West Side Story hits theaters for let down

West Side Story hits theaters  for let down

Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story, a cinematic classic and Broadway hit, was released on Dec. 10, and it was just okay in comparison to the original movie. Some aspects of this film remain the same: the fight for territory, the music, and the choreography. The rest has changed, including the characters and their importance in the movie, the location, and the ordering of songs and how they now fit into the movie.
In the new version there is now a big established reason for all of the commotion between the Jets and the Sharks (rivaling gangs). Apartment buildings and businesses are being demolished to put in Lincoln Center. The Jets, being from the West Side of New York City, want to keep their territory. They think it belongs to them, simply because they have grown up there. The Puerto Rican Sharks, however, feel they deserve the territory because they had to fight for everything they had.
Rita Moreno makes her return to the West Side Story scene, playing a new character named Valentina, who replaces Doc. Valentina runs the candy store where the Jets hang out. She does much of what Doc did in the 1961 movie.
West Side Story is really a forbidden love story, based on the tragedy Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. We follow Tony (Ansel Elgort), an American, and Maria (Rachel Zelger), a Puerto Rican. They meet at a dance, knowing they are meant to be together. Elgort is a great singer. Zelger, is not the same. There are audible tinges of auto tune, especially when she reaches those higher notes.
Some characters need to have songs in the place where they were intended to be. There is an issue for the plot of the movie when songs are out of place from where they should be.
In the original, “I Feel Pretty” is the number after Maria officially meets Tony on her balcony. She’s giddy, and lost with her mind swirling around her newfound love for Tony. Now, it is after the fateful rumble, with her fortunes about to turn for the worst.
In the new adaptation, Moreno sings “Something,”which is a beautiful rendition of the song. It made for a really emotional moment, a time to reflect on all the chaos and heart ache. Tony originally sings this song to soothe Maria.
Spielberg created a remake that was not all that good, but I do applaud Spielberg for keeping the message of the musical the same: always love and be kind to those around you, regardless of what they look like, or where they come from.