Grease 4K Ultra HD

Featured In Issue 227, May 2018

WSR Score5
Basic Information on new release titles is posted as soon as titles are announced. Once reviewed, additional data is added to the database.
Paramount Home Entertainment
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Single Side, Dual Layer (BD-66)
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Randal Kleiser
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Dolby Atmos, Dolby TrueHD 5.1
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"Grease" celebrates the smash hit play by Jim Jacobs and Warren Casey. Olivia Newton-John made her American film debut as Sandra Dee, the naive new student at Rydell High School. She spent a wonderful summer in love with Danny (Travolta), but the end of summer ended their relationship—so they thought. Centered on the on-again, off-again relationship between Danny and Sandy, "Grease" is a perennial musical about a group of friends enjoying their senior year at Rydell High. While attending pep rallies, sporting events, dances, and classes, the T-Birds and Pink Ladies personify the "too cool for school" attitude as they live to spend their time hanging out at slumber parties, driving in drag races, and going to the drive-in theatre. Their good times are reflected in the classic songs "Summer Nights," "You're The One That I Want" and "Greased Lightning," from the original musical. Featuring the Academy Award®-nominated song "Hopelessly Devoted To You" and appearances by Sid Caesar, Frankie Avalon, Eve Arden, Joan Blondell, and others. (Gary Reber)

Special features include commentary by Director Randal Kleiser and Choreographer Patricia Birch, an introduction by Kleiser, a Rydell Sing-Along, the featurettes "The Time, The Place, The Motion: Remembering Grease" (SD 22:27) and "Grease: A Chicago Story" (HD 24:30), alternate animated main titles (SD 03:44), an alternate ending (SD 0:45), 11 deleted/extended/alternate scenes in black & white with introduction by Kleiser (SD 10:16), a look at the "Grease On DVD Launch Party" (SD 15:13), "Grease Memories From John & Olivia" (SD 03:25), a featurette on "The Moves Behind The Music" (SD 08:14), a "Thunder Roadsters" featurette (SD 05:23), a "Grease Day" interview with John Travolta and Allan Carr (SD 01:47), a "Grease Day" interview with Olivia Newton-John and Robert Stigwood (SD 02:07), four photo galleries, the theatrical trailer, and an UltraViolet digital copy.

The 2.35:1 2160p HEVC/H.265 Ultra HD HDR10 picture, reviewed on a Sony Bravia Z9D 4K Ultra HD HDR display, was photographed on 35 mm Eastman film stock using Panavision PSR R-200 and Panaflex cameras and sourced from a 4K master Digital Intermediate format. Director Randal Kleiser supervised the scanning of the original negative, receiving extensive clean up and color correction using previously unavailable digital restoration tools such as high dynamic range (HDR) technology. While photographed on film, grain is virtually absent. Previously reviewed as a LaserDisc, a DVD, and a Blu-ray Disc, this restored and 4K remaster is absolutely stunning and vibrant, with a strongly saturated color palette, which has obviously benefited from the wide color gamut (WCG) rendering. Colors pop throughout with vivid reds and other primaries. Throughout fleshtones are natural and at times pushed into a pinkish zone. HDR contrast is excellent with deep, solid blacks, good shadow delineation, and bright highlights designed into the bright production design. In past editions shadow delineation suffered, with little visual information in the darker scenes.This has dramatically been improved, though, still not outstanding. Images are generally sharp with nicely rendered detail, but some scenes can be quite soft. In this respect, fine detail is there and then not. Still, this is a dramatically outstanding restoration, which is apparent throughout. WOW! scenes are 00:55:46 to 00:59:48, 01:08:16 to 01:17:27, and 01:41:34 to 01:44:54. Fans of the musical classic will be thrilled with the bright, color picture quality. (Gary Reber)

The Dolby Atmos/Dolby TrueHD 7.1-channel soundtrack was enhanced from the original 70 mm release. The striking difference from previous releases is the outstanding clarity heard in the dialogue and the musical numbers. There is a nicely engulfing presence across the screen, with surround envelopment to provide adequate satisfaction in terms of spatial engagement. The repurposing of the audio still seems somewhat conservative, in that much of the audio is centered around the original mono production, but fidelity has been significantly improved and audible distortion is absent throughout. The music has a nice low-end presence that is well balanced, never sounding unnatural. The .1 LFE provides complementary support but is never overpowering. The music aggressively extends to the four surrounds and really energizes the soundfield with spatial dimension.The dance contest scene is terrific with great dynamics and drummer-driven rock.

The Immersive Sound element is primarily the extension of the music, with muted primary vocals. This effectively, along with the aggressive musical surround envelopment at ear level, creates an exciting enveloping spherical surround experience. Of course, it all collapses when there is no music. In one scene on the football field, Sid Caesar's voice is reverberantly extended. Being a musical, the music extension works really well.

This is a refreshing new release edition to a classic film and represents the definitive reference. (Gary Reber)