January 2003
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Hopelessly Devoted to Grease
By Monique M., Fredericton High, Fredericton, NB

One of the best of a musical making era, Grease remains a favorite 25 years after its debut. Grease brings to the screen all the innocence and excitement of the rock 'n roll 50's.

John Travolta and Olivia Newton John star as Danny and Sandy who had a romance during the summer before senior year. We are first introduced to the main characters through a cartoon and the theme of the movie "Grease is the word". Sandy thought she had to return to Australia but turned up at Rydell High on the first day of classes. Rydell had two popular groups "The Pink Ladies" with whom Sandy begins a friendship thanks to Frenchy. And "The T-Birds" leather jacket wearing greasers that Danny is the leader of. Danny acts aloof to Sandy at first in front of his friends but eventually they get back together after many encounters. This does not last and they break up. They still want to be together and their friends try to put them back together.

The costumes, hair and makeup really make this movie believable. All the girls have poodle skirts or capris, and little sweaters. Their hair is all curly and in 50's styles. The makeup and clothes that change good Sandy into bad Sandy makes an amazing transformation. The greasers all have their leather jackets, tight pants and perfectly greased back hair with a cigarette behind their ears. The jocks wear the typical sweats, shorts, and T-shirts. The old T-bird cars and the soda shop make you long to live in that time.

The actors brought their own high school experiences to their parts building obvious chemistry and certainly having a blast. The actors who played Doody, Putzie, and Sonny made up their own 3 stooges act to add into the pep rally scene. The actor who played Kenickie came up with how he would ask Danny to become his second at Thunder Road; their hug wasn't in the script. Kenickie doesn't come straight out and ask Danny to be his second, Danny is touched and they hug quickly, embarrassed, they both turn away and comb their hair. Olivia makes Sandy's virginal innocence obvious but subtly, John is a sweet bad boy and he makes Danny the nice bad boy.

The Directors of the movie spectacularly displayed their talent during the song and dance scenes. These songs advance the story and show the characters emotions. "Summer Lovin" was wonderfully filmed with the girls singing down at the outdoors cafeteria and the guys up on the bleacher, they were singing the same song but couldn't see or hear each other. In "Hopelessly Devoted to You" Sandy sings of love and heartbreak in Frenchy's backyard. As she is singing she sees Danny's face, as he was in the summer, in the water of a kiddy pool. "Greased Lightning" is a spectacular show of gymnastics, dance moves, and great editing. The guys start out in their regular garage clothes working on the old beat-up car. Then Danny starts singing about their dream car and how great it will be and slides under the car when he comes out they are now in different costumes in a white room with a gorgeous souped up red car. "Beauty School Dropout" is another example of good direction. The scene moves from Frenchy sitting in the diner alone to changing with mist and bright rays of light into a stage. The stage is occupied with her guardian angel; Franky Avalon and the Pink Ladies are beauty school angels. The costumes are white sparkly dresses and a suit, and the angels have silver curlers as wigs. Doody, Putzie, and Sonny fly in as angels; this is a very funny ending. The big dance off was impressive with inventive camera angles and the cameras following one couple to another. The excitement and energy were captured with moving cameras, large dances involving the entire cast, suits and dresses from the 50's. There is great direction in the Thunder Road scene. The cars drive sideways and we get to see them from all angles, in front, beside, and behind. The Carnival brings all of the story lines together through fun and excitement. Sandy decided to become a bad girl and Danny became a jock. Sandy's costume and makeup are a complete change. "You're the One I Want" is an exciting conversational song with a pulsing beat and catchy lyrics. The use of the fun house added a good backdrop for the song. "A Wop Bop a Luba" shows how great their friendship is and how they will never forget each other. The whole cast is dancing and singing with the screen filled with excitement as every few seconds your eyes are treated to something new. The car at the end is ironic, as there previously was the line "If this car was any more perfect it would fly."

This movie has something to appeal to every audience young or old. Musical fan or not if you are interested in romance, comedy, friendship or the fifties you will find something to like in Grease.

The Movie: Grease


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