Sunday, 25 September 2016

'The Magnificent 7' Review (2016): Baddest Quips In The West

Big Screen Watch: More than enough here to justify checking out at the cinema.
After a more than disappointing summer movie season, I can't help but feel a little bit cheated. While bright spots like 'Captain America: Civil War' and 'Star Trek Beyond' both had moments that were joy inducing, but on the whole, my appetite for adventure has not been satiated. In a year where I was promised a movie starring villains who end up saving the world, all while cracking wise with Bohemian Rhapsody in the background, can you blame me for being mad I was stuck with what I got?
Wipe that shiny smirk off your unearned tattooed face.
Enter, 'The Magnificent 7'. A movie that is the perfect summer blockbuster, being released in the fall. Based on the 1960 original, which in turn was based on 1954s Seven Samurai, 'The Magnificent 7' tells the tale of a town brought to its knees by a greedy mining company. Haley Bennett's Emma Cullen sees her town so defenseless and is left with no choice but to seek out as many hardcore, death defying, gunslingers she can to save her home.  

Those gunslingers make up the titular 7. Leading the pack is Denzel Washington's 'Sam Chisolm'. He recruits the likes of Chris Pratt's 'Faraday' and the others. The actual assembly of the gang isn't the chore it usually is for ensemble films such as this one. That's because there's a sense of character for each of the 7. You enjoy getting to know what they're about before they even join the story.

Whereas here, I didn't care about half these characters even when the story was over.
Because of the grasp on these characters, their interactions feel organic. No one character feels unnecessary. On the flip side, there are those such as Denzel and Pratt that are given a tad more character than the rest, but not so much that the movie feels unbalanced. It should also be noted that the ensemble is more diverse than one might expect. There's not too much of a fuss made about the ethnicity of the characters, so don't expect a deep analysis of race in the old west, but it helps that they're not treated as token stereotypes.

Unlike these three, known as the Hispanic one, the Australian one, and the weird Asian one.
That said there's a lot to this movie that's been seen before. Western is a genre that revels in its old tired cliches. I for one will never tire of a scene where one man takes out an entire room full of guns pointed at him in less than 5 seconds. Despite not being wholly original, the film still manages to bring a delightful array of action scenes with stakes. Stakes that are not at all diminished by the films overall comedic tone.
Balance of tone not found.
I should also mention that the movie is sublimely nice to look at. The old west feel is more than accomplished by the realized set design and costumes. There are also a few very choice shots that make for a very attractive film. Shots that have a great balance of light, and manage to expertly utilize the frame to tell its narrative. 

What you get with 'Magnificent 7' is a movie that feels like it was made by people who just really wanted to make a western. It has a surprising amount of heart in it, as you grow to love and fear for its characters. Has it been seen before? Yes. But with a script that flows, and a cast that feels as in sync as this one, it's a pretty well done version of a story that you've already been told. 

Rating: Big Screen Watch

Thanks for reading and if you liked this you can check out a podcast I hosted on Westerns: