West Side Story Early Buzz: Could It Be? Yes It Could. Something's Coming, Something Good!

We've written this a lot over the duration of the pandemic, but regardless of how ubiquitous the sentence has become, it's still true. The long-delayed ["Insert Movie Title Here"] is finally on the way! In this case, "Insert Movie Title Here" is Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story," the very highly anticipated adaptation of the 1957 Broadway musical. The play was written by Arthur Laurents and Jerome Robbins with music by Leonard Bernstein and lyrics by the truly iconic Stephen Sondheim.

Spielberg has spoken a great deal about how important this production is to him, and why it's such a massive opportunity to adapt a story so near and dear to his heart. Expectations are high for this adaptation. Frankly, my expectations peaked when the project was originally rumored. I've been a fan of the 1961 movie since I was a little girl, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt I'm not the only person who has a personal connection to it. On top of, you know, being one of the greatest Broadway musicals of all time. And just to up the ante a touch more, Sondheim had nothing but praise for Spielberg's adaptation, praising Tony Kushner's script.

So, what is the critical consensus thus far? Take a look.

You'll Feel Like Running And Dancing For Joy

The New York City press screening started things off with Spielberg paying a warm tribute to the late Stephen Sondheim, who evidently made a point of being present throughout the entire production process of this adaptation. As the director said, Sondheim was present for every single recording session, without fail. He would be "listening with his eyes closed, he swayed, he swooned, or he'd grimace and flinch," Spielberg said with a laugh.

/Film's very own Chris Evangelista was glowing about the movie while leaving the theater. Thankfully, it looks like Spielberg did Sondheim proud.

Other /Film writers like Eric Vespe, who co-hosts The Kingcast, and Jeff Ewing were just as thrilled

Meanwhile, the newest addition to the /Film team, Jenna Busch, had mixed-positive thoughts about the adaptation.

All in all, no one was alone in their admiration.

There were even standout moments, like a clever addition or selective omission, that make this version a bit of a cut above. 

Some are even saying it's better than the 1961 original film. And while those could be fighting words, it's not coming from just one person.

Others offered restrained praise, but praise nonetheless. We'll have to wait for their full reviews to find out more.

The dominant consensus, however, seems to be that Spielberg is a natural at adapting Broadway. So, Steven, more musicals when? 

Well-Bred And Mature, And Out Of Her Mind!

Some were decidedly on the fence, saying it's essentially no different than the 1961 adaptation.

Others had more mixed feelings about the production, showcasing some high notes and not shying away from acknowledging the lower ones.

While it would be lovely to think we could gush over "West Side Story" without having to address the 1961 film's larger issues, that's just not realistic. Some critics pointed out the original movie's flaws, and how this iteration didn't exactly right enough wrongs, despite its best efforts.

Steven Spielberg's "West Side Story" will hit theaters on December 10, 2021.