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SONY

MOVIE INFO

Director:
Antoine Fuqua
Cast:
Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke
Writing Credits:
Richard Wenk, Nic Pizzolatto

Synopsis:
Seven gunmen from a variety of backgrounds are brought together by a vengeful young widow to protect her town from the private army of a destructive industrialist.

Box Office:
Budget
$90 million.
Opening Weekend
$34,703,397 on 3674 Screens.
Domestic Gross
$93,432,655.

MPAA:
Rated PG-13.

DISC DETAILS
Presentation:
Aspect Ratio: 2.39:1
Audio:
English DTS-HD MA 7.1
English Audio Descriptive Service
Spanish Dolby 5.1
Subtitles:
English
Spanish
Closed-captioned
Supplements Subtitles:
English
Spanish

Runtime:
133 min.
Price: $14.99
Release Date: 12/20/2016

Bonus:
• “Vengeance Mode”
• Deleted Scenes
• “The Seven” Featurette
• “Directing the Seven” Featurette
• “The Taking of Rose Creek” Featurette
• “Rogue Bogue” Featurette
• “Gunslingers” Featurette
• “Magnificent Music” Featurette
• Previews


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RELATED REVIEWS


The Magnificent Seven [Blu-Ray] (2016)

Reviewed by Colin Jacobson (January 12, 2020)

An update on a classic Western, 2016’s The Magnificent Seven takes us to the small frontier town of Rose Creek circa 1879. The locals find themselves under the thumb of Bartholomew Bogue (Peter Sarsgaard), a gold baron who attempts to bully the residents so he can claim their land.

Matthew Cullen (Matt Bomer) attempts to fight back against Bogue. However, Bogue kills the man and torches the local church.

Left bereft of options, Matthew’s widow Emma (Haley Bennett) flees and seeks help. She finds US Marshal Sam Chisholm (Denzel Washington) and eventually recruits him to her cause.

Because one man against Bogue’s minions won’t suffice, Chisholm rounds up his own squad. He ends up with a team of misfits who battle to eradicate Rose Creek of Bogue’s menace.

It seems unfair to label Seven as a simple remake, for in truth, it acts as a remake of a remake. Akira Kurosawa’s 1954 classic Seven Samurai served as the source of this story, and that means 1960’s Magnificent Seven offered the first remake.

The premise doesn’t stop there, of course, as other movies went with the same concept. For instance, 1998’s A Bug’s Life offers a clever variation on the theme.

Since the 2016 Seven shares the title of the 1960 film and because the latter remains so well-regarded, though, many will view it as a direct remake. It’s mostly film buffs who get that the 1960 flick was a reworking in its own right anyway.

However many movies have operated on the same narrative themes, a film that calls itself Magnificent Seven will obviously create strong comparisons with the 1960 release, especially since the latter attained “classic” status years ago. While not a bad flick, the 2016 version doesn’t compare well with its predecessor.

Or Samurai - or Bug’s Life, for that matter. The 2016 Seven feels more workmanlike than inspiring, and it becomes a mediocre journey.

On the positive side, the film comes with an excellent cast, and some of them provide solid performances. Hawke brings depth to the legend who lost his nerve, and Vincent D'Onofrio adds warmth to an underwritten role.

Sarsgaard also offers an unusual choice as the villain, but he does well. He seems suitably oily and creates a character whose comeuppance we eagerly await.

Unfortunately, our main leads fare less well, as Washington and Pratt seem to coast through too much of the movie and lack real investment. The other roles receive too little screentime to make much of a dent.

My main problem with Seven stems from a general absence of inspiration. It does what it thinks it needs to do but never finds much room for creativity or excitement.

This means the movie feels more dutiful than thrilling. We get a flick that hits the expected notes but it fails to convey the tension and energy it needs to make it work.

Ultimately, Seven tends to feel “by the numbers”, so it adds nothing new to the story or genre. It remains perfectly watchable but it becomes slow and not especially interesting.


The Disc Grades: Picture B+/ Audio B+/ Bonus B-

The Magnificent Seven appears in an aspect ratio of 2.39:1 on this Blu-ray Disc. The film boasted fine visuals.

Sharpness worked well. While the occasional wide shot betrayed a sliver of softness, the majority of material appeared accurate and concise. No issues with moiré effects or jaggies occurred, and I saw neither edge haloes nor source flaws.

In this Western setting, the film favored a fairly amber/orange palette, with a fair amount of teal thrown in as well. Within the stylistic constraints, the Blu-ray reproduced the colors in a favorable manner.

Blacks came across as deep and dense, while shadows appeared smooth and well-developed. The movie offered pleasing picture quality.

Just as good, the movie’s DTS-HD MA 7.1 audio also satisfied. Music showed nice stereo presence, while effects added immersive material. The action sequences boasted fine use of the side and rear speakers, all of which brought us into the story well.

Audio quality seemed strong. Music was full and rich, while dialogue seemed natural and distinctive.

Effects offered clear elements, with warm, tight lows. I liked the soundtrack for Seven.

As we head to extras, Vengeance Mode brings a series of video clips that pop up as the movie runs. In these, director Antoine Fuqua and actors Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Martin Sensmeier and Manuel Garcia-Rulfo discuss a mix of topics.

They appear 19 times during the movie and they cover why they came to the project, cast and performances, story/character areas, sets and locations, working with horses, stunts and action.

In total, we find 40 minutes, 18 seconds of comments from Fuqua and the actors, though expect most of these in the movie’s first half, as they peter out along the way.

On their own, these clips work fine, as they give us some interesting tidbits. However, they create a distraction when they interrupt the movie, and they don’t act like a real commentary, so there’s no need for the videos to accompany the film. We’d have been better served by a simple featurette with Fuqua and the cast.

Speaking of which, six additional featurettes appear, and The Seven runs eight minutes, 36 seconds. It provides notes from Pratt, Fuqua, Washington, Hawke, Lee, Sensmeier, D’Onofrio, Garcia-Rulfo, screenwriter Richard Wenk, producers Todd Black and Roger Birnbaum, and actor Haley Bennett.

“Seven” examines cast, characters and performances. Some of this repeats from “Vengeance”, and the rest lacks a lot of substance.

Directing the Seven fills five minutes, three seconds with statements from Washington, Fuqua, Hawke, Birnbaum, Black, Pratt, D’Onofrio, and actor Peter Sarsgaard.

As implied by the title, this show looks at Fuqua’s work as director. It brings a few useful thoughts but mostly tells us of Fuqua’s greatness.

Next comes The Taking of Rose Creek, a five-minute, 16-second segment with Washington, Hawke, Pratt, Fuqua, Bennett, Wenk, Birnbaum, Sensmeier, D’Onofrio, stuntmen Rick Moffatt and Oakley Lehman, 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator Jeff Dashnaw, and stunt coordinator Chad Dashnaw.

They look at elements connected to the movie’s climactic battle. We get another mix of praise and facts.

The villain comes to the fore in Rogue Bogue, a five-minute, 26-second clip with Washington, Sarsgaard, Black, D’Onofrio, and costume designer Sharen Davis. As expected, we hear about the Bogue character and Sarsgaard’s performance in this mediocre piece.

Gunslingers spans four minutes, 55 seconds with info from Pratt, Washington, Fuqua, Bennett, Black, Garcia-Rulfo, armorer/gun trainer Thell Reed, and co-producer Kat Samick.

Here we learn about the weapons featured in the film as well as the actors’ training. It becomes a competent overview.

For the final featurette, we get Magnificent Music. It goes for four minutes, 10 seconds and includes Fuqua, Samick, Black, music editors Joe E. Rand and Jim Henriksen, additional music composers Simon Rhodes and Simon Franglen. We get a few good insights related to the film’s score.

Four Deleted Scenes occupy a total of seven minutes, 29 seconds. These tend toward character embellishments, most of which focus on secondary roles. None seem especially compelling.

The disc opens with ads for Ghostbusters (2016), Inferno and Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, Don’t Breathe and Passengers (2016). No trailer for Seven appears here.

When filmmakers remake classics, they need to hurdle a high bar, and the 2016 version of The Magnificent Seven can’t reach the necessary heights. While well-cast and perfectly serviceable, it never turns into anything particularly dynamic. The Blu-ray offers strong picture and audio along with a moderately useful package of bonus features. Seven doesn’t flop but it disappoints.

Viewer Film Ratings: 3 Stars Number of Votes: 2
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