Grease is the word

Rated PG

Grease, the most financially successful musical in film history, was released in 1978. It has aged well, all things considered. There were moments that struck me as goofy when I first saw it (I was 10), and those moments are still goofy today on the DVD.

John Travolta’s charisma-power is also still evident. When Grease was shot, he was riding the Saturday Night Fever wave, and he got the chance to sing as well as dance in this ‘50s tribute. It would be 23 years before another actor, Ewan McGregor of Moulin Rouge, would make such a singing, dancing impression on the big screen.

The film can be a bit childish at times, but most of the musical numbers, including Greased Lightning and Summer Nights, are timeless. Olivia Newton-John, in both her Sandra Dee and Leather Girl modes, remains a delight. Stockard Channing still strikes me as a bit of a weird choice for Rizzo. The DVD looks and sounds great.

My most prevailing memory of this film is my sister slamming the car door on my index finger in the theater parking lot. The second would be Travolta’s big, nasty falsetto blast at the end of Summer Nights. I don’t know if it was good singing, but it sounded cool to me.

SPECIAL FEATURES: You would think one of the more legendary musicals in history would get the big treatment on DVD, but the features are quite unimpressive. There’s a 17-minute documentary containing chopped up interviews with cast members, like Travolta and Newton-John, but little else. There are no commentaries, no big look behind the scenes. Feels like a rush job.

The package comes with a lyrics-only songbook. The sleeve artwork is so-so. The menus are music-free and stagnant, and the trailer is nothing special. Overall, the features are a little disappointing for such a big film.

Movie: B+

Special Features: C+