“West Side Story”: The Remake of the Year


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Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler staring in “West Side Story.” Spielberg’s take on the 1961 classic was released on December 10th, 2021.

When I went to the movie theater to first see “West Side Story,” I had no idea what I was in for. The first scene started with a bang and I was immediately hooked. At the end of the movie I was a wreck. There was mascara running down my checks and my shirt was soaked with tears. My favorite movies always had action scenes with romance throughout and “West Side Story” captures both sides harmoniously. Steven Spielberg’s remake of 1961’s “West Side Story” has interested viewers all over the world.

Maria experiences America as a young Puerto Rican woman. She finds violence, drama, and, most importantly, love in New York City’s streets. Maria’s brother, Bernardo, is the leader of a Puerto Rican gang called the Sharks. Maria lives with Bernardo and his wife Anita in a bustling neighborhood of immigrants. On the other hand, Tony, a newly freed man, is in a gang of U.S.-born men called the Jets. His best friend Riff, the leader of the group, is rivals with Bernardo and the Sharks. When a dance is set up to help both sides befriend each other, Tony and Maria meet. Their love leads to a huge battle between the Sharks and Jets. When the cops cannot stop the fight in time, something unforgettable happens.

“West Side Story,” featuring music by Leonard Bernstein, was released on December 10. Director Steven Spielberg captured the romance, action, and drama in every scene. His first musical brought laughter and tears to the audiences. With a 92 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes, “West Side Story” brought in over $57 million. Although its release faced competition from COVID and “Spider Man: No Way Home,” I am glad I chose to take a chance on a new movie.

“West Side Story” was a phenomenal movie with an amazing leading cast. Every scene replicated the 1961 version perfectly with a modern day touch. The vibrancy of the costumes and scenery made the movie stand out. The cast was the biggest difference from the 1961 “West Side Story.” I felt that Rachel Zegler, who played Maria, had the entire movie in the palm of her hand. She had a great voice and fantastic acting skills. My favorite part of “West Side Story” was seeing Rita Moreno, the original Anita, play a role in the 2021 version as Valentina. The only casting decision I would have changed was the role of Tony. Although Ansel Elgort has acted well in other movies, this one was not the right fit for him.

“West Side Story” has always been a favorite of mine, but now it is The Favorite. It brought the story of “Romeo and Juliet” to a new life. Usually remakes are never as good as the original, but the new “West Side Story” defies expectations. You can tell the directors paid close attention to detail, making every scene with intention. While the 1961 “West Side Story” is a classic, the 2021 version will be remembered for generations to come.