The highly-anticipated Spielberg take on ‘West Side Story’ will not disappoint those who have been eagerly waiting to see this film.
While it is a remake, it does honor the original. The main stars of the film, Ansel Elgort who portrays Tony and Rachel Zegler who portrays Maria do a superb job carrying on the torch of these iconic characters. But perhaps it’s Ariana DeBose who shines the most in this film while portraying Anita. Her acting, the singing, the emotion and the drama is sure to land her some type of recognition during award season.
For those who have no seen original, this is the typical ‘Romeo and Juliet’ story line. So you already know where this story is headed while being set in the late 1950s into the 1960s, especially when a young woman of Puerto Rican descent falls in love with the forbidden boy. Many thought this would be a fresher take, set in a later year or even current times, but that’s not the case. They story still remains loyal to the original.
The cinematography in this film is beautifully crafted, it’s just beautiful to look at. The choreography and the precision is absolutely stunning. What’s not too beautiful to look at is that the violence seems to have been ramped up a bit more than the original. Granted, we know during that time that situation was probably just as bad as it was in the film if not worse. But it was a tab bit odd to see the boy dancing and prancing beautiful on their way to their ‘hate crimes’.
Now a scene to look forward to is watching the dazzling Rita Moreno who portrays Valentina, the grandmother of Tony who sings, ‘Somewhere’. the song, the scene, the characters bring a sense of deep emotion as he clutches a photos of her deceased husband who was white. Throughout the film the tries to tell Tony to be his own person and to stop hanging around the group of boys who caused him to be incarcerated, when you watch the film you’ll see how that advice turned out.
The film is similar to the original and definitely honors it, while those who have grown up with the original will say why do a remake? It is a great film to introduce this iconic story to to the next generation. It’s hard to say did they do well or not, because everyone is biased when it comes to remakes especially when it’s a classic. It is a must-see!
Rating: PG-13 (Some Strong Violence|Brief Smoking|Strong Language|Suggestive Material|Thematic Content)
Genre: Romance, Musical
Director: Steven Spielberg
Producer: Steven Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Kevin McCollum
Release Date (Theaters): Dec 10, 2021
Runtime: 2h 36m