Director: Antoine Fuqua
Cast: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Haley Bennett, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Peter Sardgaard
HISTORY OF THE MAGNIFICENT SEVEN
This timeless classic first came out in the form of “Seven Samurai” made in 1956 in Japan.
The Magnificent Seven (2016) is another one of those western classics taken through time and finally finding a worthy writer and director to pull off something entirely new with an essence from the old. This timeless classic first came out in the form of “Seven Samurai” made in 1956 in Japan. Penned by Akira Kurosawa, Shinobu Hashimoto & Hideo Oguni, it was about a small village terrorized by a bandit and his goons. The villagers hire the services of seven unemployed samurai to defend themselves. This movie inspired “The Magnificent Seven” in 1960 where no original Japanese writers were credited for their work. I guess Hollywood though no one would know. Anyway, come 2016, the classic is remade and I think this is one of those rare movies which will turn out to be cult classics.
WHAT WORKS FOR THE MOVIE?
The story of the movie is same as orginal 1960 Hollywood flick featuring big names like Steve McQueen, Yul Brynner & Charles Bronson. This time the lead is by a “non-white” actor Denzel Washington, supported by Chris Pratt, Ehtan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio & Peter Sargaard.
Honestly, at first I thought “can Denzel do such a role?”
Honestly, at first I thought “can Denzel do such a role?” but then again, Denzel being Denzel can do any role if he is really interested in it. The Oscar winning actor has done the lead role with such an ease & and conviction that I wouldn’t mind him being cast in another western.
Chris Pratt is the highlight of this classic with not just a comic relief & one of the lead-characters, he sheds his branding from “Guardians of the Galaxy” fame. He is given quiet a fair share of spotlight and I think everyone who will watch this movie will love his character the most.
Peter Sardgaard plays the villainous Bartholomew Bogue and trust me when I tell you this that his mannerism and portrayal of a cold blooded, business minded villain did send some shivers down my spine. The opening scene is what sets the tone for his character which he carries till the very end.
Ethan Hawke, as I remembered him from 1991 Kevin Costner starrer Robin Hood, played a veteran with a PTSD (yes, PTSD was present in those times too) and building of his character was slightly left wanting more.
Haley Bennett is the only female lead in the movie and she did have an important role. Although her role did have a kick-ass time shooting bad guys but I felt it was more rushed by transforming her from a revenge seeking widow to G.I. Jane.
The overall picturization and cinematography was brilliant specially the last battle between good and evil. The village setting and capturing true vibrancy of 1800’s is spot on in the entire movie.
WHAT WORKS AGAINST THE MOVIE?
Lack of comprehensive back stories of all the characters would have added more flare and soul
With a run time of 2 hours and 3 minutes, the movie was slightly a drag in the middle when the quest starts. Lack of comprehensive back stories of all the characters would have added more flare and soul to the motives of each and every one of the seven guys, especially Denzel.
Although the end was quiet satisfying but I felt that movie towards the end was rushed.
The villagers are taught to fight within 3 days and it can only happen in movies. Someone who doesn’t know how to carry a gun was seen pulling bull’s eye shots from distances of over 50 meters. I’d ignore this flaw as it doesn’t really hamper the sequences they are in.
A very well made remake of a classic from a classic which has a chance to be a contender in cinematography, costumes and maybe screenplay in upcoming Oscars. Overall good performances by all actors as one can expect from them but the presentation & direction is what makes this movie worth watching.