West Side Story ★★★½

A classic musical, West Side Story updates the legendary tale of Romeo and Juliet to a modern setting, with the white Jets and Puerto Rican Sharks fighting on the New York's Upper West Side. Tony of the Jets and Maria of the Sharks meet at a dance, and their love transcends the borders of the scuffling gangs, but is sure to be met with skepticism and tragedy.

I quite like an old timey musical now and then, they sure don't make them like they used to. Enormous dance numbers, huge sets (and a lot of location work), bold primary colors on both sets and costumes and for the most part some great song numbers. You can clearly see why this was one of Michael Jackson's favourite films, and how it influenced him directly in Beat It and Bad.

I liked how balanced this was, I felt like it neither glorified or condemned being a Shark or Jet, male or female, in love or just a street punk, I found myself fascinated no matter who was in the spotlight or why. The film actually had a little meltdown on my TV, so I kept watching on my computer to see the conclusion. I was going to give up, but I carried through, and I'm glad I did.

I have a few qualms with it though. As grand as it is, time has not always been sweet on this one. There are moments that are just downright cheesy, it can't be helped - the very idea of gangs dueling by doing ballerina-esque dance moves these days is..dated. Some of the song numbers felt less urgent than others (mainly the romantic duets), and the ending is different than what I was expecting.

West Side Story isn't flawless, but it can certainly be respected. Any new adaptation of a timeless classic is worth a gander in my opinion, and this one holds up rather strong overall. If you haven't seen it, it also looks better than ever (I'm sure) in high definition.