Reviewed by: Lynne Dyer
Starring: John Travolta, Olivia Newton-John | Director: Randal Kleiser | Released by: Paramount Pictures
Thanks to memorable music, hot dancing, and nostalgic costumes, “Grease”, originally released in 1978, still holds the record for the biggest grossing musical film in history. Now digitally re-mastered and released to the big screen again, this film may quickly top its own records.
The movie begins with Danny Zuko (John Travolta) and Sandy Ollson (Olivia Newton-John) saying goodbye as a “perfect” summer romance ends. The plot develops as Sandy unexpectedly enrolls as a new student at Danny’s high school. Instead of the romantic Danny she met at the beach, Sandy finds a tough-talking member of the greaser gang “The T-Birds.” Sandy, a sweet innocent Sandra Dee-type, cannot believe Danny is the same person she met over the summer.
The film progresses through the school year with song, dance, and dialogue. The T-Birds and Pink Ladies enjoy normal teenage activities like building hotrods and dancing. On a more serious side (though still set to music) they also face such decisions as dropping out of high school to get a job and the possibility of an unwanted pregnancy. Through it all, Danny and Sandy must discover how a relationship can work between two seemingly opposite personalities. The anticipated happy ending is achieved by an unexpected plot twist.
On the surface this film seems like lots of fun. We leave the theater singing (and maybe dancing the “Hand Jive”). However, hidden behind great music, we find a film that it is not exactly family viewing. We are subjected to none of the usual nudity (with the exception of a one-second mooning shot) or violence, and only mild profanity, yet the messages which oppose Christian values are clear. The film, aimed at teenagers, glorifies premarital sex, underage drinking and smoking. For this Christian generation, “Grease” may not be the word, because its values are in direct contrast to The Word.