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84 of 91 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Blu-ray: "GREASE" looks absolutely gorgeous in High Definition! Highly recommended!, May 6, 2009
This review is from: Grease (Rockin' Rydell Edition) (DVD)
"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.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

"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
* Production
* Premiere
* Grease Day
* Theatrical Trailer HD - (2:09) The original theatrical trailer in its original untouched and aged format, grain and scratches included.

JUDGMENT CALL:

"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!
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Comments

Tracked by 2 customers

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Showing 1-4 of 4 posts in this discussion
Initial post: May 6, 2009 10:50:37 AM PDT
J. StJohn says:
every movie I watch, the music overpowers the talking. What can I do to fix it?

Posted on Feb 2, 2011 9:25:31 AM PST
T. Lewis says:
Excellent review!!!! Well done!!!! This is one of my favorite movies of all time. I used to know each line of this movie and sang along with every song. I loved Sandy just as much as Danny. I remember it was my dearest uncle who took me, my sister and my cousins to see this movie. It is one of my greatest childhood memories. This movie still makes me sing and dance although I am way too old. I have three versions of this DVD but not the blu ray. Thanks to your review I'm getting it. GREASE IS THE WORD!!!!

Posted on Dec 6, 2011 6:52:12 PM PST
Hi, im looking to purchase this movie for my aunt, she lent her old copy.....and you already know how that goes. I have a question if you can help me. Whet is the difference (of actual video content) between the dvd with the leather jacket and the one with the Pink ladies jacket....theres a huge difference in price =/

Thanks in Advance,
Corky

Posted on Oct 8, 2013 2:27:30 AM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 8, 2013 2:36:00 AM PDT
William says:
I think you have been misinformed. Paramount did no clean up whatsoever for the Blu ray release of Grease. All they did was convert/upscale the DVD to 1080p then transfer it to Blu Ray disc. A process many companies use to get titles out on Blu Ray quickly. It saves them having to do any restoration for Blu ray. Therefore, anyone who has the DVD of Grease can simply insert the DVD into their Blu ray player and watch. Note: the Blu Ray player must have the 1080p 'Upscaling' feature to do this. Most models do.

When buying Blu Ray Discs always research them before you buy, or look carefully on the back for the symbol '1080 upscale'. This means all they have done is upscale the DVD print. Unfortunately, some film companies refuse to mention this, because they want your money all over again.

The website Bluray.com is a good source to see if a title has undergone restoration for Blu ray release. As a consumer, it would be nice to think that restoration forms an important part of blu ray releases for older titles, but it doesn't. A shame since the concept of Blu ray is about giving the very best picture!
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