Of all the movies that saw delays in 2020, the one that might have been the absolute biggest was Steven Spielberg’s remake of West Side Story. In an era where remakes are king it was one of the most brazen, taking on a truly beloved musical that already had a top-notch film adaptation. But with the talent that is Spielberg attached, people were incredibly curious what the result would be. For some that curiosity ended last night, and the film, it seems, is something magical.
The first critics have finally seen the new adaptation of West Side Story and while they are not perfectly unanimous in their praise, they’re close enough that any outliers are getting largely drowned out. CinemaBlend’s own Corey Chichizola was one of those who had a chance to see the film, and he thinks it’s stunning.
The new #WestSideStory is a stunner. The updated script adds a ton of depth to the characters and the entire cast shines. Bravo! pic.twitter.com/ooltbKZHG3November 30, 2021
Corey wasn’t the only member of the CB team to check out West Side Story early. Sarah El-Mahmoud also saw the movie and she has nothing but praise for director Steven Spielberg,
yeah… I just fell in love with Spielberg all over again. #WestSideStory brought out best in him & I’m just absolutely entranced by it. Every SHOT, choice, note, piece of clothing was so intentional and stunning. Beautiful movie & a spectacular adaptation. pic.twitter.com/QDMO2z8NKHNovember 30, 2021
The praise for West Side Story is coming from all sides and for any number of reasons. Rachel Zeigler, who plays Maria, is getting absolutely glowing notices, as is Ariana Debose, who plays Anita. It seems that every single detail of the film was well thought out, and even those details are receiving strong praise.
West Side Story further seals @arianadebose and @rachelzegler as dynamos to watch. And David Alvarez (Bernardo) & Iris Menas (Anybodys) are incredible. I'm so happy right now.November 30, 2021
Considering how popular West Side Story is as a property and how popular Steven Spielberg is as a director, once might expect this movie was destined to review well, but that’s not necessarily the case. There were a lot of questions about what Spielberg would actually be able to bring to this remake to make it stand out, but he’s making believers of some who were not necessarily the target audience.
Spielberg has been talking about making a musical for years, and #WestSideStory shows just how clear that vision was. He has an intuitive grasp of how to shoot energetic scenes and how to let the movement unfurl rather than trying too hard to control it.November 30, 2021
Because West Side Story is so loved by many, there was a fear that even Steven Spielberg might fumble it, but by and large it seems those fears were unjustified. The movie is winning over critics who admit they weren’t sure what to expect from the film.
#WestSideStory I was wrong wrong wrong wrong wrong to be skeptical. It was AMAZING.November 30, 2021
While the love for West Side Story is nearly complete, there are some who are tempering their response. In this case it doesn’t really seem that there’s anybody who truly disliked the film, but rather they’re just not as glowing in their praise.
The new #WestSideStory is, as expected, a little redundant, but it’s so well-made and passionately-staged that it almost doesn't matter. Everyone (Spielberg, Zegler, Elgort, etc.) is in top form. Well worth seeing at least once in theaters. pic.twitter.com/wjBdS6Hr0YNovember 30, 2021
If there are issues with West Side Story it may be simply some problems with the source material, but even with those problems there are performances or songs worth checking out.
That said, the performances were lovely and ‘Somewhere’ will break your heart. (2 of 2)November 30, 2021
West Side Story was a movie with a lot of hype, that it’s been sitting on for a year at this point. It now seems like that hype was largely justified. The movie really is that good. The rest of us will have a chance to find out when the movie hits theaters on December 10.
CinemaBlend’s resident theme park junkie and amateur Disney historian. Armchair Imagineer. Epcot Stan. Future Club 33 Member.
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