Movie Review – Ben-Hur (2016)

Jesus H. Christ!  What a great movie!

Ha. Blasphemous wit.

BQB here with a review of the biblical epic Ben-Hur.

I suppose you could call this a remake of the classic Charlton Heston film of the same name from 1959.

Then again, what was that 1959 movie other than a re-telling of a tale as old as time?

Jack Huston, formerly of Boardwalk Empire, stars as Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy Jewish prince falsely accused by his brother, Roman Army Officer Messala Severus (Tony Kebbell) of committing treason against Rome.

Blah blah blah…stuff happens, more stuff happens….Ben-Hur loses everything and the former brothers who once loved each other very much end up competing in a chariot race.

Boy howdy, 3.5 readers, let me tell you, chariot races were some gruesome shit.

Horses get bashed (I don’t think they really were, obviously, but you still hate to see that), drivers get trampled and maimed, but its what ancient Romans did for entertainment back in the day I guess.  Without TV, Internet, or blogs catering to 3.5 readers, a bunch of sweaty assholes riding around and around a track colliding their chariots into each other was about as entertaining as it got.

Director Timur Bekmambetov does yeoman’s work in transporting the viewer to historic times.  Everything’s more or less authentic as possible while still being understandable to the modern viewer.

Morgan Freeman rounds out the cast as Ilderim, the traveling gambler who sponsors chariot drivers, putting up his horses and chariots and making his money off wagers.

Ilderim ends up being the Mickey to Ben-Hur’s Rocky, sponsoring him in a race against Messala.

Jesus (Roderigo Santoro) makes a cameo.  It was a bit surreal to see a movie where Jesus is part of the supporting cast rather than a main character, but it works.

I complain about Hollywood constantly on this blog so when the Tinsel Town suits do something good, I have to give them credit, and credit is due here.

This movie is a sweeping historical epic based on a biblical tale.  A ton of cash was clearly doled out to make it.  One can take a look at the big chariot race scene to see that.

Historical/biblical tales just aren’t being lapped up by today’s modern viewers, who can’t pull their dumb faces away from their cell phones for 3.5 minutes in order to learn something.

In fact, I’m sure there are a lot of people who see a movie like Ben-Hur and think, “Pass. I don’t want to learn anything.”

Ironically, there are a lot of messages about war, relations between countries and different groups of people, the need for peace or “to turn the other cheek” as cameo star Jesus taught us.

I enjoyed it. It deserves a big audience and recognition. I’m not sure today’s take a selfie every two seconds crowd will provide it, but here’s hoping they prove me wrong.

Will it draw in the big bucks? Probably not.  But Hollywood sunk cash into an effort to preserve history and educate people about the past by funding a movie that doesn’t quite fit the mold of a box office smash, so I applaud the Hollywood suits for proving they aren’t all bad.

STATUS: Shelf-worthy.

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4 thoughts on “Movie Review – Ben-Hur (2016)

  1. gpavants says:

    I have been praying that this movie does the book and the original film justice. How powerful the truth is.

  2. Liam says:

    I remember liking the 1959 movie (which was a remake of a silent film from the 1920, btw) when I was a kid. Sounds like this version is basically the same with production standards of the 2000s. Not sure if I feel any *need* to see it, but then again the star of this version probably won’t end up as head of the NRA.

    • I enjoyed it. I think it will lose out at the Box Office to a movie about a talking, fornicating sausage. That might be an unfortunate commentary on the state of things…or a lack of talking, fornicating sausage movies in 1959.

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