Magnificent Seven (2016) forgets the obvious
Magnificent Seven (2016) forgets the most obvious things about the Magnificent Seven. This movie touts its connection to The Seven Samurai, and it’s pretty much the same story. Still, the 1960 version is darn good, proving it’s worth with two sequels and a television series, so the 2016 version has a lot to live up to. This is the summer for taking a beloved brand and turning it into something new (I’m talking to you, Ben-Hur), and The Magnificent Seven suffers from all the same problems.
First of all, this is a modern Western, and it has all the clichés of the genre. It’s not even close to being as annoying as movies like Jonah Hex and The Legend of the Lone Ranger, but it tries to be charming and fun, instead of gripping and dramatic. However, the acting really isn’t the problem and that’s a plus, at least. It’s not historical in any way, and it throws realism out the window on more than one occasion. It has a great cast, but it forgets to include the Magnificent Seven theme song, which is a huge mistake, but the song is thrown on the end credits like the way the James Bond theme was thrown on the end of Casino Royale. The score is otherwise mundane without the theme ringing through the movie. Such a big mistake.
It’s stupidly similar to Wild, Wild West because it too is a generic Western, with revisionist history thrown in to avoid controversial things from one-hundred years ago that audiences don’t want to see. There is a very clear villain and a very clear plot to stop him, so The Magnificent Seven is no different from every other action movie in existence. This movie capitalizes on the name brand and doesn’t really do anything different. The trailer has everything you might expect from this action movie, including shooting, guns, explosions, and more shooting.
Denzel Washington and Chris Pratt give good performances, but nobody really has any character development. They’re all just generic Western archetypes, which is the same thing the 1960 version did, so I guess that’s not really a negative. However, the original succeeded with great balance and good moments between the shooting. The new version tries to do that with jokes and charm, but it’s ultimately just not as good.
Overall, this is another average movie this summer. It’s not as bad as Ben-Hur, thankfully, but my favorite Western is still Unforgiven. What I don’t need is some annoying revisionist Western with stupid jokes, and this one treads lightly on that ground. I wanted the theme song, and they couldn’t even give me that. The movie is only good for its action and it’s decent in that regard, but generic in every other respect.