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Senior Shackster
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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I purchased the "Grease" blu ray disc at Walmart yesterday for $20 which is a good price
to help establish this format to consumers. There were still other titles above $30

The movie looks and sounds like the last standard DVD anamorphically enhanced release
not too long ago. Which is to say it's colorful and the style of photography tries to simulate
the "Technicolor" look of movies in the fifties. However, even with the extra pixel count I
was surprised that there wasn't as dramatic a difference in the sharpness or grain structure
as I was anticipating. I'm only guessing here but it doesn't look as if the high definition
master was derived from the original 1978 35mm camera negative. It appears to have been
taken from the 1998 re-issue 35mm duplicate negative. The original negative had faded and was somewhat scratchy by the time of the re-issue twenty years later so they restored it with the technology available at the time which was to make a wet gate fine grain color interpositive and then duplicate negative. The wet gate filled in most of the scratches but was a generation away. This blu ray looks like it was taken from a later generation negative as a result. It lacks the 'snap' and fine grain quality of movies mastered directly from the original camera negative. This will be more apparent if you project it on a DLP than watch it on a large monitor. If this is true it was probably a cost savings issue. Since the film was color corrected for the re-issue, they didn't want to start from scratch and scan in the original negative which would be considerably more faded 31 years later and incur the costs of restoring it with the newest digital technology. I did notice the out of focus shots in
some songs ("Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "There are Worse Things I Could Do") were more obvious with the extra
pixel count.

So, the blu ray looks good but not great. The mix is the same re-issue version which contains a lot more echo in the surrounds than what they exhibited back in 1978. I found it a bit distracting but others might find it acceptable.

The musical was very popular on it's original release and is still a lot of fun in terms of the songs and choreography. It's a toned down PG version of the Broadway play with the exception of "Greased Lightning" which is the only number that retained the raunchy lyrics. So raunchy that it seems out of place with the rest of the movie which is pretty tame. The story remains ludicrous so the songs are what carry the narrative. While it examines the 'role playing' that teenagers engage in it doesn't do anything with the theme. At the end Sandy implausibly becomes a tramp and Danny a jock but there is no sense of irony in their transitions nor does it change their relationship. The only drama is whether Rizzo is pregnant or not and even that is tossed aside with the line, "false alarm", so none of the issues or attitudes that are explored amount to anything. The greasers in the film are not 'rebels without a cause' but 'rebels without a clue'. They are harmless and goofy rather than alienated and dangerous as in the James Dean movie that this picture attempts to emulate.
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