The Magnificent Seven

A review of the 2016 remake.

When I reviewed  the 2010 remake of True Grit I said that what you think of that film would depend on whether you saw the original. Opinion on latest incarnation of The Magnificent Seven will probably also depend on whether you saw the 1960 film.

The first thing I noticed was that despite the sympathetic camera angles and photography, Denzel Washington who played the seven’s leader Chisholm, could not quite hide a slight paunch, something not seen on any in the original film.

I can still today name the seven characters and actors in the original Magnificent Seven. I had already forgotten five from the latest movie an hour after leaving the cinema.

Whilst the setting and the characters were different, the basic premise adapted to the 2016 movie was the same. The location had been moved away from a poor Mexican village forced to pay bandits. Here was a town being overrun by an unscrupulous gold mine owner. A few lines were kept from the original film too, which will be immediately obvious to viewers of my generation.

As we discover at the end of the film, the leader Chisholm had a different motivation for helping the town. It is hinted at early on but not explained until the end. The odds against the seven were much higher in the remake. The baddies numbered around 30 in the original. There was probably more than a hundred in the modern adaptation, making the chance of success quite improbable.

The 2016 remake of The Magnificent Seven is an good film. It will make money, but I do not think it will achieve the iconic status of the1960 movie. It was probably unwise to use Elmer Bernstein’s theme music of the original over the closing titles of the remake. It instantly brings the the original to mind, inviting comparison by those who know it.

“I’ve been offered a lot for my work but never everything.” – Chris 1960 and Chisholm 2016



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