“In Director Antoine Fuqua’s modern vision of a classic story, the desperate townspeople of Rose Creek employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns after the town falls under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue. As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.”
As proof that original stories are few and far between in Hollywood, The Magnificent Seven and the story of seven mercenaries that come together vowing to protect a town from oppression is made again. I believe that a perfect analogy for this can be demonstrated by a copy machine. If you continue to make copies of copies, you start to lose things in the process. Although the content of the copy may be a strong and powerful story, the ability to read the story continues to degrade with each one made. The same can be said for this new incarnation of The Magnificent Seven. It has a great story, descending from one of the greatest filmmakers in history, but with each telling something else is lost.
Time seems to be the number one enemy of The Magnificent Seven. Taking a story that originally took 3 and a half hours to tell and shaving a good hour and fifteen off doesn’t make things easy, especially combined with the fact you have to introduce the conflict, antagonist, and each one of the seven mercenaries as they are convinced to join what is essentially a suicide mission. With every new introduction, we get about five minutes of time with each new character, the foundation that the entire film bases our investment with that particular character. This is very unfortunate, as it is one of the really great points the film has, diverse and unique characters. I mean, who didn’t say “what the —-“ when Vincent D’Onofrio is introduced? There are some really cool characters, and they aren’t given the time they need for us to care about what happens to them, which is vital because as I said, they are basically on a suicide mission.
Because of the lack of time to properly develop characters, this causes a chain reaction that effects the entire film. Another thing that is lost from other incarnations of this story is how each of the characters change. They go from self-absorbed loaners who only care about money, to working together as a team to protect people from oppression. This camaraderie does not have time to flourish as things are rushed as fast as possible in order to get to the final climax of the film and to have more explosions. The heart of this story is about the brotherhood and bond that develops between these people, what it has been turned into is one action-packed explosion with a body count that cannot be measured.
Despite having little to no development, all the actors do a phenomenal job of taking what they have and building the illusion of a coherent story in which we care what is unfolding. Visually, the film looks amazing as well. Beautiful wide shots of open country are a testament to the genre and great to see. Hopefully, the Western trend continues, as it is a great genre that can be renewed if handled properly.
The Magnificent Seven is presented in High Definition Widescreen 1080p 2.39:1. This transfer looks gorgeous, with good color levels and no defects noticed. Shot on film, it has a gritty look to it that gives it a very western feel.
The audio is presented in DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1. This film has a great track, with one of the last scores by James Horner. There is no lack of oomph in the surrounds, as the action scenes are all filled with gunshots zooming in every direction. A very solid track with good utilization of all the levels, giving the film another level of excitement if you have 7.1 capability.
The Magnificent Seven comes with a ‘Vengeance Mode’, which is similar to the Infinifilm series New Line released on a selection of their DVD titles years ago. If selected, you will be prompted during a specific scene to get a breakdown by the director. This can be very informative, with the entire cast chiming in on their thoughts of a particular scene.
In addition to Vengeance Mode, you’re also going to see:
- Deleted Scenes
- The Taking of Rose Creek
- Directing the Seven
- Rogue Bogue
- The Seven
- Magnificent Music
The Magnificent Seven has some amazing qualities that, if given enough time, would raise it to the levels of some of the more recent Western remakes such as 3:10 to Yuma and True Grit. Unfortunately, the film tries to tackle a massive story as the attention spans of the average movie goer continue to decline, losing the very core of the film in the process.