Review: ‘Magnificent Seven’ reflects true Western

By Ttrue-mcmanis-1rue McManis

LOGOS STAFF WRITER

“The Magnificent Seven” is a Western in every sense of the word, complete with impossible gunslinging, intense duels, and a plot that moved right along.

The remake stays fairly true to the original, with a few changes thrown in that don’t detract from the film. It was overall a fun film to go see in theaters.

The roles of the seven characters remain similar to the original, but the changes will be interesting to those who have already seen the original and want a different experience through the character introductions and developments.

Director Antoine Fuqua made the cast more diverse than the original movie in order to make the film historically accurate. It worked out well, though I do wish they had given the characters that didn’t primarily speak English more lines of dialogue. They were interesting characters that rarely spoke after they were introduced.

The cast was pretty strong and had a good chemistry together, with Denzel Washington and Ethan Hawke really shining throughout the film.

Chris Pratt played Josh Faraday, and audiences familiar with his antics will likely feel they have seen this character before but not necessarily to the role’s detriment. Pratt played well off of the other actors, especially Manuel Garcia-Rulfo, when providing a good source of comedic relief.

Most of the cast had to go to cowboy camp and learn how to ride horses for the movie with Martin Sensmeier picking up how to ride bareback. This was a really nice touch for something that wasn’t even addressed in the movie.

Peter Sarsgaard’s performances often fell flat, and his character felt unrealistic and hard to relate to, which are both essential things for a good villain to have.

From the very first scene it’s clear “The Magnificent Seven” isn’t trying to blaze any new trails. The antagonist of the film promptly establishes himself as an irredeemably bad guy and presents a straightforward problem to the audience: he’s taken over the town and wants everybody either out or dead so he can mine for gold.

The plot isn’t demanding to follow at all, but the plot for Westerns rarely have to be, provided they get the ball rolling, which is something this tried-and-true idea does pretty well.

The action throughout the film felt stylish yet contained, much like in classic Westerns, but unlike that in bloodier recent ones. Many of the shootouts involve a buildup prior to the lead flying, which is something many action movies forgo in favor of straightforward action.

These fight scenes take a little bit getting used to, but after the first few, the rhythm began to feel natural and enjoyable. The action scene at the end was what the whole movie had been building to and it did not disappoint — taking around 30 days to fully shoot.

The huge scene impressively allows for audiences to distinguish the main characters from the rest with finely tuned camerawork, combined with all of the character’s unique outfits and dialogue quips.

The costumes were all distinct and interesting to look at, just like the beautiful backgrounds many of the scenes were set to. The layout of the town that the final battle takes place in is important, so it was nice to see a lot of effort was put into the town as well.

The lighting, from the very first scene, was done phenomenally. When the scene is indoors, there doesn’t seem to be sources of lighting coming from inside. When fire is shown onscreen, it is portrayed accurately, which is something a lot of movies fail to get right.

While the music was an excellent homage to older Western films that fit perfectly with many scenes, the actual audio was edited poorly in certain scenes — specifically when noises were heard off-screen.

Overall, “The Magnificent Seven” is an homage to classic Westerns that brings with it a lot of thrills. If the original movie had been made in 2016, it would probably have ended up being a lot like this one. The plot does drag on at points, but generally only to build things up later.

Being a big fan of the original, I was thoroughly impressed with the way this remake was presented and hope to see similar things from Fuqua in the future.

 

E-mail McManis at mcmanis@student.uiwtx.edu

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