West Side Story

One of the greatest movie musicals ever made was the 1961 version of “West Side Story”. When Steven Spielberg announced that he was going to remake it, I was skeptical. How could he make a film that was not overshadowed by the original? After seeing Spielberg’s version I am here to tell you that he has done an amazing job and this version stands on its own! He has opened up the story, showing a slum in transition, with buildings being torn down and the story taking place in the rubble. The photography is compelling and gives the film a different feeling. The cast is outstanding. Ansel Elgort, who starred in “Baby Driver”, is a much better Tony than Richard Bremer was in the original. He has a nice singing voice. Rachel Zegler is an outstanding Maria; innocent, pretty and a beautiful singing voice. As Bernardo and Anita, Ariana DeBose and David Alvarez have a sexual chemistry that is palpable. Their singing and dancing is phenomenal. I couldn’t take my eyes off of them. The part of the movie I was most concerned about was the choreography. The original choreographer, Jerome Robbins, won an Oscar as co-director. His dances were classic. In the new version Justin Peck matches Robbins’ dance routines, sometimes exceeding them. Finally, Rita Moreno plays an important role, a reimagining and expansion of the candy store owner. In my opinion she is the heart of this movie. See this movie on the big screen. The cinematography, dancing and colors make it worth it. I loved it!

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