Grease: 40th Anniversary Edition - 4K Blu-ray Review

Discussion in 'Blu-ray / Media Reviews' started by Michael Scott, Apr 13, 2018.

  1. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    Grease: 40th Anniversary Edition


    [​IMG]
    Movie: :4.5stars:
    4K Video: :4.5stars:
    Video: :4stars:
    Audio: :4stars:
    Extras: :4.5stars:
    Final Score: :4.5stars:



    [​IMG] Movie

    I’ve always been a giant fan of musicals dating back to as young as I can possibly remember. I grew up with parents who birthed me MUCH later in life than all of my peers, so I was inundated with Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Gene Kelley, and countless other varieties of musical themed film actors, so watching Grease growing up was about as natural as breathing air. This week has been a great week for me, as we got The Greatest Showman, Basmati Blues and now one of the most influential musicals of the last 50 years coming to home video. Needless to say, the 2009 version of Grease has been in my collection since it was released, but I was more than eager to check out this new 40th anniversary edition. Especially when Paramount was bragging about how it was getting a new restoration, complete with cleaning up the elements and re touching up the color timing (which have always been a bit wonky in my opinion). What we have is a great special edition comprised of a fantastic new encode, better audio, AND a bevy of new extras to fill out the package.

    I don’t know of a person alive who hasn’t seen Grease, so I really don’t have to go into the story TOO much. The film opens up with young Danny (John Travolta) and Sandy (Olivia Newton-John) having a beach side romance that is destined to end, but we all know it’s not. Fast forward a few months to the start of school, and Sandy is starting up school at Rydell High for the first time. Unbeknownst to her, this is the same school where her summer fling, Danny, is king of the roost. The only thing is, suffer flings don’t always translate into yearly romances and Danny has a bit of a secret to hide. You see, he’s the toughest, baddest, most 1950s hair greased young cock of the block, and he’s got a reputation to uphold. The fact that he’s actually FALLEN for Sandy has to be hidden away, and out comes the false bravado and machismo that makes him king of the T-birds (a local leather wearing, James Dean modeling high schoolers. Basically a gang without the death, destruction, and prison time).

    Sandy is disillusioned with the machismo of the tough guy, but Danny isn’t about to give up that easily. While still trying to be his normal “cock of the walk” persona, he sets out to woo his summer girlfriend back, but not without obstacles. Sandy has fallen in with the pink ladies (the female opposite of the T-Birds), and she’s now got her own friends. A phenomenon that doesn’t slow down the voracious Danny one bit, but he has to come to grips with the fact that he can’t be loyal to the hair grease loving T-birds if he wants to be true to his heart.
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    It goes without saying that Grease is one of the most well loved musicals of all time. John Travolta was just coming down off of the darker dance films, Saturday Night Fever a year before (as well as the TV show Welcome Back Kotter a few years back), and he was on top of the world. Saturday Night Fever was his meal ticket, and now he had the chance to play fast and loose with his film choices. Instead of choosing another deeply dramatic film, he decided to go for the much more light and fluffy Grease, and systematically cemented himself as the face of a new generation. Olivia Newton-John was a nobody at that point, but after Grease she became as much of a pop culture icon as Travolta was!

    As simple as the basic plot sounds, it really is much more complex. Each of the sexes have their own group of friends, and the film follows their plot points almost as intimately as our leads. Rizo is the tough girl who gets herself knocked up and involved with one of the T-birds, Frenchie, the ditsy girl who wants to drop out of school and become a beautician, and Kenickie (Jeff Conaway) who’s trying to become the man everyone thinks he is. But at it’s CORE, Grease is a film about appearances. Overcoming the outward appearance that people try to mask their life with, and comign to grips with the inner person that lies underneath that mask. It’s goofy, sweet, dorky, and completely singable from beginning to end (“Summer Nights” is one of the most catchy tunes in musical history), and completely iconic to the core.




    Rating:

    Rated PG for thematic elements including a brawl




    4K Video: :4.5stars: Video: :4stars:
    [​IMG]
    Grease was given a brand new restoration from Paramount, with a myriad of boasted enhancements, including digital restoration, color timing to the original negative, and the use of HDR color adjustments that are a noticeable improvement from the past. The 4K UHD release brings forth a hefty improvement over the 1080p Blu-ray included in the set (which uses the same restoration that the 4K UHD got, which is a change from the 2009 Blu-ray). Colors are brighter and warmer, and the color timing has definitely been tweaked. Facial tones are more natural, while the overly bright whites of the older master are gone. I’ve seen it bandied about that Grease was given a heavy blue filter (which were backed up in screenshots), but the folks over at Paramount have stated that the white levels we saw on the older masters weren’t correct, and that this new, slightly bluer, tinge is much closer to the original. Personally, I’ve seen the screenshots that claim a heavy blue tint, but in motion it’s not NEARLY so blue. Textures are much better throoughout the film, and 4K disc shows more prominently the grain structure, which gives it a much more organic look. Blacks are deep and inky, with a modicum of crush, and while not EVERY scene is a jaw dropping improvement, this 4K UHD release is definitely a step up from both the 2009 Blu-ray and the new remastered Blu-ray found in this combo pack.






    Audio: :4stars:
    [​IMG]Paramount has not changed the Dolby TrueHD 5.1 configuration for
    Grease, but they have supposedly gone back and tinkered with the track for the new 4K UHD and Blu-ray 40th anniversary edition that is being released now. The track is decidedly front heavy for the most park (most 70s movies are really), and the dialog is the main method of transportation for this 5.1 track. However, the copious song and dance numbers really do have some good sound presence, with a peppy use of the surround channels and some nice use of the two mains. LFE is clean and clear, but never wildly powerful or aggressive when comparing against modern day sound tracks. The big American Bandstand track in the center of the film adds some spaciousness to it, and the musical accompaniment is crystal clear. The track isn’t WILDLY immersive for a musical, but it is a well balanced track that does well on Blu-ray, and a nice upgrade over the anemic 2009 release








    Extras: :4.5stars:
    [​IMG]
    Brand new restoration of the film
    Grease: A Chicago Story
    Alternate Animated Main Titles
    Alternate Ending
    • Audio Commentary by director Randal Kleiser and choreographer Patricia Birch
    • Introduction by Randal Kleiser
    • Rydell Sing-Along
    • The Time, The Place, The Motion: Remembering Grease
    • Deleted/Extended/Alternate Scenes with Introduction by Randal Kleiser
    • Grease Reunion 2002 – DVD Launch Party
    • Grease Memories from John & Olivia
    • The Moves Behind the Music
    • Thunder Roadsters
    • John Travolta and Allan Carr "Grease Day" interview
    • Olivia Newton-John and Robert Stigwood "Grease Day" interview
    • Photo Galleries
    .









    Final Score: :4.5stars:


    Grease has always been a classic film, and will remain that way even 40 years after it was initially released. You can't help but sing along to the music, while Olivia Newton-John and John Travolta dance their way over the stage in their 1950s poodle skirts and leather jackets. Paramount has given us a very nice 4K UHD disc with remastered video and tweaked audio to enjoy, and it's definitely worth upgrading if you already have the older Blu-ray. The technical specs also include a host of new extras, as well as all the extras from the Rocking Rydell edition a few years back AND some snazzy new cover art. Definitely worth grabbing if you can.



    Technical Specifications:

    Starring: Olivia Newton-John, John Travolta, Stockard Channing
    Directed by: Randal Kleiser
    Written by: Jim Jacobs (Original Musical), Warren Casey (Original Musical), Bronte Woodward, Allan Carr
    Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 HEVC
    Audio: English: Dolby TrueHD 5.1, French, German, Portuguese, Italian, Spanish DD 5.1, Japanese DD 2.0, Spanish DD Mono
    Subtitles: English, English SDH, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Spanish, Cantonese, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Korean, Mandarin (Simplified), Mandarin (Traditional), Norwegian, Swedish, Thai, Turkish
    Studio: Paramount
    Rated: PG
    Runtime: 110 minutes
    Blu-Ray Release Date: April 24th, 2018






    Recommendation: Highly Recommended

     
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  2. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the review. I also enjoyed this movie. Will have to revisit this one.
     
  3. Todd Anderson

    Todd Anderson News Editor / Reviewer/ Senior Admin
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    Great review Mike.

    Looks like they pulled out all the stops on this one! I find it super interesting it was originally released 2.40:1... weren’t most films from that era 1.85:1?
     
  4. Michael Scott

    Michael Scott Moderator / Reviewer
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    there's quite a few 2.39:1 framed films from back then.

    and just on a side note. Grease 2 will be released on the same day, but ONLY in the Grease Collection, which has Grease, Grease 2, and Grease Live! (the live play) ..
     
  5. tripplej

    tripplej AV Enthusiast

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    Grease 2 and Grease and Grease Live.. Wow, that is a lot of Grease! lol. ;)
     
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