A wimpy remake of an already anemic movie (the 1947 Rita Hayworth vehicle Down to Earth), this glitzy musical from 1980 improbably stars Olivia Newton-John as a heavenly muse sent here to help open a roller-derby disco. Ge... more »ne Kelly is mixed up in this well-meaning but goofy effort to fuse nostalgia with late-'70s glitter-ball trendiness, and he looks just plain silly. Directed by Robert Greenwald, the film doesn't even work as decent kitsch. --Tom Keogh« less
Jennifer D. (jennicat) from ST AUGUSTINE, FL Reviewed on 12/30/2014...
This movie is awesome!
Let Me Give You Kiddies a Little History Lesson
Mount_Olympus | above the delicatessan | 11/04/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"All the people that say the plot makes no sense, and they didn't know what was going on, need to read this review. To truly enjoy this movie, you have to be educated on black and white musicals, poetry, and greek mythology.
First of all I will explain the origins of the word "Xanadu".
In 1797 there was a poet named Samuel Coleridge who lived by himself. He was asleep, after taking a dose of Opium and washing it down with alcohol. In his dreams appeared a beautiful woman, (he later called her a muse) reciting a beautiful poem. Alas, a knock at the door from a friend broke him out of his dream, and he rushed to his table to write down what he could remember. The result was a poem titled "Kubla Khan"
In the poem, there is a heavenly place called XANADU, where there is eternal love and happiness. The word has sense been adopted to mean "heaven".
The movie is based on this poem. When Kira appears to a bewildered Gene Kelly, and tells him to call his new club XANADU, and together they recite the first lines of the poem KUBLA KHAN.
Now the reason Gene Kelly is in this film is because Kira has appeared in his life in the 1940's. She returns to help him out again, to inspire his dying ambitions, by inspiring him to open another music club. However he will need someone young and hip to help him out. So Kira also inspires Sonny Malone to quit his bland painting job and use his talents towards his dream. Therefore Kira brings the 2 men together.
Xanadu is a remake of a film titled "Down To Earth" starring Rita Hayworth. Rita also appears as a muse to inspire people to follow their dreams.
Gene kelly's character "Danny McGuire" was actually the name of Gene's character in the 1944 film "Covergirl".
If you are well read on Greek Mythology, you will know there are muses who represent the arts. They are called for in times of need to help inspire an artist's dying ambitions. Therefore the opening scene where the muses are coming out of the wall serves as a window between their world and ours.
Another good tidbit to know about the film, Andy Gibb was suppose to be the male star, not Michael Beck. Andy apparently was in ill health at the time and couldn't be insured by the company.
Xanadu was a film I saw as a 9 year old child. I had been severely injured and could not walk. I was hopeless and depressed. Then one night, Xanadu made its cable debut. I was carried into the living room to watch it (I couldn't walk). I had never seen Olivia Newton-John before, and I was mesmerized by the most incredible woman I had ever seen, dancing and singing through this magical fairy tale. My life had been hum drum up to that point, and the magic, glitz, animation, and music from this film made me want to get up. I was so anxious to walk and rollerskate (LOL) that I was up in no time walking around. I will forever love this movie and how a "muse" called Olivia inspired me to live again."
Xanadu Your Neon Lights Will Shine
Matt Howe | Washington, DC | 10/07/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"I LOVE this movie. Why talk about how bad it is? Because it is VERY bad. It's so bad it's good! Whose idea was it to merge fading musical star Gene Kelly with 80's pop sensation Olivia Newton John??? Throw in some ELO music and some neon special effects and you've got XANADU. Oh, it's fabulous!! Roller skating, off-the-shoulder 80's dresses, long hair, leg warmers.... This is XANADU. The storyline is negligable. You just wait till they get to the next song! The choreography is that Kenny Ortega 80's stuff. Look for Matt Latanzi (Olivia's ex) as a dancer in the background. By the time this movie gets to it's roller-skating in the round finale, you will be rocking! (The dancers/rollers chant: "Xanadu! Xanadu!" and perform some sort of choreographed hand-jive movements! I want to learn those moves!) Enjoy it, y'all. Like the song says: "Now that you're here, now that you're near ... Xanadu!""
XANADU IS A GEM!
Ted E. Johnson | North Potomac MD, USA | 01/24/2004
(5 out of 5 stars)
"Xanadu did exactly what it was supposed to do - entertain and make you imagine what it would be like to have a muse like Olivia breathe life into your dreams and have a sugar-daddy like Gene finance them! This movie was not supposed to provoke political though, cure world-hunger or make you a better person. It was created to make you dream, for your mind to be mesmerized by the colors, the music and the beauty of its entirety. The music was great, the plot was cute, and while today many might laugh at the roller-boogie of the last scene, it takes me back to my high school years where going to the rink was THE thing to do! Thank you Olivia, Gene and ELO for making a movie and music that I still enjoy to this day!!!!!"
The ultimate guilty pleasure musical
Byron Kolln | the corner where Broadway meets Hollywood | 03/18/2002
(4 out of 5 stars)
"XANADU is a harmless, fluffy little musical from the 80's, and is a guilty pleasure movie that sits right up there with DIRTY DANCING and FOOTLOOSE in terms of being dorky but charming.Let's take a trip back in time...to a time when legwarmers, headbands and stonewash jeans were in vogue....oh no! It's the 80's!XANADU tells the story of aspiring artist Sonny Malone (Michael Beck - THE WARRIORS) who has the dream but lacks the spirit to make the dream a reality. Enter roller-skating muse, Kira (Olivia Newton-John - GREASE) who enflames Sonny's desires as well as invigorating his creative juices.Along the way, Sonny meets aged clarinet player Danny McGuire (Gene Kelly - AN AMERICAN IN PARIS, INVITATION TO THE DANCE) and together they decide to turn an abandoned old nickelodeon into a roller-skate disco called...you guessed it...Xanadu.Of course, the main highlight of the film is the great soundtrack from ELO and Olivia Newton-John, while her skimpy outfits are a big attraction, too!A forgotten classic."
Why did they even bother?
B. Lynch | Los Angeles CA | 07/08/2008
(1 out of 5 stars)
"The one star rating isn't for the movie. Xanadu is what it is and I'm one of the people who love it. And because of that, I was really excited to discover they were putting out a special edition DVD. The original DVD only had the trailer as a bonus feature and between the movie's status as a cult classic and the success of the Broadway show I figured this edition would give it the treatment it deserved.
Boy, was I wrong.
Yes, it's cool that the DVD comes with a CD of the soundtrack. But most of the people who own the DVD have likely had the soundtrack for years. So now we have 2.
And the bonus features? The original trailer, a photo gallery, and one documentary. That's it. Which wouldn't even be too bad if the documentary was a good one. But it's not, not by a long shot.
For starters, there are no Olivia interviews in the documentary. I find it hard to believe that she wouldn't have sat down with the filmmakers for a few hours, but she's nowhere to be found except in the clips from the movie. And the clips from the movie? Apparently they weren't able to license the music because that's nowhere to be heard either. In it's place is just a bunch of generic synth music that wouldn't be out of place in an E True Hollywood Story.
And the real kicker? There isn't a single mention of Michael Beck in the entire featurette. How on earth do you do a documentary on a movie and completely ignore the male lead? It's just mind boggling.
All I can conclude is that this feature wasn't specifically produced for the DVD, but it was something they just found and threw in.
It's such a shame. There could have been a wealth of extras on this disc to satisfy the Xanadu diehards - a feature on the success of the music, a feature on the fashions, interviews with Olivia and Michael, a history of how the movie evolved into a cult favorite, deleted scenes, outtakes, karaoke versions of the musical sequences, something about the Broadway show and the previous stage versions......
But instead we get a photo gallery, the trailer from the first DVD, the CD that we all already have, and a single lame documentary.