Movie Review: Spielberg’s ‘West Side Story’

Published: Mar. 21, 2022 at 1:12 PM CDT
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LUBBOCK, Texas (KCBD) - Remaking classic movies is rarely necessary. Remember the “Ben-Hur” remake? Of course not. There was even talk of remaking “Casablanca” with Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez at one point - which may have literally brought about the apocalypse.

“West Side Story” also seemed like one of those untouchable classics. It’s one of the best movie musicals ever made. But leave it to Steven Spielberg to take a shot at it. The master filmmaker took a big risk with his first musical. And guess what? His verson is better.

Spielberg’s film is a stunning watch - beautiful and vibrant with the camera movements dancing with the actors. It’s a true remake with the time period and musical arrangements kept the same, but there are some important changes. The most significant: the Puerto Rican characters given more agency in this version by being allowed to speak Spanish in Tony Kushner’s screenplay with no subtitles for non-Spanish speakers.

The casting is also sublime with newcomer Rachel Zegler a true find as Maria and Oscar-nominee Ariana DeBose in a stunning turn.

“West Side Story” belongs on the top shelf of Spielberg movies, which says a lot for one of the greatest and most influential filmmakers in history.

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