Grease Live (2016) 720p

Movie Poster
Grease Live (2016) - Movie Poster
Musical | Romance
Frame Rate:
23.976 (23976/1000) FPS
Run Time:
180 min
IMDB Rating:
7.5 / 10 
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Directors: Alex Rudzinski [Director] ,

Movie Description:
After enjoying a summer romance, high school students Danny and Sandy are unexpectedly reunited when she transfers to Rydell High. There Sandy must contend with cynical Rizzo and the Pink Ladies in attempt to win Danny's heart again.


  • Grease Live (2016) - Movie Scene 1
  • Grease Live (2016) - Movie Scene 2
  • Grease Live (2016) - Movie Scene 1

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Some Great Casting Choices, But Squanders Them In Odd Focus

Since these musical TV productions started to gather steam a couple of years ago, I have watched three of them: "Sound of Music", "Peter Pan", and this one, "Grease Live". While not nearly as dreadful as "Pan", "Grease" doesn't live up to the "Sound of Music" template, either. Unfortunately, it makes some strange decisions (flying in the face of some pretty good casting) and focuses on some add areas that lead mostly to distraction and disappointment.

For a basic plot summary, this is basically the same "Grease" story you've seen on film or in the theater. Danny Zuko (Aaron Tveidt) and Sandy (Julianne Hough) have a summer fling, then find out they are now going to the same high school, a place populated by the stereotypical high school "greasers" and the cliquish "Pink Ladies", led by Rizzo (Vanessa Hudgens) and Frenchy (Carly Rae Jepsen).

To start things off with a compliment, the best thing that this production has going for it is that they perfectly case Hough and Hudgens in their respective roles. Hudgens (a theater/musical vet) is nearly as good as Stockard Channing in the film version, while Hough has the dance moves and voice to back up her sweet demeanor. Jepsen is fun to watch as Frenchy, too.

Also, for the first half hour or so of watching this, I was honestly intrigued and excited about what would come next. Unfortunately, it slowly started to fall apart the longer I watched.

Aside from those two great casting choices and an interesting introduction, there were just too many problems for this production to ever really rope me in (like, say, the movie can):

-Tveidt is not a great Zuko. He's not outright terrible, but he can't bring any of the comedic timing that Travolta could to the role, and doesn't add in anything of his own to fill that void. For a character that is such a large part of the production, this is obviously going to be a problem. -Too many extemporaneous characters that draw the focus away from Rizzo, Sandy, & Frenchy (the real talents of the show). I don't seem to remember there being so many different side-plots in other Grease adaptations I've seen. Hough's Sandy is almost criminally underutilized (again, considering how much more screen time a clearly inferior Zuko gets). -Only the "Summer Lovin'" and maybe Rizzo's solo ever got me excited and invested. Again, for a musical this isn't a good thing.

So, while I really had been excited about this event for quite some time, I came away mostly disappointed. Like I said, it wasn't the utter train wreck that "Pan" turned out to be, but it also only mildly held my interest. Mainly, I felt that the real talents of the production were marginalized to suit a storyline that seemed to meander amongst characters that weren't all that interesting. That, and of course the weakness of a mediocre (at best) Zuko performance, just couldn't get me excited for much longer after the initial "bloom was off the rose" 30 or so minutes in.

Just Watch the Movie SPOILERS

I and everyone else I know has seen Grease a billion times. It's truly a classic in every sense of the word. Remaking it? Daring, gutsy but ultimately unnecessary. I feel to remake something that has been done to perfection is pointless and will only suffer from comparison.

I never saw the stage play of Grease which I'm pretty sure came first? And maybe those who saw the play thought the movie was unnecessary. I myself am more of a film than a theater buff. I never saw Chicago on stage but loved the movie and thought it was fantastic.

I watched about 20-30 minutes of Grease live which was enough. The singing and dancing was great, but in my humble opinion the acting was truly awful. Admittedly this could be because I was unfairly comparing to the magic of Olivia Newton John and John Travolta (not to mention Jeff Conaway RIP, Didi Cahn, Stockard Channing...), but the delivery of the lines was just completely artificial. IT was style with no substance. One of many examples that sticks out like a sort thumb; one of my favorite scenes is when Danny and Sandy are in the drive in and she's questioning his relationship with Cha Cha.She says "I still think you and cha cha used to go together". He replies "no, we didn't go together we just went together" in this very kind of dopey but sincere way. It was so silly to say that we didn't go together we just went together convincingly but he did (even though Sandy knew he was full of it).

There was also the woman who played Marty. She completely overdid it in my opinion. In the movie when Rizzo asked Marty to keep her secret when she thought she might be pregnant and 2 seconds later Marty pushes through the crowed and says "lady with a baby". It was priceless. In the movie this all was lost because of the timing and poor delivery of the line.

There was just something so earnest about the story of Danny and Sandy (and the rest of the cast for that matter) that was completely absent in the live show.

I realize that in a live show they did not have the luxury of numerous takes until they got it right. So maybe this was part of the problem. Huge pressure to get it all in one take. I still felt though that while they had a very talented cast of singers and dancers they needed much better actors.

I had to watch the movie for the billionth and 1 time just to remember yet again the unbelievable appeal of this iconic classic. If you have seen the movie there is absolutely no need to see the live version. It is perfection.

A mixed bag of a live production

Briefly comparing to the 1978 film, which is still hugely enjoyable now, 'Grease Live' is vastly inferior in many ways but is still very much watchable on its own merits.

As far as live TV productions of musicals go, 'Grease Live' is superior to the live TV productions of 'The Sound of Music' and particularly 'Peter Pan' while fell flat, but 'The Wiz' while uneven fares the best.

There are many good things here. Many of the songs are great, some like "Summer Nights", "We Go Together", "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and "Greased Lightning" are classics. The choreography is spirited and energetic, especially at the end and in "Greased Lightning". The 1950s production values are very attractive, the dialogue is mostly witty though with the odd clunker and pacing though with the odd part where it grinds to a halt (especially "Beauty School Dropout") is sprightly.

'Grease Live' also boasts some good performances. Best of the lot is surprisingly Vanessa Hudgens as Rizzo, she brings sass and vulnerability to the character and successfully sheds her "Disney star" image, proving that she is much better than that. She sounds great, with her voice having come on hugely since the 'High School Musical' films with a powerhouse rendition of "There Are Worse Things I Could Do", one of the production's highlights.

Julianne Hough is far superior here than she was in the awful remake of 'Footloose', she is a very charming Sandy and has a lovely tone to her voice, with a sweet "Hopelessly Devoted to You" and doesn't hold back at the end. Jordan Fisher and Carlos PenaVega (apart from getting lost a little in "Greased Lightning" steal scenes, while Ana Gasteyer is good too. Kether Donohue and Elle McLemore prove that you can be funny and camp but also be subtle, and it was great to see Didi Conn and Barry Pearl.

On the other hand, this reviewer had mixed views on Aaron Tveit. He has a great voice, better than John Travolta's perhaps, as could be heard in 2012's 'Les Miserables' where his voice was one of the standout voices, and he is an energetic dancer, but he lacks the cockiness and charisma as Danny instead coming over as wooden and bland. Keke Palmer plays Marty far too broadly and is far too theatrical that it was painful to watch her, while Mario Lopez and particularly Haneefah Wood are supremely irritating. Carly Rae Jepsen's Frenchy sounds under-powered and strained, and she flounders with comic timing and never looks comfortable.

Not all the songs work either. "All I Need is an Angel" and particularly "Beauty School Dropout" are incredibly out of place and completely take one out of the period with too much of a present day vibe. It was nice to hear "Freddy My Love" and "Those Magic Changes" but the former also seems oddly placed, while the title song "Grease is the Word" is so dreary and the lyrics and vocals too often inaudible in a production plagued with problems with sound and balance with a lot of dipping in and out.

All in all, an uneven production and very much a mixed bag. A number of merits but some glaring flaws as well. 5/10 Bethany Cox
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