Tuesday, 19 March 2019

Seven into 2016 is sum achievement

ABOUT 20 years back, synthpop legends Depeche Mode released a single called It’s No Good.

ABOUT 20 years back, synthpop legends Depeche Mode released a single called It’s No Good.

The response from one music press reviewer who didn’t like the Basildon trio was gleeful: “Agreed. Next!”

The Magnificent Seven, which hits cinema screens this weekend, has the opposite problem. Those seven had better be pretty damn magnificent...

Directed by Training Day helmsman Antoine Fuqua, the film is a remake/reboot of John Sturges’s classic 1960 western starring Yul Brynner and Steve McQueen that spawned three sequels and went on to become the second most shown film in US television history. Sturges’s western was itself a remake of Akira Kurosawa’s Seven Samurai (1954) — deservedly a staple of the “best film” lists ever since.

That told the story of a village of farmers that hires seven ronin (masterless samurai) to fight off bandits who plan to return after the harvest to steal their crops. Swap samurai for cowboys and you have...

Despite the 1960 film’s mixed reception from US critics, Kurosawa was said to have been so impressed by Sturges’s adaptation that he presented the American with a sword.

Conscious of all this, how did Antoine Fuqua feel about being asked to tell the story for 2016 audiences?

“When I first said yes, it was on my mind. Absolutely. But once you go in, you just go in. You just say, ‘OK, I’m going do it and make my version of it.’

“My big lesson so far is that when you do that you have to respect the film’s DNA and you have to respect certain elements of the film — because when you respect that you’re respecting the people that love the film.

“On Magnificent Seven I kept reminding myself of when I was a 12-year-old boy, when I was a kid watching it with my grandmother, what was the feeling I had? How much fun was it? How cool were they?

“For me, I always had my grandmother in my mind when making a film. Would she enjoy this film?”

The Magnificent Seven is showing at Henley’s Regal Picturehouse from today (Friday).

Review: Matthew Wilson

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