The Magnificent Seven is a modern day remake of a 1960 classic western that has enchanted movie-goers for decades. My father is one of these fans. We were expecting this movie to be a tribute to the original.
What we got, however, was an obvious product of Hollywood hoping to make money by selling to as many demographics as they can, and it just ends up feeling cheap and shallow. The cast is very diverse, which could have been really amazing, if it didn’t feel so contrived and calculated.
The one woman with a speaking role has a brave personality, skills with a gun and a desire to fight for those she loves. She would make an excellent female character, if they didn’t feel the need to dress her like an obvious sex item. It would be completely impractical and improper for her to wear those outfits in the actual Old West. Not really a step forward for women. Were they trying to please women with a strong female character, but compromised to give men a nice pair of boobs to look at? Typical Hollywood.
Beyond the female fashion design, this movie had little historical accuracy. For example, when the farmers are being trained to defend themselves with a rifle, they act like they have never touched one before, with some men being blown back from the force. Men in the old west would have been very familiar with rifles, as there were no grocery stores to shop for food in. They would probably even be excellent marksmen with plenty of practice shooting small birds and rabbits. Even women during this time period knew how to use them because rifles were pretty much necessary for survival.
The fight scenes are well choreographed and the action is intense, but almost too intense. Part of the beauty of old westerns, is that when people are shot, they tumble off their horses with little gore. This allows you to stomach the violence and not get overwhelmed by it. You can recognize the “badness” of the bad guys and feel victorious when the heroes win. In this movie however, the violence is more realistic, but that makes it more serious. It leaves you sad and with a bad taste in your mouth. Westerns are meant to be enjoyable and full of action and adventure, not make you sick to your stomach while one of the “good guys” wrenches his knife (complete with sound effects) in the bodies of guards.
Overall the movie was a shallow failure, designed to sell. The integrity is absent. It is not art, but a product. The plot sloppily leads up to the climactic action scene with half-baked side plots sprinkled along the way. On a positive note, the cinematography was quite good and the filming locations were beautiful.
During the movie, the audience did not laugh or giggle at the lame one-liners, no one smiled walking out, everyone looked like they had just wasted two hours of their life. Even my dad, who adores action, said “Well, that wasn’t very good. I’m not very impressed.”