the magnificent seven (2016) – a remake of a remake is… my friend?

The Magnificent Seven is the 2016 remake of the 1960 western of the same name, which is a remake of the classic 1954 film Seven Samurai. This time we have Antoine Fuqua directing, with a screenplay from Nic Pizzolatto and Richard Wenk. This version stars; Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Lee Byung-hun, Vincent D’Onofrio, Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, Martin Sensmeier, Haley Bennett and Peter Sarsgaard. It’s about a small town that’s being bullied by a larger force and they pool some money together to hire men to help them out of this situation.

The good; the cast is impressive. This is a case where casting bigger names helps, because you’ll know who’s who without knowing the character, and the story is already an ensemble cast. Giving the audience this short cut really helped in devoting time to the plot and plotting.

The tone and look of the film is very much the modernization of the western, it feels right and here’s hoping that it gives us more western films in the future, as opposed to the one or two a year that we’ve been receiving.

The action sequences are very well executed. Taking inspiration from the original film (Seven Samurai) there’s great build up to the last show down. The western genre archetype lends itself to a final showdown in the third act, which is why the western has been so popular and influential in modern cinema, The Magnificent Seven certainly builds up to the climax in the third act, but it also adds the modern flavor of today’s sensibilities and coverage of action sequences.

The bad; the use of the original theme. The use and homage to Elmer Bernstein‘s original theme is nice, but feels shoe-horned in when it’s first heard. It would’ve been best if it had just been used at the very end and led into the credits. The lighter nature of the original theme doesn’t fit with the 2016 version’s color palate and tone.

This version is a remake of a remake… I was hoping for more of a new take on this story. What did Fuqua want to add? Or change? Or Pizzolatto for that matter. I was looking for something new to be brought to the table other than using today’s tools to tell that story.

Overall, very entertaining, but you can wait to view this at home on DVD or cable. This verdict was tough for me, cause I did enjoy seeing this in the theatre, but taking time before I wrote my review other things just crept up in my mind.
I would’ve liked a little bit more of an original take, especially since Fuqua loves westerns, much in the way that Hell or High Water modernized their western story. But I can also see how he wanted to pay homage to a western he loved. This is the last film that James Horner worked on before he died, I’m not sure who’s choice it was to include the original theme earlier in the movie, but the updated take on the theme during the end credits certainly fits this version of the film a lot better. Those youngin’ wouldn’t recognize it, which still makes me scratch my head as to why it’s included within the movie.

Fade out-
Eugene

 

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