Friday, August 19, 2016

Ben-Hur Movie Review

Jack Huston & Morgan Freeman (r) star in Ben-Hur

First to Finish, Last to Die

Rotten Tomatoes Plot: The epic story of Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell) an officer in the Roman army. Stripped of his title, separated from his family and the woman he loves, Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but an encounter with Jesus leads him to the Crucifixion, where he discovers forgiveness and finds redemption. Directed by Timur Bekmambetov.

First, the obvious: This isn't the 1959 version. Not even close. Bekmambetov's Ben-Hur is another animal altogether, one with its fair share of shortcomings. Don't get me wrong: It has a few good moments (naval battle, chariot race) but I dozed off for a few minutes, midway through, and left the theater in a fit of unintentional laughter. Huston pales in (unavoidable) comparison to Charlton Heston, and the film's lone star (Morgan Freeman) looks like he just stepped off the set of Battlefield Earth. Even the movie's religious tie-in arrives way too late to have any consequences. Why even bother?

Grade: C-