The Magnificent Seven (2016) Soundtrack Review: This is a review of the film score The Magnificent Seven by James Horner & Simon Franglen.
At a glance:
Geek Score: 81.6
Total Minutes Of Excellence: 14
Album Excellence: 18.2%
The Magnificent Seven is a 2016 American western film directed by Antoine Fuqua and starring Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt & Ethan Hawke. It’s a remake of the 1960 western film of the same name. Looking to mine for gold, greedy industrialist Bartholomew Bogue seizes control of the Old West town of Rose Creek. With their lives in jeopardy, Emma Cullen and other desperate residents turn to bounty hunter Sam Chisolm (Denzel Washington) for help. Chisolm recruits an eclectic group of gunslingers to take on Bogue and his ruthless henchmen. With a deadly showdown on the horizon, the seven mercenaries soon find themselves fighting for more than just money once the bullets start to fly. The score is composed by James Horner & Simon Franglen.
James Horner, before he passed away, did score a portion of this film, but not all. I don’t know how much he scored, but the general consensus is that he created the themes which hopefully is driving the score. Now the 1960’s score to the original film by Elmer Bernstein is a western classic and can’t ever be beaten. I see that at the end they have credited Bernstein so I guess it’s a reprise of his classic theme. I know that theme well, but I want to hear what themes Horner had left in him before his untimely passing. The score opens with ‘Rose Creek Oppression’ and it’s dark, really dark. The horn reminds me a bit of Horner’s classic 80s horror/sci-fi music. Very haunting, very intriguing. Not very western-like, but enjoyable on a very different level. ‘Seven Angels Of Vengeance’ is a less interesting action piece for the first minute, it feels a bit generic. There’s a theme right after that, a theme that hopefully will be expanded and put to good use and not buried in a sea of action. There’s definitely signs of Horner in ‘Lighting The Fuse’, another action cue. You can hear his signature in there, you know the one I’m talking about, you either hate it or love it. I miss it. The music itself good but not very inspiring though.
Now ‘Volcano Springs’ has me smiling. It’s a more “classic” western feel to the music, a bit Bernstein-ish if you will. I believe that’s Bernstein’s theme being used, or a variation of it. Horner’s Shakuhachi is of course never far away when Horner creates some music and so it should be. So far it feels like a mix of Horner and Franglen and that’s the way it’s supposed to be I guess. In ‘Magic Trick’ we can hear Horner’s famous “piano thunder roll”, but one thing that is missing, and this is the most important part, it’s missing themes. Apart from that Bernstein variation, there’s nothing to shout about. There’s a nice theme in ‘Robicheaux Reunion’, a little classic romance there, but it’s not a great theme in my opinion. There’s another romantic theme in ‘A Bear In People’s Clothes’, but I still feel that the score is being far too much constrained. ‘Town Exodus – Knife Training’ has my favourite theme of the score, a lovely romantic theme that gets to live, that gets to breathe. ‘Seven Riders’ is also up there with a nice heroic theme, but why wasn’t it used more in the score itself? Sadly this score isn’t waking up for me, or maybe it’s me who is asleep? It’s good, but I had expected a lot more. I can’t find the many wonderful themes I had hoped of hearing, not even one amazing one that I had hoped would carry most of the score. You listen to the final cue ‘The Magnificent Seven’ by Elmer Bernstein and it’s a totally different world (even though the re-recording sounds a little bit off in my ears). If I had to pick between Bernstein and Horner, Horner would win every time at this point, but when it comes to this score versus the classic 60s version, there’s no doubt in my mind which one excites me, and it’s not this one.
1. Rose Creek Oppression
4. Volcano Springs
13. Town Exodus – Knife Training
21. Faraday’s Ride
25. Seven Riders
26. The Magnificent Seven *