West Side Story (2021) – Encore Review 2

“We can’t pretend what we do doesn’t cause trouble. ” – Maria

Number of Times Seen – 3 (13 Dec 2021, 25 Feb 2022 and 15 Jun 2022)

Link to original reviewHere and Here

Brief Synopsis – Two teens from opposing gangs in New York fall in love which causes a rift between those around them.

My Take on it – This is a film that I keep enjoying more and more every time I see it.

Steven Spielberg does an amazing job recapturing the emotion of this modern day Romeo and Juliet story that still feels so timeless and would work just as well if it had taken place in 2022 as in the late 1950’s where the story is set.

The choice to expand several aspects of the film including the script/dialogue and the choreography.

The choice to place certain songs in expanded locations works amazingly in adding so much more depth and color to the story especially noticeable during the ‘America’ song sequence which feels much more claustrophobic in the original film.

The characters are developed a bit more which adds even more depth to the story.

As with the original film, the casting of Tony is a bit off, but Anson Elgort still does an ok job with the role.

Ariana DeBose deservingly won an Oscar and numerous other awards for her depiction of Anita which also won Rita Moreno similar accolades 60 years earlier.

Unfortunately, her win was the only Oscar won for this film despite being quite deserving of numerous technical awards including Cinematography, Art Direction, Costumes and Production Design.

As much as I love the original version from 1961, this film is enhanced by the tweaks that Spielberg added and that makes it an even better movie IMHO.

I think that this was one of the very best films of 2021 and was also the best of the crop of 10 Oscar nominees for BEst Picture.

Can’t wait to watch this again.

Highly Highly Recommended!

MovieRob’s Favorite Trivia – The famous “puddle shot” from the “Maria” segment, where Tony steps into a large puddle of water, making it become a rippling pool of light while singing the song, was a last minute suggestion by Janusz Kaminski to Steven Spielberg on the final day of principal photography after filming was completed on the Balcony scene. It was also the last shot to be filmed, with Rita Moreno having the honor of doing clapperboard for all of the shot’s takes. (From IMDB)

Rating – Oscar Worthy (10/10) (no change from original review)


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