Saturday, 11 December 2021 00:41

West Side Story Featured

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Movie Review written by Jon Patch with 3.5 out of 4 paws

West Side Story

20th Century Studios, Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Amblin Entertainment, Amblin Partners and TSG Entertainment present a PG-13, 156-minute, Musical, Crime, Drama, directed by Steven Spielberg, screenplay by Tony Kushner and based on the stage play, book by Arthur Laurents with a theater release of December 10, 2021.


A remake by Spielberg of the 1957 musical of a rivalry between to gangs in the upper west side of New York City. The Jets are led by Riff (Mike Faist) who are taunting the Sharks led by Bernardo (David Alvarez). It seems there is an over-abundance of Puerto Ricans moving into this once previous all white neighborhood, a suburb of New York that is currently being demolished for new high-rise buildings and the gang known as the Jets are doing anything possible to scare out the Puerto Ricans. Heck even the cops like Officer Krupke (Brian d’Arcy James) and Lieutenant Schrank tend to side with the Jets.

In a small drug store in the area, Valentina (Rita Moreno), from the original story in the 50’s, owns this store where Tony (Ansel Elgort) works trying to stay out of any rumbles between the two gangs. But one night at a local neighborhood dance, Maria (Rachel Zegler) on a date with Chino (Josh Andres Rivera) she being the sister of Bernardo and friend of his girlfriend Anita (Ariana DeBose) locked eyes with Tony and from that moment on it was love at first sight. Grant it their love was voodoo since she is Puerto Rican and Tony is white but that did not stop them from seeing each other when humanly possible. Ethnicity was not an issue for the couple like it was for the others but when Bernardo found out he would not have his younger sister seeing a man like Tony.

All this tension begins to build between the Sharks and Jets but Tony and Maria will not stop seeing each other that is until the rumble begins and that that moment all lives are changed some for the better but some for the worse. The story tells the truth about racism and the fight for power and control but it also tells the romance of a truly found love between a young couple from different cultures.

I heard different opinions about this film but personally I thought Spielberg once again made gold. Grant it he keeps pretty true to the original which is fine with me. In the beginning first twenty minutes I wondered if I was going to get invested in the two gangs not knowing any of the actors but one but as the story went on, I began to care about every character. The music is superb as is the dancing and I must say so is the acting by the leads and all of the supporting actors and extras. Elgort fits the role perfectly and who knew he could sing but the one fault I found in his lines was his accent which faded in and out a number of times especially when he sang. Zegler is brilliant and doesn’t miss a beat as is Alvarez but it is DeBose that I appreciated as an actress she swung for the fence and hit a homerun. Faist grew on me after a while but as for all the gang members their acting, dance and song was on course. No animals in this film that I recall so nothing to speak about other than the way so called humans can act in life sometimes.

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