By Preman Koshar || Arts & Entertainment Editor
The Magnificent Seven, directed by Antoine Fuqua of Training Day fame, is a classic example of a modern western remake. While the original was actually about samurai, and not cowboys, the essential gist of a lawless land filled with polarized “good” and “bad” people is very much the same.
One of The Magnificent Seven’s high points is its cinematography. The shots were fluid enough to be interesting and beautiful while not so artsy as to distract from the film itself. Landscapes and wide shots abound, and add a lot of scale to the film. I have also heard reports that these shots are particularly stunning in IMAX, though I myself did not view the film in that format.
The acting was not particularly impressive, the emotions and facial expressions almost predictable…though it didn’t really matter—it is a shoot-‘em-up action flick, after all. Nobody goes to these films wanting to see something profound or emotional or real.
The score was pretty good, not too overstated or dramatic, while increasing the intensity of important scenes. It generally stayed in the background, as it should in this kind of movie. The plot was extremely predictable until the very end; I felt like I could tell what would happen next after every scene.
The deaths near the end were a bit surprising, however, and helped to redeem the film in this category. The characters were also very stereotypical and one-sided. The bad guys were very bad indeed, and the good guys very good. How about a little gray area, huh? Today’s audiences deserve more than simply good and bad. John Wayne and Clint Eastwood may have been able to get away with that (and, albeit, do it well), but that doesn’t mean that their simplistic plot choices have to define the entire genre.
The dialogue also went the John Wayne route, unfortunately, and most of the lines were simplistic, cheesy one-liners that made me feel dumber after having heard them. But they served their purpose—they drove the high-quality action scenes forward at a breakneck pace, and that might be okay. I will say that the action scenes were top-notch, and had, surprisingly, a lot of variety. The set piece for the final scenes was very well orchestrated and intriguingly dynamic.
All in all, The Magnificent Seven was a decent action film with beautiful cinematography and set staging plagued by predictable and simplistic characters, dialogue, and overall plot. It was, nonetheless, a very enjoyable film to watch—a fun film—but if you’re looking for originality, or emotional connection, you’re not going to find it.
Junior Preman Koshar is the Arts & Entertainment Editor. His email is email@example.com.