Stev en Spielberg's West Side Story remake praised in rave first reactions

·4 min read
Photo credit: Niko Tavernise - 20th Century Studios
Photo credit: Niko Tavernise - 20th Century Studios

Steven Spielberg's West Side Story finally lands in cinemas in just a few days, and the first reactions from those lucky enough to have seen it early are in. Avid fans of the original, you can breathe a sigh of relief now, as they seem to be hugely positive, too.

Starring Baby Driver's Ansel Elgort and Rachel Zegler, the musical follows teenagers Tony and Maria, who fall in love in 1950s New York – just like in the 1957 stage production by Arthur Laurents, Leonard Bernstein and Stephen Sondheim, and the Oscar-winning film adaptation that was released in 1961.

Photo credit: Disney
Photo credit: Disney

Related: Steven Spielberg admits he turned down the opportunity to reboot Jaws

There's one big problem, though. The pair each have their own associations with rival street gangs: the Sharks, from Puerto Rico, and the white Jets. (Yes, it was inspired by Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet).

Rita Moreno, who appeared in the original movie, has a supporting role and is an executive producer. The Prom's Ariana DeBose, Spotlight's Brian d'Arcy James, Billy Elliot: The Musical's David Alvarez, Dear Evan Hansen's Mike Faist and Ant-Man's Corey Stoll round out the cast.

Photo credit: Niko Tavernise - 20th Century Studios
Photo credit: Niko Tavernise - 20th Century Studios

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When a story is as beloved as West Side Story, and a big-screen outing as popular as the new one's predecessor – it won ten Oscars, including Best Picture! – it always seems like a bit of a risk to remake it, even for legendary filmmakers like Spielberg.

The film received its World Premiere in New York on Monday (November 29), however, and those who have now seen the 2021 version seem to have been bowled over by the "tremendous", "phenomenal" and "extraordinary" do-over.

Check out some of the first reactions to the new movie below...

West Side Story will be released in US and UK cinemas on December 10.

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