Alex Holmes’s review published on Letterboxd:
Watched for Scavenger Hunt 51
Task #4: Watch a movie about two characters who yearn for each other romantically but who are unable or unwilling to act on those feelings because of external factors.
West side story is really made by its incredible music. Leonard Bernstein and Steven Sondheim are musical geniuses and every song is catchy, powerful, and perfectly fit to its scene.
I also loved the visuals. The color, lighting, and camera movements were all top notch. It’s a very vibrant movie, and almost every shot is beautiful to behold. However, it is also very noticeable that the sets are just that. Maybe that’s what they were going for, that whole play vibe, but it was still very clear that the sets were all tiny soundstages in Hollywood.
I thought the acting by Richard Beymer, Natalie Wood, and Rita Moreno was very good as well.
I completely dug the “Tonight” scene, when all of their voices are blended together. I thought it was the strongest scene in the movie and really showcases the great editing and choreography this movie also features.
Unfortunately, that’s where my praise ends. I didn’t not like West Side Story, but I just found it kind of all style and no substance. I already know the Romeo and Juliet story, and this movie only makes surface changes to it. Maybe it’s just me, but I find the story too old and overdone. Adapting it is a bit like beating a dead horse to me at this point. Not quite sure why Spielbergs making another west side story next year.
Anyway, I did enjoy this movie, but felt it was a bit bloated. I don’t think the story of Romeo and Juliet is really fit for more than two hours. It’s pretty simple and I already know every plot point.
But hey, that’s just me. Worth it for the music alone, though.
Side note, pretty awesome that twin peaks alums Russ tamblyn and Richard beymer we’re both in this, a movie about as far from TP as you could go, especially when considering the return.