Less than Magnificent
The problems that come with re-making a movie
By Colin Macgillivray, Contributor
It’s never an easy task to remake a movie. That tasks’ difficulty increases tenfold when you are remaking a remake, but that is exactly what director Antoine Fuqua decided to do with his newest project, The Magnificent Seven, a film about an eclectic group of 7 gunslingers who gradually come together to defend the Old West town of Rose Creek from the greedy, industrialist Bartholomew Bogue, and his ruthless henchman. With a talented ensemble cast which includes the ever reliable Denzel Washington and Hollywood’s newest golden boy Chris Pratt, Fuqua delivers a slick and stylized update to the 1960’s original, but is unfortunately unable to capture the same magic the original was able to produce.
The Magnificent Seven seems tailor made for audiences who are so used to their heroes travelling in packs. The Avengers or Suicide Squad approach may seem worn out at this point, but Fuqua’s saving grace is just how incredibly charismatic each of his major players are. From Washington’s black clad bounty hunter, Sam Chisolm, to Pratt’s witty, whiskey loving Josh Faraday, each character shines whenever they are on screen.
Unfortunately, the problem with an ensemble cast with so many talented actors is that they all fight for screen time. Clocking in at just over two hours, The Magnificent Seven seems like it would have plenty of time to flesh out all of it’s characters? Wrong. My biggest gripe with this movie is the fact that we really learn nothing about most of the characters. All of them are well acted, but unfortunately there is relatively no character development to speak of.
It’s a shame that Fuqua decided to dedicate so much time to action sequences, because as fun as they may be, there is only so many times I can watch nameless cowboys be shot by Chris Pratt. However, the few times Fuqua does decide to flesh out his characters, it’s golden. Washington and Ethan Hawke, who plays the infamous marksman, “Goodnight” Robicheaux, recapture the incredible chemistry they had on the set of Training Day, another one of Fuqua’s films. Peter Sarsgaard’s portrayal of the nefarious Bartholomew Bogue is an incredible performance, but it is marred due to the fact that his henchman appear on screen more than he does.
With a more dialogue driven film, Fuqua might have delivered more nuance. Story elements are missing as well, which was never more on display than when Manuel Garcia-Rulfo’s Vasquez, a notorious Mexican outlaw, agrees to help defend the town because he has “nothing better to do.”
The Magnificent Seven is not a bad film, but it’s not a great one either. It brings some subtle differences from the 1960’s original, an incredibly charismatic cast, and some exciting action sequences, but the lack of character development and story really keep The Magnificent Seven from being magnificent.