Grease still is the word. Well, I certainly got chills after this first time watch, pretty sure they were multiplying. Oh, and I most definitely was losing control. Mostly because of the power this musical was supplying. Gosh darn it, t'was electrifying!..."You better shape up. Do-do-doooo"! Alright alright, I'll stop there. Cited as one of the most popular musicals of all time, and my mother's favourite sing-song marathon, I had to give it a watch. Remember, me no likey musicals...much. Surprisingly, the unapologetic good time vibes this film holds is just something else. I couldn't help but tap my feet and do my best Newton-John impression whilst dancing like Travolta. Greaser Danny Zuko and Aussie darlin' Sandy Olsson fell in love one summer at a beach. The season ends and school starts, only to find that Zuko has to uphold a "cool guy" image to which Sandy dislikes.
Cue "Hopelessly Devoted to You"! Or was it "Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee"? Hang on, I've got it. Bring on "Summer Nights". Aside from the three big showstoppers that everyone and their dog still sing today, the majority of songs escaped my life. Yet, just after one viewing, I can pretty much recite them all. Heck, even the fantastically surreal "Beauty School Dropout". It's a testament to the original musical's songs and the stunning vocals of Newton-John and Travolta. "Harmoniously Devoted to Getting No. 1s" more like. Kleiser presents them with a barrage of colour, flamboyancy and well orchestrated dance routines to get the audience jiving and kicking. The frequency to which these performances are embedded into the narrative were well paced, despite the slower and less memorable second act.
What really tickled my "Greased Lightnin" (you can have that one!) was 70s Hollywood interpreting a 50s high school musical. Not uncommon at the time, but its style and energetic approach gives it a sense of timelessness and infectious aura. The costumes, the Elvis Presley swagger and the constant combing of the greased back hair. Definitely had a "Whole Lotta Shakin' Goin' On"! Travolta consistently dominated the screen. Even when the angelic Newton-John was sharing the screen, who's acting was mediocre at best, he would simply move his hips and put everyone in a trance. Undeniable star power. The acting in general was fairly sporadic, with no real standouts in either the T-Bird or Pink Lady gangs.
But my biggest complaint is with Sandy's character. For someone like Danny to treat her so poorly when in front of everyone, just to maintain a public image that actually comes across as egotistical, only for her to then change herself to try and win him over. It felt wrong. I wasn't entirely invested in these two as love birds because of how negligently they were written. Change yourself to win the other person over? No. I don't buy it. It may have been passable back in the 70s but doesn't sit right with me today.
So aside from them two as characters, Grease was a blast. The soundtrack reigning supreme with a multitude of excitingly choreographed scenes to accompany them, allows many of the technical flaws to be forgiven. It's a fun, rock n' rolling time that it "happened so fast". Last one, I promise...