Ralph Potts reviews this contemporary telling of the western film classic about seven gun men in the old west that gradually come together to help a poor village against savage thieves.

The Review at a Glance:
(max score: 5 )

Audio/UHD Video total rating:
( Max score: 100 )


Studio and Year: Sony Pictures - 2016
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Feature running time: 133 minutes
Genre: Western/Action

Disc Format: BD-66
Encoding: HEVC
Video Aspect: 2.39:1
Resolution: 2160p/24

Audio Format(s): English Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible), English DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio, Czech, French, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai Dolby Digital 5.1
Subtitles: English, English SDH, Arabic, Bulgarian, Chinese, Croatian, Czech, French, Greek, Hebrew, Hungarian, Japanese, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Thai, Romanian, Slovak, Slovene, Turkish, Thai
Starring: Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Vincent D’Onofrio, Byung-Hun Lee, Peter Sarsgaard, Ethan Hawke
Directed by: Antoine Fuqua
Music by: James Horner & Simon Franglen
Written by: Nic Pizzolatto and Ricjard Wenk
Region Code: A,B,C

Release Date: December 20, 2016
"Justice has a Number"
My Take:

In Director Antoine Fuqua's modern vision to a classic story, the desperate townspeople of Rose Creek employ protection from seven outlaws, bounty hunters, gamblers and hired guns after the town falls under the deadly control of industrialist Bartholomew Bogue. As they prepare the town for the violent showdown that they know is coming, these seven mercenaries find themselves fighting for more than money.

Remaking well regarded films can be a tricky thing and requires not only a fervent respect and understanding of the source material, but the desire to create something that will pay homage while adding something fresh. I think that Director Antoine Fuqua did just that with The Magnificent Seven. Adhering more to today’s action/thriller aesthetic it doesn’t have the iconic grit of the original but has no trouble standing on its own as an entertaining shoot ‘em up that features solid scripting, excellent production elements and a wonderful cast that all add to the fun. I appreciated the dedication put forth by both cast and crew as I could sense their devotion to the material both old and new. The end result is a great popcorn flick that I look forward to watching again.

Exclusive to The Magificent Seven Blu-ray is the interactive “Vengeance Mode,” where Denzel Washington, Chris Pratt, Ethan Hawke and the other members of the cast sat down together with director Antoine Fuqua to breakdown key scenes, share their best memories from the set and reflect on the extraordinary experience of making a classic western. “Vengeance Mode” combines behind the scenes footage with the group’s lively conversation to give viewers an all-access look at the process of bringing The Magnificent Seven to the screen. Also available exclusively on the Blu-ray are deleted scenes and two featurettes. “Gunslingers” shows the extensive firearms training the cast went through with the trainer to prepare for the film, while “The Taking of Rose Creek” is a breakdown of the first big shootout.

Parental Guide:

The rating is for extended and intense sequences of western violence, smoking, some language and suggestive material.

AUDIO/VIDEO - By The Numbers:REFERENCE= 92-100/EXCELLENT= 83-91/GOOD= 74-82/AVERAGE= 65-73/BELOW AVERAGE= under 65

**My audio/video ratings are based upon a comparative made against other high definition media/blu-ray disc.**

UHD Presentation: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Dolby Atmos Rating: 88
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Ultra HD Blu-ray has finally been released and eager enthusiasts are ready and willing to see what it has to offer. For those not familiar with the details regarding Ultra HD Blu-ray you can refer to my article that includes some pertinent data on the subject. Here is the link:

Ultra HD Blu-ray Has Come to AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

The Magnificent Seven comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 2160pHEVC encoded video and lossless Dolby Atmos (Dolby TrueHD 7.1 compatible) sound.

For its presentation in Ultra HD The Magnificent Seven was rendered from a 2K DI and up-converted to 4K. With the limited exposure to Ultra HD sourced from a 4K Digital Intermediates we are left to judge based upon what we have seen thus far.

This is a solid Ultra HD presentation that looks great on my large screen. What struck me from the onset is the lifelike reproduction of the textures captured by the camera's lens. Whether it be the finest minutia in physical features or rough textures on the surfaces of the wooden building, wagons etc., or the majestic vistas of the shooting locations, the imagery is gorgeous. The benefits of high dynamic range and wide color gamut are on display throughout as earth toned colors have an added dimension that enlivens shots where they would normally have blended in, being seen as a less provocative background element that would generally go unnoticed. Whites are emboldened, detailed and bright, especially during low level transitions viewed in a darkened environment. Contrast abounds, lending an authenticity that underscores the subject matter, bringing it to a visually rewarding level.

Shot on film, this rendering makes the most of its original elements, which are excellent. Looking at the 1080p, which is solid as well, the difference is noticeable, but not what I would describe as eye opening. That being said there is no question about which of the two makes for the most gratifying viewing experience.

In listening to the Dolby Atmos surround mix I found it to be of the moderately active variety that makes steady use of the platform. Its use of audio objects placed above is a mix of atmospherics, music and discrete sound effects. This is done very well and creates a tangible level of immersion that coincides with the onscreen events nicely, especially when things ramp up during the western fight sequences. Speaking of which, everything really comes together for the first time during the first encounter at Rose Creek as near field objects, and multi-dimensional ambience places you inside the scene (literally) as sounds rotate and revolve around the soundstage from both above and at ear level. While this isn’t what I would regard as an aggressive Atmos mix I enjoyed the balance of atmosphere combined with discrete object placement. I think that it complimented the source material and made for an entertaining listening experience.

Blu-ray Video:

Video: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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Audio: 94
(Each rating is worth 4 points with a max of 5 per category)

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The Magnificent Seven comes to Blu-ray Disc from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment featuring 1080p AVC encoded video that has an average bitrate of 21 Mbps and lossless DTS-HD 7.1 Master Audio sound that has an average bitrate of 2.5 Mbps.

This film has a visual style that doesn’t always lend itself to vibrant colors and vivid high gloss video quality. There are instances where brighter elements are utilized and the boldly applied contrast allows them to pop visually. Otherwise onscreen images predominantly lean toward color schemes, and grittier textures that provide the look that the filmmakers use to drive the story’s components. This is done to good effect. Shadow delineation is good overall and revealing of visible details within dark backgrounds and low lighting. Stable contrast and deep blacks allow scenes containing mixed content to appear gradationally satisfying with crisp whites and dynamic highlights. Resolution is discerning as images are characterized by intricate and definitively rendered detail that gives the video appreciable dimension and delineated texture. This is the case in all but a few instances where definition softens and doesn’t retain the same level of lucidity.

Incorporating elements of western action, a film like this relies heavily on its soundtrack to elicit the intended effect upon the audience, and this DTS-HD Master Audio does just that. This is a fairly aggressive surround sound mix that features an array of well-placed sound effects that engage the listening position. The room is illuminated with an array of sounds that are both directional and ambient in nature. I appreciated the attention to detail that went into creating the surround mix as it effectively replicates the environments featured in the film. Bass reproduction is clean and hard hitting as it accentuates the audio’s excellent dynamic range with palpable impact. Dialog intelligibility is never a problem even during the film’s active moments. This is a great surround sound experience that made this film a bit more enjoyable.

Bonus Features:
  • Disc 1: The Magnificent Seven Ultra HD Blu-ray
    Disc 2: The Magnificent Seven Blu-ray
  • (HD) Vengeance Mode (See Description Above)
  • (HD) 4 Deleted Scenes
  • (HD) Six Featurettes (Totaling 32 minutes):
    1. Gunslingers
    2. The Taking of Rose Creek
    3. Magnificent Music
    4. Directing the Seven
    5. The Seven
    6. Rogue Bogue
  • Digital HD Copy
Final Thoughts:

The Magnificent Seven is Director Antoine Fuqua's modern vision to a classic story that pays homage to the original while adding a contemporary flavor. It isn’t destined for classic status but it’s an entertaining popcorn flick that I enjoyed. It comes to Ultra HD Blu-ray in this Combo Pack from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment that features rewarding /ultra HD video, engaging lossless surround sound, including a solid Dolby Atmos immersive mix, and a fan friendly supplemental package. The Magnificent Seven is just plain fun and easily worth a recommendation on Blu-ray.
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Ralph Potts
AVS Forum Blu-ray Reviews

Reference Review System:
JVC DLA-RS500 3D/4K Ready High Definition Front Projector
(Calibrated with Calman 5 & C6-HDR Meter from Spectracal )
Stewart Filmscreen - Studiotek 130 G3 100” 16x9 Screen
Carada Masquerade Horizontal Masking System
Marantz AV8802A 13.2 Channel Audio/Video Processor
Sherbourn Technologies - 7/200 Seven Channel Amplifier
B&K Reference 200.7 Series 2 Seven Channel Amplifier
Oppo BDP-103D Universal Disc/3D capable Blu-ray Player
Samsung UBD-K8500 Ultra HD Blu-ray Player
Sony Playstation 3 Blu-ray disc Player
System Controller: Apple iPad/iRule Pro HD Universal Remote Control
Canton "Ergo" and In-Ceiling series speakers
Axiom Audio QS8 Quadpolar speakers
SVS PB-13 Ultra (Rosenut finish)
SVS SB-13 Ultra (Piano Gloss finish)
Panamax M5400-PM Power Conditioner/Surge Protector
Wireworld, Better Cables (Silver Serpent) - Audio/Video/Speaker Cabling
Cool Components - CP-CP102 cooling package