I remember seeing 'Grease' for the first time when I was eleven. I thought it was wonderful. The setting seemed nostalgic and flashy. The songs seemed tuneful and easy to dance and sing along to. I dubbed 'Grease' my favourite musical of all time. It held that title for a long time. Now, as a young adult, I can see "Grease" from a different prospective and I have to admit my feelings are more negative than I ever thought they would be.
Oh god! What's happening? A gay icon is following me!
The film takes place in Venice High School in Venice, California during the fifties. The main story is about a romance between a girl named Sandy (Olivia Newton John) and a guy from the wrong side of the tracks named Danny (John Travolta). Danny is the good-looking leader of the popular group in school. Sandy, a newcomer to the school, has joined a popular clique, the Pink Ladies. The romance between Sandy and Danny is rocky, as Danny's friends and even some of Sandy's friends don't think she's right for Danny as she is too sweet for him.
However Danny isn't an appealing protagonist. He is arrogant, cruel to others and selfish. Frankly, I couldn't understand him as he was an annoying prat who was in desperate need of therapy. Sandy was a charming heroine and I could empathize with her when she was in pain, unlike most of the cast. Yet even she had problems. She sleazes up her image in order to please everybody. I'm not a person who wants every film I see to have a clean-cut moral at the end, but what is 'Grease' saying? To get friends, you mustn't be yourself? That ending just annoyed me.
But there were nice touches to the film. I thought that the musical numbers were well staged. They weren't the best I've ever seen on film, but they were good, even if a bit clichéd (how many of us don't know the dance to Greased Lightning?). The character of Frenchy was a lovely one, about the only truly nice character in the movie and there were a few moments of comedy.
But despite this, I wasn't really won over. It had some nice touches, but seeing 'Grease' today, the film doesn't strike a good chord with me.