LowComDom Performances Presents
Film Review - Grease
Disney has done it for decades. George Lucas did it in 1997. I'm talking about the re-releasing of feature films. The Walt Disney Company realized a long time ago that there's a new crop of kids every seven years who haven't seen most of their films. Disney avoided the mistake of selling its film library in the 1950s as most of the major studios did, and moved their better features back into the theater where they belong. The result is Disney has been able to keep films in the box office almost constantly.
For the 20th anniversary of Star Wars, George Lucas found enough negatives to restore the film, and re-release the entire trilogy. For Lucas, the exercise was twofold. First, it allowed him to do some proof-of-concept work in the area of computer-generated graphics and, second, it created enough money to fund the next three films to be released beginning in 1999.
Hollywood loves a success story. It tells the executives at other studios what they should be doing because Hollywood is the great imitator. It sees something that works and Boom! everyone in town will be doing the same thing. Funny, no one paid much attention to Disney all these years, but when George Lucas' Star Wars went back to the No. 1 draw at the box office in 1997, everyone noticed.
It so happened that Paramount Pictures had a big hit in the Summer of 1978. It cost $6 million to make and took in $340 million at the US box office -- in 1978. So it's not terribly surprising to find that Paramount would jump on the re-release bandwagon. Not a bad idea: take a hit from 20 years ago, clean it up and send it back out. Re-releasing is a lot cheaper than making a new film.
Grease is ... well ... bubble gum. There's very little story here. Cardboard cut-out characters, and no sense of a time line. The music is an awful lot of fun, and that's about all that redeems this Broadway musical come to the Silver Screen. Without the music, this movie would seriously blow.
Unfortunately, the restoration of the soundtrack still didn't bring the film up to today's standards in terms of sound quality. It all sounded so mushy, but then my sound design teacher always said, if you didn't get the quality in the original, you weren't getting it back.
What was insanely fun was the audience. People would begin cheering not when a character first came on screen, but at the first note of a song. Grease has become a cult film. That's not entirely a bad thing, and neither is the concept of re-releasing movies 20 years later. Let's see, in 1979 the top-grossing films were Kramer vs. Kramer, The Amityville Horror, Star Trek: The Motion Picture, and Moonraker. Hmmmm, not great candidates. Wait! Apocalypse Now was also
Released in 1979, so maybe we can see that next year.
Directed by Randal Kleiser
Released in 1978
MPAA Rating: PG
Reviewed by Mongo