Steven Spielberg’s West Side Story Is a Dazzling Bit of Americana

At first glance West Side Story It might appear that Steven Spielberg is not interested in a musical. He’s best known for making adventure films and dramatic historical dramas. Robert Wise’s 1962 film adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical is an old classic that has not lost its appeal and does not need to be updated. Spielberg wasn’t supposed to make these films? Indiana Jones another

However, if you look closely enough you’ll see that West Side StoryThis movie is a perfect match for Spielberg’s deep-rooted interests and preferences. It tells the story of volatile young men and the kind of cultural clashes that have defined America’s project. This is a story of the formation and maintenance of American identity after World War II. It also includes stories about assimilation and community. The film uses song, dance and romance to tell its tale. Spielberg, a Hollywood legend, has become a leading purveyor pop Americana. He is obsessed with the nation’s mythology and self-image. We are blessed for this. Spielberg’s West Side StoryThis movie is amazing, full of vitality and life. This is one of my favorite movies. 

It’s more than Spielberg’s film: While the movie retains the rich Leonard Bernstein music, and Stephen Sondheim’s lyrics, Spielberg’s new remake adds Tony Kushner’s dialogue. Kushner is, of course, the playwright. Angels and AmericaHe is also Spielberg’s writer MunichAnd Lincoln, Many of those themes are also found here. 

Also available in MunichKushner and Spielberg frames West Side StoryIt is a story of ethnic-political cyclical conflicts. The war in this instance is between two gangs: the Sharks (a group of Puerto Rican immigrant gangs) and the Jets (a white ethnic gang that a local officer described as the “last of the can’t make-it Caucasians”. Both rival gangs fight for the same piece of New York Territory. This is a neighborhood made up mostly of joyful, immigrant residents that has been torn down in order to make room for newer homes. They don’t know much about each other, but they know enough—as Jets leader Riff (a feisty, rousing Mike Faist) says, “They. Ain’t. Us.” 

Kushner’s book is gritty without becoming too grim. However, his characters speak in stagey and rhythmic patter. It even seems like music, even when there isn’t an orchestral accompaniment. The accompaniment, however, remains one of the highlights of the show: Bernstein’s moody, jazzy, big-band score has stayed a staple of high school marching bands for decades for a reason: Even when it’s played badly, it still sounds pretty good—and here it’s played and recorded exceptionally well. 

Songs are memorable and catchy with strong hooks. But they’re more than just earworms. The music often holds up well, with lengthy, unspoken sequences in which the characters don’t speak or sing. Music is just the sounds of their daily lives.

The movie’s song and dance numbers are as spectacularly memorable as anything you could hope for from one of the most influential directors of Hollywood setpieces. This is without any reservation: Spielberg, From JawsYou can find more information here Raiders of the Lost ArkYou can find more information here Jurassic ParkYou can find more information here The Private Ryan SavingsYou can find more information here War of the Worlds Spielberg is the master of cinematic sequence design. No director can create more memorable and iconic images in sequence than Spielberg. American adults who have ever seen Spielberg movies will recall at least one iconic image. More likely, they’ll be able to name a number of them. There are too many cinematic references to Spielberg’s films for one person. 

West Side StorySpielberg does not stage grandiose or showy productions. In some ways the production feels intimate, even small. This only makes Spielberg’s shots even more stunning for their sheer beauty. TIt is hard to find a director more skilled at framing and lighting human bodies in motion (or cars, trucks or tanks), whether they’re running, punching, dancing, or both. West Side StoryThe incredible use of light and color to express meaning is just one more reason for his genius. 

Even though West Side Story is Spielberg’s first true musical, it feels like he’s been directing them forever, and perhaps even like he invented the form—or as if he’s inventing it as we watch. As the film unfolds, Spielberg’s true musicality becomes apparent. Alwaysbeen making musicals or that his elaborately-designed setpieces have had an influence from Broadway. MacGuffin hunting for diamondsThat’s it! Indiana Jones and The Temple of DoomThe, Car factoryChase in Minority ReportOr Even the T-Rex attackThe middle of Jurassic Park

There is no one who breaks into song. However, it’s easy to see the T-Rex glancing at the camera and singing a show about her fury and hunger. BThese big numbers were at least partially created from elements of musical theatre. These numbers are composed of mechanized movement, complicated choreography and animalistic desires. They also follow the logic and timing of actions and reactions to music and sound. Characters in crisis are fighting for their lives, their identities and telling you what their feelings are. These sequences are often transcendental, joyous, hilarious, scary, and moving at their best. West Side StorySpielberg is at his finest.