Alright everyone get your groans on, get the lamentations out that Hollywood has no original ideas as they are now just remaking remakes. After all they’re remaking The Lion King with CGI animations, so there will be yet more people talking about how a remake of a beloved movie from their youths somehow has the power to destroy childhood memories, ruin future children’s lives, and blah blah blah.
The only question that i care to answer out of the mess of emotions that usually occur when remakes are planned is:
Is it necessary?
When a psychopathic gold miner offers to either buy the little town of Rose Creek out or burn in down along with the beleaguered inhabitants. Some of the towns people decide to recruit the aid of a motley crew of bandits and law makers in hopes of saving their homes.
The movie functions a lot like 13 Assassins where the plot is merely a set up for a prolonged action scene at the end of the movie, and it gets all the elements more or less right when building up to it.
As Peter Sarsgaard imbues his card board cut out bad guy Bartholomew Bogue with enough gross charisma to make me as an audience member want to see this man killed in some suitably violent way, and top billers Denzel Washington and Chriss Pratt use their natural charisma to make their scenes fun to watch despite the lack of substance to them.
The various shoot outs themselves are suitably explosive and violent; and thankfully unlike the borderline incomprehensible fights in “Civil War” the shoot outs here are coherent in how they’re shot and edited.
It’s been some years since i’ve seen the original 1960 version of this movie, so i can only compare this to the original in a broad sense. I liked this one as much or more than the original, as its quicker pacing, familiar actors, and more spectacular/violent gun fights make this 2016 version more immediately fun to watch.
While i can’t really compare the remake to the original remake it’s based on, i can compare it to the original source material that inspired both; that being the classic samurai movie Seven Samurai.
And to that end Magnificent Seven is a failure.
For starters it’s more than an hour shorter, making such trivial themes like character development and thematic elements take a back seat to dual wielding pistols and explosions. As the people who inhabit the movie are just one note caricatures; Denzel is the calm and immediately charismatic leader (with a tragic past of course), Pratt is the wise cracking drunk gambler, Ethan Hawk is the war hero whose screams of all the men he killed haunt him in his sleep (and can you believe he leaves the battle the night before and comes back when he’s most needed? Who’d a thunk that?), etc etc etc.
This remake’s ending also misses the point of Seven Samurai, and fails to illustrate the brutal truth that these gun fighters (like the Samurai) will eventually become unnecessary and extinct with the passage of time. A realisation that was summed up perfectly with Seven Samurai‘s parting dialog and final shot.
The Magnificent Seven (2016) is suitably fun and breezy. With its actors and action scenes bringing to life what would otherwise be a very boring and monotonous movie.
However it’s the lack of substance that makes this remake unnecessary, as it fails to adapt the moral of the original source material with a familiar (western) cultural back ground. And despite the various actor’s best efforts their deaths fail to really resonate outside of spectacle due to their shallow nature.
It’s fun for sure, but passes and fades into the horizon as fast as a galloping horse.
OUT OF FIVE