Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Starring: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell
Some Cecil B Demille wannabe in Hollywood thought up an ingenious idea: 'Let’s remake Ben Hur!' - What a CHARIOT-WRECK I mean TRAINWRECK! Is it any wonder this film has been declared a box office disaster after a week in cinemas? What's wrong with it? For a shorter answer let's explore what's right with it…nothing!
The cast were mostly unknown and performed mediocre at best, the musical score was very bland, it was impossible to feel any sensitivity towards the characters & the classic story had been tampered with. The film felt like a movie-of-the week produced for the Christian Cable Network.
The grandeur & religious atmosphere which was evident throughout the classic 1959 film was completely non-existent. Long gone are the days when stellar actors from the golden years of Hollywood graced the silver screen - they would have made this film work.
In the 1959 version when Jesus appeared on screen audiences were mesmerized & actually believed he was Jesus owing to the superb casting, brilliant acting, precisive direction and the beautiful angelic musical score. All these qualities compounded to make the sequence effective. In this revival the actor who portrayed Jesus radiated zero religious qualities and it wasn’t at first obvious who he was.
The film also lacked direction and some of the CGI was noticeably fake. Ultimately the questions that need to be addressed are: Why would any studio attempt to remake such a classic? Did they honestly believe they could improve on the original? Should classics be left alone?
This generation of movie goers don't pay to see 'sandle and sword' epics as highlighted by poor box office returns on most films of this genre (except Gladiator), so who authorised the extreme budget of US$100 million to produce this film? For optimum enjoyment revisit the classic Charlton Heston version. JAKE