When I hear that films are being remade, I usually shudder. Mostly they’re poor imitations of the originals and leave you feeling very flat.
When I read that a remake of “West Side Story” was in the works, my heart sank. I then went on to read that Steven Spielberg was directing . . . OK, things may not be so bad after all.
A big screen treat
My friend and I went along to our local cinema to watch West Side Story (2021) in that twilight period between Christmas and New Year
Our cinema was once a nightclub, so the main screening area still has booths and tables you can sit at.
There are also three smaller screening rooms that have traditional seats as well as sofas and footstools, so it really is a treat to go.
Click your fingers!
The vast opening sequence where we meet the unruly Jets is a sweeping and impressive and every single cast member was perfect.
The choreography, the songs, in fact everything was spot on.
A nod to the past
In a beautiful touch, Rita Moreno who played Anita in the original 1961 film (and won a best-supporting Oscar for the part) plays Valentina in the new version. She is outstanding.
Ariana DeBose is fabulous as the 2021 Anita, as is Rachel Anne Zegler who takes over as Maria from Natalie Wood.
Even in 2021 the storyline is still relevant. Intolerance, poverty and distrust, so it still strikes a chord in the rather fractured world today.
On a lighter note, it just confirms that wonderful music and lyrics stand the test of time and Leonard Bernstein’s music and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics can never be beaten.
If you’re looking for two and a half hours of absolute joy, then please go and see it. You will be dancing out of the cinema!