Movie Title: Ben Hur
Rating: PG-13, 124 minutes
In a Nutshell: I grew up watching the 1959 Oscar-winning original every Easter when it would play on TV.
As a Christian, I’m always grateful to see religious-based movies hit the Big Screen. However, as a Christian, I’m often disappointed.
While the Charlton Heston adaptation earned 11 Academy Awards, this 6th version will be mostly forgotten. Watch the original instead.
- Revenge vs. forgiveness
- Mercy vs. justice
- Fear vs. faith
- Kindness vs. brutality
Things I liked:
- This was filmed at the same site in Rome as the 1959 movie.
- Some of the sets were actually very good.
- The Roman ship battle scene was very impressive. You’ll want to take a deep breath when it’s over.
- The chariot race towards the end was brutal, action-packed, and pretty exciting.
- Cheers to married couple Roma Downey and Mark Burnett who keep trying to bring family-friendly, inspiring movies to Christian audiences. In fact, this adaptation shows more scenes with Jesus than any other version of Ben-Hur.
- Jack Huston sells us on his character's development.
Things I didn’t like:
- It doesn’t seem to have the same heart and soul as the Charlton Heston version.
- The first half of the movie was a bit of a snore fest.
- Choppy editing.
- There is a lot of very obvious foreshadowing.
- This remake doesn’t really add anything new or even offer a different perspective to give audiences a reason to watch it.
- A lot of CGI, although it was done well.
- I always feel so sad for the horses in these sandal and sword movies.
- I wanted to cry and really feel something, but the few touching scenes were too rushed.
- Yeow! Yeow! Yeow! Yeow! (chariot race)
- This remake is half the length of Charlton Heston’s famous film that lasted almost four hours. Granted, four hours is really too long for a movie (the popcorn only lasts 20 minutes). I guess you could call this version “efficient.”
- This movie will give you a headache if you see it in 3D. 2D is perfectly fine and enough.
- When you see Morgan Freeman playing the old sage, you know this movie isn’t going to be offering anything new. I mean, how many times have we seen him play that role already? Don’t get me wrong. I do love him. But wait, Morgan Freeman in dreadlocks? That's new.
- “What should I do?” – Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston)
“You’ve done enough. Now pray!” – Naomi (Ayelet Zurer)
- “Love your enemies.” – Jesus (Rodrigo Santoro)
“That’s progressive.” – Judah
“It’s the truth.” – Jesus
- “We don’t kill all Romans.” – girl in tent
“Well, that’s not very comforting to the dead ones.” – Judah
- “You confuse peace with freedom.” – man in tent
- “You should have stayed away.” – Messala (Toby Kebbell)
“You should have killed me.” – Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston)
“I will.” – Messala
Tips for parents:
- Fighting, blood, suffering, drowning, trampling. In other words, LOTS of violent sequences.
- Some kids just don't like older movies, so this newest version of Ben-Hur will be a nice introduction to this loosely-based Bible story for them.