West Side Story is a musical film based on the Broadway play. The film is directed by Steven Spielberg and stars Rachel Zegler, Ansel Elgort, Ariana DeBose, David Alvarez, and Mike Faist.
This is a well-known fact that West Side Story is Spielberg’s most passionate project yet. West Side Story is a film he has always wanted to make and it spoke to me before its release. Having no prior knowledge of the original play or previous film adaptations, I was excited to see this latest remake, but left disappointed. To Make West Side Story, I Had to Be Fearless.
West Side Story is based on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. The film is about a forbidden love between two people from opposing groups in New York. Set in 1950s New York, it’s a musical love storey that starts well but stumbles towards the end.
Rachel Zegler makes her feature film debut in this impressive film. Her performance as Maria, the gang leader’s sister, is full of passion, energy, and innocence that makes the film enjoyable. A seasoned actor on screen, I can’t wait to see her in more projects. Bernardo, as played by David Alvarez, is one of my favourite characters. All the actors were great and kept the movie interesting.
Songs were also a big part of West Side Story, and they were very entertaining. Overall, the film’s production value was outstanding. The streets looked like they were ripped out of the 1950s, giving the songs a great vintage feel. They were also beautifully choreographed and complemented the sets. When a song came on, West Side Story was ecstatic, and that’s when the movie reached its peak. Sadly, that was the only time I felt the Spielberg magic in the film.
The storey is a mess. This storey works better as a stage play than a film. Not that the storey isn’t charming, it is, but the pacing makes it difficult to enjoy. That West Side Story feels like a fantasy film set in a realistic world didn’t work for me. Maybe it’s just my taste in musicals, but I wasn’t impressed.
For example, the central characters’ romance seems shallow. They met once and want to be together forever. This would be fantastic in a play, but not so much in a film. We don’t see much of Tony and Maria’s relationship, and the film expected me to take it seriously when I wasn’t involved.
The film is 158 minutes long, but it doesn’t feel that way. West Side Story is never dull, and I don’t mean in a good way. There’s always something going on, and the film moves at breakneck speed. This left me unable to process what I saw on screen. A dance number had already begun when I finished processing a previous scene. They are not well spaced.
West Side Story slows down in the third act, but I was exhausted by then. It was all background noise. Even the film’s intended emotional ending had little effect on me. The main characters’ relationship felt rushed, and by the end, I had no sympathy for them. It even ended on the most jarring note possible. Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story Banned in Saudi Arabia, UAE and Other Gulf States
Also, Ansel Elgort’s singing didn’t do much for me. I just sat there, wondering if something was wrong with me. No, after letting that sink in, I couldn’t take his singing seriously. Rachel Zegler, or whoever he shared scenes with, just followed him around.
Can’t be adapted to screen
Ansel Elgort Sings
West Side Story is odd. It has the makings of a great movie. The production value is excellent, the songs are fantastic, and Spielberg is at the helm, but every time it tries to be great, it falls flat. West Side Story is a technical marvel with many structural storey issues, and given that it was Spielberg’s passion project, it left me disappointed.