Monday, March 27, 2017

Seven not so Magnificent Reasons

Movie Reviewed: The Magnificent Seven

Director: Antoine Fuqua

Date: 27 March 2017

jamesintexas rating-- **

1. Denzel Washington can do anything.  He's eminently watchable, and even when given very little to do here other than posture in amazing clothing, he can do it.  He has never done a western, and now he has.

2. Chris Pratt is charming and trying to have more gravitas.  Even if he fails at it, he's fun to watch.

3. Montages of training villagers to fight in creative ways to set up the climactic final battle are always appealing, even though the thrust of this film is to just wait, and wait, and wait until the end battle.  The look of the film is grand with swooping cameras and colors that pop.

4. The Magnificent Seven reminds us obviously of the original and of The Seven Samurai.  And, a late-film development is an homage or borrowing from The Outlaw Josey Wales.  All of those movies I want to watch again.  This one, not as much.

5. The rest of the Magnificent Seven (Ethan Hawke, Vincent D'Onofrio, Byung-hun Lee, Manuel Garcia-Ruffalo, and Martin Sensmeier) are given so little to say or do that they hardly register in the film. Characters just show up and join the group.  Each one has a particular trait, way of talking, and/or costume that substitutes for character development.  I do not think that the movie has to be significantly longer, but I think that more moments and conversations among these warriors would have made the final scenes more powerful

6. Every Western needs a bad guy that can ratchet up the tension.  I like Peter Sarsgaard, but here, he essentially needs a mustache to twirl and a cape to embody one-dimensional evil.  How can one man equal all seven of the opposing performances?  Also, he is not in the film enough to offer much of a counterweight.

7.  The film's premise involves gigantic acts of mass violence committed in public, basically all-out warfare with heavy casualties on both sides.  The film need not consider the psychological or moral weight of what it does in defense of its own righteousness.  A wrong must be righted. It's best the less thought about its ramifications.  It offers revenge as soul-cleansing in as brutally violent a PG-13 film can be.  I do not think that it will be remembered fondly.

Image result for the magnificent seven denzel 2016

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