holy crap, this movie won 10 academy awards. meanwhile pacino didn’t get an award until he worked with a director by the name of martin brest (who later went onto direct gigli) on a film called scent of a woman. so, pacino=1 academy award, scorsese=0 academy awards, triple six mafia=1 academy award, west side story=10 academy awards.
i’m not generally a fan of musicals, so perhaps the film was doomed from the start, but i consider myself fairly objective and i do like robert wise (the co-director, whose other musical [the sound of music] received a B from me earlier this week) so i don’t think the film really started with any great disadvantage. that said, it’s basically trash from the opening frames. it’s only redeeming qualities are its source material (shakespeare’s romeo and juliet) and its art direction – the costumes and sets were nice enough. other than that the film is just way too over the top and gaudy for me. i think it’s supposed to be some sort of modern take on shakespearean acting (i’m giving it the benefit of the doubt), but it doesn’t work. the choreography and music aren’t much to write home about either. the music isn’t catchy (there’s only one song i can even remember) and the dancing was some odd “street” interpretation of ballet. i put street in quotes because i doubt very much that anyone involved actually knows anything about the realities of the street; thus, any interpretation is a false one.
if you’re in the mood for a musical watch music man instead. if you’re in the mood for a film version of romeo and juliet watch baz luhrmann’s romeo + juliet instead. if you’re in the mood for a robert wise film watch the day the earth stood still instead. if you’re the mood for a film from 1961 watch yojimo instead. you get the point…