finale during 102 degree weather and how Olivia Newton-John had to have her tight clothing sewn on and more.
* Introduction by Randal Kleiser - A brief :24 second introduction to the special features. Kleiser does several introductions throughout various features.
* Rydell Sing-Along - This segment is for those who want to watch the musical parts from the film and on the bottom of the screen is a karaoke single along.
* Featurette: The Time, The Place, The Motion: Remembering Grease - (22:27) This is the main featurette featuring interviews with the Director, producers, the cast sharing their memories of working on the film, working with John Travolta and more. How Allan Carr and Robert Sigwood made this musical a film and put money into it despite no studio wanting to back it, having to work with a good number of talents, John Travolta talking about why he wanted Olivia Newton-John to play the role, how Jeff Conaway actually played Danny in Broadway and was understudy for several other roles with the exception of Kinickie. And many more interesting tidbits on the making of the film.
* Additional Scenes: Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes with introduction by Randal Kleiser (intro :13 scenes 11:55 - TRT 12:08) - Randal Kleiser explains how footage was recently found in the Paramount vaults. The additional scenes found are in black and white.
* Additional Scenes: 1. T-Birds Harass Eugene - EXT
* Additional Scenes: 2. Classroom Announcements - EXT
* Additional Scenes: 3. Pink Ladies and Sandy at Lunch - EXT
* Additional Scenes: 4. She's too Pure to be Pink - EXT
* Additional Scenes: 5. Intro to Summer Nights - DEL
* Additional Scenes: 6. Rydell Pep Rally - EXT
* Additional Scenes: 7. Kenickie and Danny Outside Frosty's - DEL
* Additional Scenes: 8. The Stroll - EXT
* Additional Scenes: 9. National Bandstand - ALT
* Additional Scenes: 10. At the Dance - ALT/EXT
* Additional Scenes: 11. Thunder Road - DEL
* Grease on DVD Launch Party - (15:13) The cast and crew reunited for this DVD Launch Party back in 2002. Both Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta performed live on stage singing a few of their classic songs that sung with each other.
* Grease Memories from John & Olivia - (3:23) Both talent at the DVD launch party and discussing how it was like working together and their memories of being on the film and their favorite scenes.
* The Moves Behind the Music - (8:14) Interviews with Patricia Birch and the talent as they discuss how they learned the dance moves and how it important it was for Patricia to work with Director of Photography Bill Butler in capturing the choreography for film.
* Thunder Roadsters - (5:21) Interviews with George Barris (King of the Kistomers) and Michael Astamendi (Car Builder/Fabricator) and others in regards to making the cars for "GREASE". How they focused on customizing because parts for the old Chevy's are hard to come by.
* John Travolta and Allan Carr "Grease Day" Interview - (1:47) A quick interview with producer Allan Carr and John Travolta on "Grease Day" and Travolta talking about working with the producers and the talent for the film.
* Olivia Newton-John and Robert Stigwood "Grease Day" Interview - (2:07) An interview about how Olivia Newton-John gotten involved and the popularity of the film and working with John Travolta and more.
* Photo Galleries: The photo gallery consists of the following still photos broken down into several categories such as:
* Rydell High Year Book
* Grease Day
* Theatrical Trailer HD - (2:09) The original theatrical trailer in its original untouched and aged format, grain and scratches included.
"GREASE" is just one of those timeless classics that never gets old with repetitive viewings. But I have to be truthful and say how much I was in awe to see the brilliant camerawork but to see how the choreography and just literally everything look quite smooth on film.
And surprisingly watching this again 30-years-later and as the Director and even producers have said in the featurette, they were able to pull things off today that probably wouldn't happen now. Quite a bit of sexual lingo but overall, the lyrics of the songs to the mannerisms of the characters is what made things look genuine.
It's interesting to read some of the critical reviews from people who did not grow up with the film but are more familiar with today's musicals and drawing comparisons to "High School Musical" and making the comment of how HSM utilized real teenagers for high school life and that "GREASE" utilized 20 to 30-something year olds to play teenagers. I don't think any of us who watched it back then ever thought about the age being an issue for the film. What we saw were popular talent at that time in a movie musical and the film became a success. Even today, I have no reservations of the talents playing their roles. They did a fantastic job!
For me, John Travolta was the hottest star coming off with "Welcome Back, Kotter" and then doing "SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE" in 1977 and Olivia Newton-John was just one of the most beautiful female solo singers at the time. Both had unique chemistry and the film was well-cast that I felt everything just went smoothly on the final cut.
You really have to give a big applause to Allan Carr and Robert Stigwood for taking the chance of bringing a musical to film but making sure its adapted well for the screen. Sure we see musicals now but during that time, there was no studio support. And because the film was enjoyed by audiences, the film is definitely ingrained into America's pop culture.
Also, I was just amazed through the featurettes and learning how the choreography was done. Because there were so many people utilized in the dancing segments, Patricia Birchwood wanted to make things come alive but to alter a talent's own personal dance to make it look right on film. And of course, Bill Butler, to capture what Birchwood wanted on film, the amount of cutting from scene to scene showing opposing points of view on a song like "Summer Nights" to the ending theme, it was indeed "electrifying"!
Overall, this Blu-ray release of "GREASE" is just the definitive version to own. To watch this classic film in High Definition and to see the magnificent picture quality really brings out the vibrant colors of the film, the energy and beauty of the beach sunset to showcasing the life of youth of the late 50's. The DolbyTrueHD 5.1 audio makes the music come alive and last, there are many special features included that will help people remember and celebrate such a wonderful movie musical.
Again, this is the true definitive version of "GREASE" to own! I was just stunned by how magnificent this film looked and how much clearer and alive the music sounded in High Definition. I highly recommend this release!
on September 19, 2006
The movie Grease has appeared on DVD several times. The most current incarnation of Grease on DVD is the "Grease Rockin' Rydell Edition." This edition of Grease is truly for the superfan or the person who hasn't previously purchased the movie on DVD in the past.
Grease is the cult classic that starred Olivia Newton John and John Travolta. Olivia Newton John starred as Sandy. Sandy was a transfer student to Rydell High working to fit in John Travolta stars as Danny. Danny and Sandy had a wonderful summer romance but when Sandy transfers to Rydell their two different worlds collide. The films soundtrack--and dance numbers are classic.
So what makes this version of Grease on DVD different than the version's previously released? The DVD comes in a leather jacket type of keepsake case. This is cute and the box fits snugly inside of the jacket. What really makes this version of Grease on DVD stand out are the bonus features. The film recently celebrated it's 25th Anniversary. The DVD includes memorable scenes from the 25th Anniversary DVD party. Another neat bonus feature is the featurette "Grease Memories" from John and Olivia. There are a ton of bonus features including a Rydell sing-a-long, deleted scenes, a featurette named the moves behind the music and many more.
I recommend Grease-Rockin' Rydell Edition for the super Greast fan. If you already own the film on DVD and only are interested in the movie it's no need to repurchase the movie. If you are planning to purchase Grease on DVD for the first time I would strongly recommend this edition of the film on DVD.
on January 15, 2010
BLU-RAY VERSION IS WORTH BUYING. I DON'T NEED TO TELL YOU ABOUT THE MOVIE, OTHERS ALREADY HAVE. BUT, NOT TOO MANY PEOPLE TELL YOU IF IT IS WORTH UPGRADING FROM YOUR REGULAR DVD TO BLU-RAY. THIS ONE IS WORTH IT. COLORS ARE STUNNING AND SOUNDS GREAT.
on January 2, 2003
My DVD collection is small but very select. Grease was one movie I knew I needed to own. This anniversary edition DVD is great because of the cast interviews AND there is even a little song book included so you can sing along to some of the best music that will bring back the feeling of the 50s and early 60s.
It is a little hard to believe that it's been more than 20 years since it first came out until you look at the actors! Travolta and Newton-John look SO YOUNG! But this movie still gets to me every time I watch it. There are great songs (Greased Lightnin', Summer Nights, You're the One that I Want) and memorable performances (Stockard Channing as Rizzo is a classic!).
The story brings back a time when teens were "boys and girls", not very sophisticated in the ways of the big bad world. It evokes a little bit of the feel of my teen years and those are the clothes (poodle skirts, petticoats, bobby socks and saddle shoes) that I remember. Sure, sexuality simmered just under the surface, but there were more 'Sandra Dees' than there were 'Cha Chas' and the Rebels didn't run the schools and dictate the tastelessness that seems to rule today. Underwear was worn under outerwear and the most anyone saw was a droopy bra strap.
The story is sweet, simple and classical. Boy meets Girl, they fall in love, there is a bumpy patch and then Everyone lives happily ever after. In "Grease" getting to The End is lots of fun! There are songs for every occasion and some of the most energetic and exciting dance sequences in a contemporary movie. John Travolta is wonderful as Danny Zucko and Olivia Newton-John makes a perfect Sandy.
I always have a great time when I see this movie. I bet you will, too.
on March 13, 2015
This review is for the 2002 Widescreen Edition DVD. I like it and the way it is presented here. It comes in a really nice sleek case and when you open it up it has a fold out, plus you get a nice songbook with it that has all the songs from the movie with all the lyrics.
The special features for this edition are decent and the picture looks fairly good for DVD. One day, I will compare with Blu-ray. Until then, I will enjoy Olivia, John and the rest of the gang in this musical smash from 1978, GREASE!
Special Features Included for this Edition ~
Dolby Digital 5.1
English Dolby Surround
French Dolby Surround
English Subtitles, Spanish Subtitles
Original Theatrical Trailer
Retrospective Interviews from several of the cast in the movie
on September 15, 2002
As far as film musicals are concerned, nothing comes close to "Grease" in terms of appealing to a mass audience of all ages, races, and generations. Though set in the fifties, "Grease" remains deeply entrenched in the seventies, as it defined that freewheeling decade's carefree attitude and innocence while drawing inspiration from the Elvis era. Still the top-grossing movie musical of all time, "Grease" works as a coming-of-age film we can all relate to - it sings (great songs from the Broadway classic plus chart-topping classics from the Bee Gees and Olivia Newton-John's longtime collaborator, John Farrar), it dances (Rydel High's Gym Dance), zips ("the chicks'll cream for Greased Lightning") and celebrates youth and friendship.
Twenty five years after its first theatrical release, the movie still feels and sounds fresh even through its nostalgia, thanks to star-making performances from Travolta, Newton-John and Stockard Channing, to its clever wordplay and its irreverent look at high school - when everything and anything is possible. It's a movie that gets better with repeat viewings, as audiences associate seeing it with a singular moment in time. Cameo appearances from golden greats like Frankie Avalon ("Beauty School Dropout"), Sid Ceasar and Edd Byrnes are comic gems.
The now-world-famous cast is hard to beat ... Didi Conn and Stockard Channing are excellent as Frenchy (THE beauty school dud) and Rizzo (the tough girl with a soft spot), while Eve Arden (Our Miss Brooks) gets the supporting role of a lifetime. Dody Goodman as her daffy assistant is a hoot, but the film belongs to the music and the performances of its two principles. Olivia Newton-John is a sublime choice for Sandy. Though requiring re-tooling from the original stage show, her character's Aussie born lass is a perfect combination of girl-next-door sweetness and (later on) I-Am-Woman-hear-me-roar guts. Perhaps no transformation has been so effectively cut in a movie as ONJ's good girl gone wild. Besides setting off fashion trends and the lycra industry, Sandy's evolution reminds today's teens that you can be hip AND nice. That's a testament to the singer-actress' presence in this film and her ongoing legend. Travolta is also sublime as Danny, a mix of cocky swagger and silly-boy charm that's never malicious...just young. His Danny plays both sides of the teen-angst fence, whether telling his version of "Summer Nights" to the boys, or sweetly professing his love for "Sandy" at the drive-in (drive-ins are set for a comeback if this DVD finds itself into everyone's home!) After 25 years and countless viewings, Olivia and Travolta make beautiful music together!
Guaranteed a winner in any home, "Grease" gets better with repeat viewings and remains accessible, fun and genuine. As a backdrop for baby boomers' high school years and our memories of all thats happened since..."Grease" remains the word! Thrilled to have this out on DVD!!!
on June 11, 2004
Grease was director Randal Kleiser's first wide-screen movie project - before that he'd done a lot of TV work. He says in the Making Of feature that when he first looked through the monitor, while shooting this film, and saw that wide movie-type frame versus the narrow TV box he was used to, he knew he'd hit the big time. And he made wonderful use of that wide frame. Especially in the dance numbers like "Summer Nights, "Greased Lightning," and "You're the One That I Want," the action spreads from one side of the screen to the other. Grease is severely lessened when shown on the full-screen instead of being letterboxed. Take it from someone foolish enough to buy the wrong version. A Grease that only gives you two-thirds of the dance numbers is a crippled thing. Go for the wide-screen version and get the full treatment.
on December 29, 2007
While the re-mastered video gets a big thumbs up, the audio couldn't be worse. The ramped up sound fx are tolerable and in some cases an improvement on the original. However, they (sound fx) are too 'in your face'. All audio sounds very compressed. It seems they tried too hard to make sure you noticed the changes. The music tracks are a different monster. They are terrible!!! The original tracks are not simply re-mastered. Many additional audio tracks have beeen added. And badly I must say. The reverb's used are stupid big and overbearing. The many additional layers of instrument tracks tends to bury the lead vocal on some tunes! Surround sound is stupid over-done and exaggerated. You will need to turn up your center channel alot to clearly hear lead vocal parts or better yet, turn off your surround sound and watch in stereo. Even in stereo, this is the worst audio re-mastering i've ever encountered. New instrumentation sounds very generic and electronic and clearly was laid over a complete 2-track recording, sounds a bit like karaoke instruments, not 'in the mix' but on top of it. Like one guy with a pc/sequencer re-did the whole soundtrack. And some songs were changed alot, Olivia's 'Hopelessly Devoted to you' has drums and full instrumentation from the very beginnig, it doesn't 'kick in' on first chorus, like the original. They took a 1970's movie, set place in the 50's, and now has music that sounds like 1990's bad pop. I assume this was an attempt to sound modern. This re-master clearly misses the mark from an audio standpoint. The video is superb and the DVD extras are a nice addition.
on May 13, 2001
When Grease was released, I was only 14. I remember waiting in a line that went around the entire city block. I had to buy my ticket two days in advance just to see the movie everyone was talking about. The songs were great and the movie seemed as if it were written for the two stars. Travolta never looked better and Olivia was truly America's #1 hottie. I'd never heard so much whistling, shouts and moans as I did when the movies climax had Olivia come out in that black outfit. Everyones mouth dropped open, including mine. Like myself, people left the theatre singing and dancing and they're still doing it today. The re-release of the movie 20 years later into theatres shot to number 2, just behind the mega hit Titanic. This proves it's a timeless hit.