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West Side Story (Streaming) review

West Side Story (Streaming) review
« on: March 13, 2022, 10:41:20 AM »


Studio: 20th Century Studios
Release Date: March 15, 2022
Rating: PG
Film: 3.5/5
 
Plot
Directed by Academy Award® Steven Spielberg, from a screenplay by Pulitzer Prize and Tony Award® winner Tony Kushner, “West Side Story” tells the classic tale of fierce rivalries and young love in 1957 New York City. This reimagining of the beloved musical stars Ansel Elgort (Tony); Ariana DeBose (Anita); David Alvarez (Bernardo); Mike Faist (Riff); Brian d’Arcy James (Officer Krupke); Corey Stoll (Lieutenant Schrank); Josh Andrés Rivera (Chino); with Rita Moreno (as Valentina, who owns the corner store in which Tony works); and introducing Rachel Zegler (Maria.) Moreno – one of only three artists to be honored with Academy®, Emmy®, GRAMMY®, Tony® and Peabody Awards – also serves as one of the film’s executive producers.
 
Bringing together the best of both Broadway and Hollywood, the film’s creative team includes Kushner, who also served as an executive producer; Tony Award® winner Justin Peck, who choreographed the musical numbers in the film; renowned Los Angeles Philharmonic conductor and GRAMMY Award® winner Gustavo Dudamel, who helmed the recording of the iconic score; Academy Award®-nominated composer and conductor David Newman (“Anastasia”), who arranged the score, Tony Award®-winning composer Jeanine Tesori (“Fun Home,” “Thoroughly Modern Millie”), who supervised the cast on vocals; and GRAMMY®-nominated music supervisor Matt Sullivan (“Beauty and the Beast,” “Chicago”), who serves as executive music producer for the film. The film is produced by Spielberg, p.g.a., Academy Award®-nominated producer Kristie Macosko Krieger, p.g.a. and Tony Award®-winning producer Kevin McCollum. “West Side Story” has been adapted for the screen from the original 1957 Broadway show. Original choreography by Jerome Robbins, based on the stage play, book by Arthur Laurents, music by Leonard Bernstein, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, play conceived, directed and choreographed by Jerome Robbins, lyrics by Stephen Sondheim, music by Leonard Bernstein.
 
Barry’s Thoughts
I just saw the new edition of West Side Story.  I give four or four and half stars out of five, I really need to see the movie again to be sure. It’s the Jets vs The Sharks and who knows more about Sharks than Steven Spielberg? This is a wonderful movie to watch.
 
 In so many ways, this is the West Side Story that should have been made. It is darker and grittier than the 1961 movie because it is showing a darker and gritter time and event. In the first movie, we had Hollywood dancers, singers and actors posing as street gang remember. Here it feels like we have street gang members trying to dance and sing. And, finally, there are Hispanic players playing Puerto Ricans. But still no cursing.
 
 It it’s way, the opening is Spielberg’s homage to Robert Wise and his beautiful New York landscape opening. But here it reflects the time and place the story takes place in and it is both beautiful and sad.
 
 The songs and music are the same, everything else is changed. I liked the original version of America better.
 
 Ansel Elgort plays Tony. His background is enhanced here, now a nice guy, he once beat someone almost to death and served jail time. This was done, obviously to make the movie’s ending more believable. Elgort does a good job, but not a great job singing. It sort of fits, street thugs aren’t Broadway singers.
 
 Rachel Zeigler, is a newcomer and does a great job. A fine actress and a wonderful singer.  When Tony spots her at the gym and falls in love with her, you do too thanks to Spielberg’s lighting and camerawork.
 
 David Alvarez and Mike Faist play Bernardo and Riff and their characters should have been drawn out a bit more.
 
 Ariana DeBose wonderfully and talentedly plays Anita, but frankly, she does not compare to the original Rita Moreno. In fact, I still like the original version of “America” from the first movie better than the production here.
 
 Rita Moreno, was the heart of the original movie and here, as the original character Valentina, is the heart and soul of this movie. Nearly 90 years old, she sings “Somewhere” and would stop the show if this was a play.  In fact, the very last scene of the movie is about her. I guess you cannot have West Side Story without Rita Moreno.
 
 Yeah, it still loses a half a star or so because the ending basically remains intact. The entire movie takes place in 24 hours.  I still have trouble accepting that Maria would get over the death of her brother so quickly.

 
My Thoughts
Barry commented on this film upon its theatrical release back in December, so I thought I’d include his thoughts here. I agree with many of his sentiments of the film—it’s grittier than the original and feels a bit more authentic and less sanitized. Where I’ll disagree with Barry is with the casting of Ansel Elgort—he doesn’t have the singing or dancing chops to be in the starring role and I found him to be mediocre, at best. The rest of the casting is quite good, especially Rachel Zeigler, who is fantastic.
 
It's hard for me to compare it to the original because I haven’t seen it in probably 40 years. I own it on Blu-ray and have never got around to watching it. It’s on my “to do” list now!
 

 
Conclusion
While I enjoyed the film, it didn’t have the same effect on me that other musicals such as The Greatest Showman, Chicago, or La La Land have had. I can watch those movies over and over without hesitation and I don’t have that same feeling after this one. I was a bit tired when I sat down to watch it, so maybe that had an impact on my enjoyment, but it’s something I’ll revisit again after watching the original at some point in the future.
 
Reference Review System:
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(Calibrated with Portrait Displays CalMAN color calibration software & C6-HDR Meter from Portrait Displays)
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JL Audio Dominion F110 Subwoofer x 2
Mini DSP HD controlling all subwoofers
Audioquest and Monoprice - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
PureAV PF60 Power Conditioner
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

AVSCraig

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Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #1 on: March 13, 2022, 12:14:12 PM »
Speaking of Chicago, that movie sorely needs a 4K / Dolby Atmos remaster and upgrade. 
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Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #2 on: March 13, 2022, 01:52:39 PM »
Speaking of Chicago, that movie sorely needs a 4K / Dolby Atmos remaster and upgrade.

I agree 100%. There are some great songs in that movie/play. 
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Barry

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Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2022, 09:13:27 PM »
Hi David, thanks for the inclusion.  I will be getting the 4K disc and will report how it looks and sounds.  Also, West Side Story is on both HBOplus and Disney.  I think the Disney streaming is better.  It was also on HBO last night (cable.)

I did write, "Elgort does a good job, but not a great job singing."

I did not think he did a very good job or a great job.  I thought he was passable as an actor but not as a singer.  So I more agree with you than not. He may make a good Lone Ranger, however. :D

One more serious point: In the original, Maria sings "I Feel Pretty" before the rumble and it fits. Here they place it after the rumble and the killing and it is hard to feel the joy in the song.
« Last Edit: March 13, 2022, 09:15:16 PM by Barry »
McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS3000; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2022, 09:44:35 PM »
Barry,

If it's OK with you, I'll repeat this process on any future movies. We will be our own version of Siskel and Ebert, but much better looking ;)
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #5 on: March 16, 2022, 12:13:39 PM »
Greetings,

Dave, you need to watch the original...

This one is second fiddle in my opinion. Nice review!


Regards,

Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #6 on: March 16, 2022, 12:57:18 PM »
Greetings,

Dave, you need to watch the original...

This one is second fiddle in my opinion. Nice review!


Regards,
It's on the "to do" list ;)

Thanks for chiming in Ralph!
Blu-ray Reviewer / Technical Writer
Sound & Vision Magazine

bmoney

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Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #7 on: March 16, 2022, 03:38:18 PM »
Greetings,

Dave, you need to watch the original...

This one is second fiddle in my opinion. Nice review!


Regards,
It’s not even close really. But still nice to have a new make on it 
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Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #8 on: March 17, 2022, 10:59:52 AM »
It’s not even close really. But still nice to have a new make on it
Greetings,

Absolutely! 8)


Regards,

Barry

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Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #9 on: March 17, 2022, 01:05:32 PM »
Amazon is late delivering me the 4k disc, But they said I should have it tomorrow, Friday. I will watch it again and report on how good the disc is.
McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS3000; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #10 on: March 17, 2022, 03:06:16 PM »
Amazon is late delivering me the 4k disc, But they said I should have it tomorrow, Friday. I will watch it again and report on how good the disc is.
Sounds good Barry. Let me know and I can update the first post and give you all the credit :)
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claw

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Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #11 on: March 17, 2022, 11:27:36 PM »
I was frustrated with Spielberg's decision to not include English language subtitles for the scenes with Spanish dialog.  I turned on Spanish CC subtitles.  I can read Spanish fairly well but have no chance understanding spoken words.

A native Spanish speaking reviewer commented... If Spielberg was serious about respecting Spanish speaking viewers, he wouldn't have had so many scenes where Puerto Rican characters spoke English among themselves.

In other words, it seems that if Spielberg considered the dialog important, it was in English. Otherwise in Spanish.
« Last Edit: March 17, 2022, 11:32:36 PM by claw »
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Barry

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Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #12 on: March 18, 2022, 07:46:37 PM »
    I just finished West Side Story in 4K. While Dave and I have similar projectors and screens (and sub-woofers, remotes and Panasonic 4k Player) I do not know what streaming devices he uses.  I have Apple TV. And I saw parts of WSS streaming and on cable so I can make this judgement.

The 4K disc is just better than streaming! First, the images are sharper and the lighting is clearer. The sound is much better, with greater clarity and much better depth. I would give the video and sound 9.5 out of ten.  Streaming did give better picture and sound than my Verizon cable, however. The cable colors were far more muted and the sound was much flatter.

This is a good movie, but many will prefer the original. There are a few differences I would like to point out now that I have seen it a second time.

The Robert Wise movie opens brilliantly with a panoramic, and bright, view of New Yor City.  In this movie, the opening images are of slums and the images are darker. In fact, it almost looks like it’s black and white in the beginning.
Jerome Robbins, who did the Broadway Play, did the dance numbers in the original.  Simply, you can’t beat him. Here, they try to use  the sets more and it is not just as good.  Especially in “America.”
Rita Moreno as Anita.  As good as Ariana DeBose is and perhaps she is a better dancer, Rita has a greater screen presence and charisma.

Frankly, this movie is more political than the original. That’s even incorporated  into the dance numbers.
`



« Last Edit: March 19, 2022, 07:15:31 PM by Barry »
McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS3000; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

bmoney

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Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #13 on: March 19, 2022, 04:37:15 AM »
Honestly the America and officer krupke numbers are a travesty compared to the OG
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Re: West Side Story (Streaming) review
« Reply #14 on: April 29, 2022, 12:32:17 PM »
 This is something I haven’t done before.  I am kind of radically re-reviewing a movie.  I have usually liked a movie more when I see it a second time.  I get to catch the details and how the plot is driven. Rarely, do I like it even slightly less. I rate this movie as “good”, a step or two down.
 
I took another look at West Side Story. First, I like musical, which are few these days.  I was excited about the return to the movie theatre and frankly, the return of a great musical with Rita Moreno.
 
I agree strongly now with both David (especially about the casting of Tony) and BMoney.  First the movie is less of a love story, that got me through the original, and more of a violent retelling.  BMoney sites America and Krumke as not being done well, but the movie is missing Jerome Robbins who did an incredible with all the numbers, many of which were uplifting. Here they are often depressing by making them political not social.
In the original, Marie sings “I Feel Pretty” a lively, happy, song before the rumble and the death of her brother.  Here, she sings igt after two people have violently died and it doesn’t fit.
I realize that I never connected with the new Anita, but I did with Rita Moreno in the original. In the original Anita was the heart of the movie, here, once again, Rita Moreno was, but it was supporting role.
 
Where I would change the movie:
It doesn’t end well and here it makes even less sense.  Riff and Bernardo are killed. Maria really doesn’t mourn, but makes love to Tony hours after.  Even though they know each other for less than 24 hours she forgives him and wants to run away with him.  It makes less sense than ever. (In both movies.)
 
So I wondered what would have been a better ending.:
How about Bernardo does kill Riff but then both sides stop and realize how wrong it was. No one else is killed and the Sharks and Jets, as they diod at the end of the movie, kind of realize how  bad things have gotten.
 
But Maria see her brother as a killer and wants no part of him.  So she leaves him and goes to Tony as they leave the inner city.


McIntosh MX170 Controller: Projector JVC DLA-RS3000; Screen: Stuart StudioTek130: Amps: McIntosh MC-611(center),MC1.25KW (lf&rt);  Krell S-1500 Atmos/Surround; 4kDVD Panasonic UB9000; Speakers: Revel Ultima Salon 2, Ultima Voice 2, (Surround) W 990, Atmos C763L; Subs: SVS SB-13 Ultras;  Cable: 4K Verizon; Broadcast: Mediasonic HW-150PVR; Wiring: Shunyata; Apple TV,

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