Steven Spielberg Creates a Beautiful Resurgence

West story arguably one of the greatest musicals of all time and easily one of the greatest cinematic musicals of all time with its 1961 adaptation from Robert Wise and Jerome Robbins received ten Oscars, including Best Picture. For ordinary people, trying to create a new version will seem difficult, but Steven Spielberg Start from scratch in this new adaptation to feel fresh and immediate while retaining the classic feel of the original. Work from a screenplay by a Tony Award-winning playwright Tony Kushner, Spielberg’s West story It has a more political edge than the 1961 version, but it still feels firmly in the mold of a classic musical with the incredible footage, palette, and choreography that pops onto the screen. While purists could argue the finer points of which adaptation worked best, there’s no doubt that Spielberg approached this project with all his heart and made a movie. can stand proudly next to the beloved Oscar winner of Wise and Robbins.

When the upper West Side of New York City began to become unspoiled in the 1950s, the Jets (consisting of white Americans) and Sharks (consisting of Puerto Rican immigrants) were on the brink of death. war. The Puerto Rican diaspora found success in their new country, which sparked outrage from the Jets, led by Riff (Mike Faist). Riff wanted to fight for territory (territory neither group owned, but considered a point of pride, especially given the fragile masculinity of both groups of oppressed men), and the leader of the Sharks, Bernardo (David Alvarez) was happy to oblige him. But between these two dueling factions are young lovers Tony (Ansel Elgort), a former close friend of Jet and Riff, and Maria (Rachel Zegler), Bernardo’s sister and friend of Bernardo’s girlfriend, Anita (Ariana DeBose). As both gangs come to a collision course, Tony and Maria struggle to find a way to be together.


Photos via 20th Century Studios

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“Why do we need another one West story? ” is a fair question when the 1961 version is such a revered classic. However, we accept musical renaissance all the time on Broadway, and it’s only fair to consider Spielberg’s work in that regard. There isn’t too much room for improvement for Wise and Robbins’ version (though certainly an improvement that none of the browns in Spielberg’s adaptation, and he regularly brings the film to meetings with). chat in spanish without subtitles) as much as West story is a work that still feels immediate and worthy for new actors to tackle, as well as Spielberg experimenting with a genre he’s never done before.

The movie is worth watching just for its groundbreaking talent. While Elgort does a great job as Tony (he can sing and looks just right for the times), the lesser-known names will have you talking later. Zegler fascinates as Maria. She has the perfect blend of innocence, optimism and romance to make her role her own, which is saying something when you’re in the dark. Natalie Wood. Faist is completely on screen as he manages Riff’s difficult balance between aggressiveness and disease. While the rest of the Jets shine in “Gee, Officer Krupke,” it is Riff who is the real voice of the disgruntled gang. And DeBose quickly established herself as a star with a daring, seductive performance that could wrap you around in a song like “America” and then break your heart at the film’s climax.

Photos via 20th Century Studios

Though the cast shines, West story It’s also a reminder that Spielberg is untouchable when he’s at the top of his game. Spielberg has toyed with musical numbers before in movies like 1941 and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, but here he will come into full play. The way Spielberg moved the camera and his reliance on close-ups helped set his version apart from the 1961 version without losing anything from the Wise and Robbins photograph. . The interaction between Justin PeckSpielberg’s choreography and camera movement are nothing short of amazing, especially during scenes like dancing at the gym or “Cool”. While Spielberg never gives up, this is easily his best work since 2012 Lincoln.

And between Lincoln and West story, there is a strong case for always partnering with Kushner. Kushner’s script is more overt in social critiques but does so in ways that feel more modern and thought-provoking. For example, in “Gee, Officer Krupke,” the 1961 version plays like the boys are moving through different roles as they play the game with the system, but here it plays out like the main character. The new system is the problem. The film also openly shows that Anybodys (Iris Menas) is a transgender person, and simply accepts that as a fact. Kushner, in addition to including a large amount of dialogue in Spanish, also moved more to suit the 1957 theatrical version for “I Feel Pretty” to appear after the scuffle, adding an extra layer tragedy that the 1961 film lacked. Also, by staging “Cool” between Riff and Tony, there’s a whole new dimension to their conflict that helps define both characters. Finally, by updating the Doc character to Valentina (Rita Moreno), you’re not only immersed in the EGOT award-winning legend with its connection to the original (Moreno played Anita in the 1961 film), but it also adds a new dimension to Tony’s character by expressing himself. show their relationship.

Photos via 20th Century Studios

These are thoughtful tweaks, not a major overhaul. It is clear that both Spielberg and Kushner have a deep respect for and adherence to the document, and they approach West story not to “fix” it, but to provide minor updates that further emphasize its strengths Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein, Stephen Sondheim, and the work of Jerome Robbins. That doesn’t mean making the movie “better” or “better” but treating it like a musical classic and trusting that audiences will be as drawn to it as they have been for many years. decade. While I believe modern audiences will also see the 1961 version, Spielberg shows that he has something new to offer, as worthwhile as the towering classic.

Rating: A

West story in theaters on December 10.

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https://collider.com/west-side-story-review-steven-spielberg-musical/ Steven Spielberg Creates a Beautiful Resurgence

Bobby Allyn

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