Something’s Coming, Something Good

Review Over New ‘West Side Story’ Remake


Photo by Isa Morgan

Inspired by Shakespeare’s play “Romeo and Juliet,” “West Side Story” started off as a Broadway musical in 1957 and was then made into a film by the same name in 1961. Only recently has the film been remade with Steven Spielberg as director, starring actors Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler.

Isa Morgan, Reporter

Forbidden love, tragic deaths and fantastic dance scenes are all things to look forward to in Steven Spielberg’s new rendition of the timeless musical “West Side Story.” The film was released on Dec. 10 and features well-known actor, Ansel Elgort, and upcoming star, Rachel Zegler. My expectations for this film were set very high, and to say they were met would be an understatement. The film is the perfect balance of romance and tragedy while also dealing with real-world problems like racism and oppression.

The film starts with a well-choreographed dance scene introducing the “Jets,” a gang made up of poor white Americans, as they dance down a New York neighborhood. They then gather around a mural of the Puerto Rican flag and proceed to vandalize it by smearing paint across the display. This catches the attention of the “Sharks,” the Jet’s rival gang consisting of Puerto Ricans new to America, and leads to the first of many fights between the two gangs. We are then introduced to Maria, the younger sister to the leader of the Sharks, and Tony, best friend to the leader of the Jets, as their “Romeo and Juliet” love story creates conflict between the gangs.

Although the movie leans toward a longer run time, at two hours and 35 minutes, there was never a moment of boredom. With the intricate dance routines and well-choreographed fight scenes, I felt as though I was immersed into these exciting moments. The songs of the film were just as perfect as the dancing, and the amazing vocals from Elgort, Zegler, and many of the other cast members added so much to the already perfect experience. One of the most memorable songs was “Tonight,” a lovely duet between Tony and Maria. The number doesn’t feature much choreography but the vocals and amazing chemistry between the characters make up for the lack of movement.

As someone who hadn’t seen the original “West Side Story” before seeing this new rendition, I did not feel as though I was left out of the references they were making. With many remakes, it’s almost necessary to watch the original before you can enjoy the remake, but with this film, it was completely different. The film retold the story perfectly in a way that new generations could enjoy, without having to revisit the past productions. Although there were some changes from the original production, like Tony being recently released from prison and the cut of an arranged marriage between Maria and Chino, Spielberg still managed to retell the story exactly, only with a few modern adaptations.

Overall, this remake of a well-loved classic did not disappoint in the slightest. I loved every minute of it and I found myself adding it to the top of my list of favorite movies. From the mesmerizing dances to the fantastic vocals, this new portrayal was easy to feel immersed in the heartbreaking story of these two lovers. The film really does have something for everyone and I highly recommend it to anyone who was a fan of the original productions or someone who is looking for a new favorite movie, leading me to give this film a nine out of 10 rating.