Ben-Hur (2016)

PG-13   |    |  Action, Adventure, Drama


Ben-Hur (2016) Poster

Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army, returns to his homeland after years at sea to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

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5.7/10
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  • Jack Huston in Ben-Hur (2016)
  • Ben-Hur (2016)
  • Morgan Freeman and Timur Bekmambetov in Ben-Hur (2016)
  • Morgan Freeman and Jack Huston in Ben-Hur (2016)
  • Denise Tantucci in Ben-Hur (2016)
  • Nazanin Boniadi and Denise Tantucci in Ben-Hur (2016)

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19 August 2016 | DanielRobertRoss
4
| Another Hollywood remake...
Hollywood remakes. For every Ocean's 11, there's 10 Willy Wonkas. So here we are saddled with another previously untouchable classic getting a slickly made, soulless studio remake. But is it fair to judge it just because it's a remake? Or does it succeed on its own merits?

I love the William Wyler '59 original classic, and watch it often. The quoteable lines are brilliant. "Your eyes are full of hate, 41. That's good. Hate keeps a man alive". Charlton Heston is great as Ben Hur. And that chariot race is one of the greatest action spectacles ever put on the silver screen.

I just can't envisage myself re- watching this. The effects are impressive, but any tosspot on a computer can conjure up digitally creative wowzers, so that is no selling point. And the action is predictably impressive, but it's so stagnant, slick and with no standout unforgettable moment. Jack Huston brings nothing new to the role of Ben- Hur, and Morgan Freeman clearly has a new flat screen TV to pay for, so he shows up to phone it in.

For the past 16 years we've seen sword & sandal epics go from fun genre revival (Gladiator) to moribund cliché (Hercules, 300 Rise of the Empire). In fact Rodrigo Santoro (Xerxes from 300) shows up as Jesus Christ this time. From Persian tyrant to Jewish prophet, now that's an improvement.

I left the cinema knowing that I'll forget about this in 3 weeks. Remakes can improve on the original (The Fly, The Thing, the '59 Ben-Hur is itself a remake of an early silent B&W version). But you risk falling into trap of being so slavishly loyal to the original that to redo the film becomes pointless (Pyscho).

I can't recommend paying full cinema price. Stay at home and watch the '59 original. On the small screen, Chuck Heston commands a stronger presence than anyone in this large screen bore.

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