Spielberg renews the classic again

Steven Spielberg He made many different types of films in his 50-year career, but never had a musical. At the age of 74, he finally not only his first musical, Westside storyIt is a characteristic achievement of this genre, not to mention the ambitious expression of youthful energy and romance.However, Spielberg spends at least half a century on most of his characters, but his Westside story It doesn’t feel like the work of an older artist who coasts with empty nostalgia. His version is vibrant, vibrant, urgent, and full of subtle and important changes that modernize the movie theme without changing settings.

The story, as Jerome Robbins devised, directed and choreographed the original Broadway musical, Leonard Bernstein’s music, Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics, Arthur Laurents’ book, and Robins and Robert Wise’s faithful film production in 1961. Is related to the feud. During rival 1950s street gangs: white jets and Puerto Rican sharks. Each wants control of the Upper West Side neighborhood. In witty prosperity, Spielberg’s opening shot glides through the rubble of a destroyed building, promoting the construction of the future Lincoln Center, where Robins will become one of New York City Ballet’s leading choreographers. Landed on the signboard to do.

Imminent destruction of the neighborhood (and subsequent gentrification) weighs heavily on Tony Kushner’s wonderful script and adds to the intense tension between the jet and the shark. Because the turf they are fighting for has changed and is shrinking at their feet. Of course, in their conflict, Maria (Rachel Zegler), the sister of shark leader Bernardo (Davi Alvarez), met Tony (Ansel Elgort), the remaining former Jets chief. There is also love because it collapses. Close with their current boss riff (Mike Faist). Tony has just left prison trying to kill another man, but is trying to get out of a life of violence. As he spies on Maria across the crowded floor of school dance, the rest of the world melts into a quiet duet under the gymnasium bleachers (in this case not a euphemism).

Since then Westside story It is based on Romeo & JulietThe bliss of Tony and Maria is fleeting, as tensions between Jets and sharks continue among young lovers. Spielberg found a way to assemble everything visually boldly, and while maintaining the impressive use of the actual New York location in the original movie, the musical’s famous dance with much more dynamic camera movements and crane shots. Combined with the number. “Tonight”, “Maria”, and the overflowing “America”. The order of some songs has changed. Using new places and timings throughout the story has given some new meaning. For example, “Cool” was originally installed in Doc’s drugstore and was sung by riffs on jets while waiting for sharks to arrive at the War Council. In 2021 it was done later in the movie, instead sung by riffs and other jets by Tony, warning not to ring the revolver with sharks, and more about the danger of guns in the show’s existing motifs. Screw a strong theme about the cycle of violence.

Spielberg and Kushner’s script repeats that over and over again. Re-context the first works of Robbins, Bernstein, Sondheim and Laurents to bring out ideas that have always been under the surface. For example, the battle between Jets and sharks is now less of a territorial issue than complete racism. (In a fascinating choice, the Puerto Rican character speaks in untitled Spanish.) The Spielberg and Kushner versions are also far more in the role of police officers who do not look much more benevolent in the form of Brian Darcy. Gives shadows and complexity to James Officer, Kushner, especially Lieutenant Schrank of Corey Stoll. He doesn’t hide the fact that he has a favorite among the two gangsters.

The new film dance, choreographed by Justin Peck, evokes Robins’ graceful movements without simply copying each beat. The dancers themselves stand out, including all the leads. Broadway veteran Ariana Devose has created an incredible Anita, while Alvarez and Feist do an outstanding job as fighting Bernardo and Riff. Unlike 1961, everyone offers their own songs Westside story Several cast members were dubbed by other actors for musical numbers. Zegler has a particularly beautiful voice that shines during a duet with Ergoat — perhaps the most charismatic Tony (or the most compelling choice to play a child from the average street in Manhattan just out of prison). Not, but his song with Zegler, who is full of chemistry.

One of the biggest differences in 1961 Westside story Spielberg is also one of the few graduates working on this film from the original film. Rita Moreno, who played Robins and Wise’s Anita, plays a new character in a story named Valentina, who plays a sympathetic role in place of the story Doc. Listen to both sharks and jets.In addition to providing a nice connection with the past and adding more depth to the new Westside storyShe is a more obvious conversation about race and also sings a moving rendition of “somewhere”. Its lyrics about the belief in the quiet “place for us” take an even more memorable dimension when sung by Moreno, now 89 years old. It’s one of the quietest moments in a musical, but it’s a home-killing one.

1961 Westside story Movies are considered by many to be classics. Received 10 Academy Awards, including the Best Picture Award. The Spielberg version is an improvement over the original in almost every respect. Performance is stronger, casting is better, script is sharper, and social commentary is more bitter. He produced a musical as written about today, not in New York City in the 1950s, not in Renaissance Verona.

evaluation: 8/10

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Spielberg renews the classic again

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