Monday, September 18, 2006
Written by Fantasma el Rey
Grease is the word! So bop with me cats, back to a fictional 1950s filled with “tuff” chicks and cool guys.
The film is an adaptation of the stage play and makes the transition very well. Some songs were cut and others added for the film version but it all comes together. We follow the misadventures of a group of high school friends, the Pink Ladies and the greaser gang the “T” Birds, as they sing and dance their way through their senior year.
The story I’m sure is known to just about the entire world, but here is the “ten peso” version, just for those who might not recall so well. New girl in town Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) is reunited at her new high school with the boy she met over the summer at the beach, Danny (John Travolta). At school, Danny is the co-leader of the comically tuff “T” Birds, and has his rep to maintain, so it takes him awhile to admit his feelings for Sandy. Meanwhile the year goes on and there is a nationally broadcast dance contest, death-defying, Ben Hur-style car race and the year-end carnival to attend. Throughout we get to see these kids interact with each other and grow closer, highlighted by singing, dancing and having a good time.
What sets this DVD version apart from the previous release are the special features that include many short featurettes, deleted scenes, audio commentary by director Randal Kleiser and choreographer Patricia Birch, and a sing-along option. And the fact that this disk comes wrapped in a leather jacket complete with “T” Bird logo on the back.
Some of the featurettes are informative while others are quick interviews with a few cast members, mainly pulled from either the movie’s twenty-year anniversary re-release or the first DVD-release party and gala evening. One entertaining segment is from the DVD release where we get to see the entire cast reunite on stage to perform the song “Summer Nights”. It is very entertaining and fun to see the now-older cast having as much fun as they had back in 1977 when they were filming.
The deleted scenes are straight from the cutting room floor, as they only exist in black and white. Again most of what was cut is insignificant to the outcome of the film and does not provide much more character development, yet they are still fun to see, especially in black and white, which gives it that classic 1950’s delinquent-film vibe.
The audio commentary from director Kleiser and choreographer Birch is at times informative and provides a better understanding of how the film was able to blend the worlds of stage and screen. Birch was involved with the play from the beginning as well as some of the others cast members, such as Jeff Conaway who played Kenickie in the film and Danny on stage. With their aid, you can see how the musical numbers are nearly perfect and how some numbers make the transition from reality to fantasy more smoothly. As you get caught up in the singing and dancing, some of these smooth cuts may be overlooked, then again the trained film eye will catch this sort of thing anyway, but some of us can’t help but getting swept away in the moment.
For the Rydell sing-along there are two options, you can either skip to your favorite song such as “Greased Lighting”, “Hopelessly Devoted To You”, or “You’re The One That I Want” or you can watch the film with this option on to enjoy them all even more. It’s your classic sing-along track set-up with lyrics highlighted in blue for the guys, pink for the gals and yellow for both. This option is cool for the fact that it contains the complete lyrics, including some of he more risqué ones you may have missed or not fully understood.
Grease: Rockin’ Rydell Edition is a very fun watch and the extras are informative and entertaining. The remastered picture is awesome; you can really see where they went back in to touch up a few scenes, not that the flaws were too noticeable back in 1978 when the film was originally released. I myself can’t help but smile and have a good time watching Grease and recalling the time I saw it on the big screen for its twenty-year celebration, with a good friend of mine. Overall that’s what this whole thing is about, friends and the relationships we build with them as they stand by us through the good times and the bad, sadness and smiles for miles, it’s about our friends.
So Grease fans, this is a must, a must or a great gift for a big fan of the film, either way a good time for all. Keep on rockin’, cats and kittens