As always I am struck by the sheer craft of both Stephen Spielberg and Tony Kushner. Kushner seems to be Spielberg’s go-to man for screenplays, and my assumption is that the 2 men have lengthy conversations concerning what the project is about. I’d love to have been in on their conversations about the prologue to the new movie.
The 2021 movie opens with a gorgeous tracking shot over the rubble created by the destruction of the San Juan Hill neighborhood on the west side of Manhattan to make room for the new and gleaming Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts.
San Juan Hill, Manhattan - Wikipedi
We see the buildings in various stages of deconstruction, and we see giant cranes holding wrecking balls. And the camera pulls upward, away from the ground level, passing a wrecking ball until it fills nearly the entire screen. Pitted, worn, it looks like a planet.
And maybe it is. Maybe it is our planet. Maybe we have ascended from a view of specific destruction to one of a barren planet destroyed. Am I reading too much into this image? I don’t think so, given the past work of the 2 men named earlier.
And I think of turf wars in our nation and in the world today. And I think of that barren wrecking ball filling the screen . . .
[Here is an excerpt from the opening of the new movie. Unfortunately it stops just as it gets to the wrecking ball that caught my attention.]
(1500) WEST SIDE STORY 2021 OPENING SCENE HD OPENING SHOT STEVEN SPIELBERG - YouTube