“An adaptation of the 1957 musical, West Side Story explores forbidden love and the rivalry between the Jets and the Sharks, two teenage street gangs of different ethnic backgrounds.” -IMDB
If you’re going to attempt a remake, it’s best to do so with Steven Spielberg at the helm. With that being said, West Side Story is one of the better remakes that I’ve seen; however, it is still a remake. Let me clarify…
As someone who loves musicals and the original West Side Story film, I was looking forward to watching Spielberg’s adaptation and it did lived up to my expectations. It was a visually beautiful and emotionally moving version of a classic. The filmmakers were able to give this version as much heart as the original, which I think is owed in large part to the casting of Rita Moreno (the 1961 film’s Anita) in a role as neighborhood peacekeeper, allowing her more screen time than just a passing cameo, as most remakes would have done. Instead, her character becomes the moral compass of the story and allows fans of the original film to bathe in the nostalgia of it all.
My only criticism would be that the the film did not add anything particularly new to the story and is, subsequently, somewhat forgettable. However, if this may only be the case for audiences who have seen the original. If this is someone’s first introduction into West Side Story, then it is a solid one. And honestly, the filmmakers can be forgiven for not adding anything drastically new into the mix, because the film is built on the solid foundations of the West Side Story legacy.
So, if you enjoy musicals, it’s definitely worth the watch. If you don’t, then I’m surprised that you’ve read this far in to this review…
Rating: 7 out 10 Claire Bears
If you like this movie, you should also watch: West Side Story (2021), In the Heights, tick, tick…BOOM
With: Ansel Elgort, Rachel Zegler, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez
Directed By: Steven Spielberg