A review of Magnificent Seven
Good God, I hate westerns…
Saddle up and ride your horse down the ol’ dusty trail through the dessert – boring. Cowboys and Indians fighting over scraps of land and their right to live – boring. Drinkin’ whiskey at the saloon before getting into the big shootout because some asshole walked in and decided to show off his macho asshole side – booooooooooring. Romanticizing a time period with unspeakably bad medical conditions, lackluster technology, some twisted archaic code of hyper-masculine honor, excessive greed, Manifest goddamned Destiny, incredible ignorance, and just plain stupidity has never made sense to me. I’ve always preferred to take what lessons we need to learn from history and look toward building a better future – wishing for a better tomorrow rather than wishing I could live in the past. Because of this, westerns and medieval stories have to work extra hard to appeal to me. They really need to stand out and do something different for me to get into them.
In that case, The Magnificent Seven absolutely fails to hit any kind of mark. The
is mind-numbingly predictable – aside from one admittedly badass moment at the end that caught me off guard. There’s little-to-no character development – aside from one admittedly awful moment at the end that felt horribly rushed and shoehorned in. While the filmmaking itself is competent, it never stands out as something very special. It’s stale, bland, and uninteresting without being particularly bad. The whole movie looks quite good, and most of the actors turn in some solid performances even if every single character leaves less of an impression than a feather on a leather couch. It’s just your typical forgettable western film.
Unfortunately, that makes it difficult to dislike for any rational reason. Sure there were a few distracting edits and continuity issues between shots (it’s actually kind of funny how often you can play “spot the body” and see how often dead people disappear and reappear after various cuts) and the story could have been way more fleshed-out and engaging, but if you look past the blandness of it all it’s still pretty competently made. The problem is I can’t bring myself to use the words “well-made” – only “competent” and “decent” seem applicable. There’s no real soul or heart in any of it and the whole affair feels very paint-by-numbers. That strange feeling of made-by-committee/studio-mandated remake hangs heavy throughout the duration, and even if MGM/Sony really did let the filmmakers do whatever they wanted I would be surprised to find out anyone on the team had a vision for this thing. Truthfully, it’s a bit of a checklist movie as it plods along making sure to check each box on the Big Ol’ List of Boring Western Cliches.
Sorry, I didn’t mean to type that…must be a side-effect of this movie…
Oh right, there’s kind of a score – apparently, someone wrote the musical score to this. Now there’s a bit of an elephant in the room to address on this one since the score was being composed by James Horner until his untimely death in a plane crash last year and they hired Simon Franglen to complete it. Horner can be a pretty great composer when given room to create, but in keeping with the theme of this film the score is utterly and deathly
I need a new word. This movie was so boring that it’s making this review boring. Drab, let’s say the score was drab. The whole thing has that bland composed-to-emulate-the-almighty-fucking-temp-track feel – you know, the “movie soundtrack”-sounding soundtrack because it’s composed to sound like droll, lowest-common-denominator generic movie bullshit. I’m sorry if I sound angry, but this is a huge sore spot for me with modern film. It’s honestly getting to the point that I wouldn’t even hesitate to vote for legislation banning temp tracks (typically other film music that is put into a rough cut of a film so the asshat director can tell the composer “make it sound like this other bland, uninteresting thing I threw in here”). They’re a plague on creativity and absolutely destroy creativity and musical intrigue in film – but that’s a rant for another article.
Suffice it to say that, in the case of The Apparently Magnificent-In-Some-Way Seven, the music only contributes to the overall sense of monotony this film exudes ever so well. In fact, there was one scene in which I literally rolled my eyes and would absolutely put money down that I know exactly which recording they used as the temp track. Anyone who’s seen 1970’s Patton will likely have the same reaction…
I’m running into a wall here. The film is so unremarkable that it’s difficult to say much in the way of positive or negative reaction. Let’s try a positive one: the action scenes are pretty good but become tiring after a while because if you’ve seen any western ever then you’ve already seen cowboys running around shooting things. Well crap, that wasn’t entirely positive. Ultimately, that’s how this movie felt for me. Even the definitely positive aspects become muddled by the repetitive, unvaried, unimaginative, and…ugh, fine…boring nature of everything else in the film.
Bear in mind how horribly biased I am here – I almost started this review with the sentence “Is there anything worse than a western?” And even now, the first sentence is rather unfair. If you’re like me, this is an intense test of self-discipline so as not to scream out shrieks of exasperation in the theater. The Magnificent Seven isn’t quite as boring as Now You See Me 2 (the most unbearable mainstream release I’ve had the displeasure of painfully experiencing this year), but if you aren’t already a fan of westerns there’s no way this will win you over. For me personally, I would be content simply saying not to waste your time, but if you enjoy westerns it’s still competently crafted enough to warrant a viewing at a value theater or maybe on home release in the future.
Oh yeah…this movie is a remake…I don’t care…
What did you think about The Magnificent Seven? Let us know in the comments below!
Watch the trailer here:
Thanks for reading this article!
If you’d like to share your thoughts in reaction to what you just read, then feel free to leave a comment below or click here to submit your own opinion piece. The Dorkaholics Team is always on the look for new, additional voices to join us, share their own unique perspectives, and contribute to the diverse platform we are building in our corner of the internet and pop culture community.