Over his decades long career, Steven Spielberg has made his very first musical. Nonetheless, Spielberg has also established that he had always wanted to try his hands at bringing a musical to the big screen with a second cinematic adaptation of West Side Story, following the 1961 film. It’d be easy enough to express skepticism to the need for a new West Side Story film, but Spielberg establishes that the material is a perfect match for him. Spielberg doesn’t work with creating a pastiche of the 1961 film as much as he does create a new screen life for one of Broadway’s most beloved musicals. In doing so, Spielberg has made what may be his best film in at least fifteen years.
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A part of myself has a soft spot for Hollywood musicals as together with film-noir, they were among some of the first of classic Hollywood films which I had grown around (Singin’ in the Rain was a favourite in my younger years, and still remains one to this day). One of those reasons as to why I still hold an attachment to musicals arises out from West Side Story, which always succeeds with pulling in myself towards all the energy it revels in while it lasts – a joyful, heartbreaking, and all-around blissful experience from start to finish. A glorious update from the setting of William Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet, this may very well be the one interpretation of the story that I enjoy the most. Like Maria sang, she felt pretty. That is certainly what West Side Story is, but more too. Continue reading →