BEN-HUR – Rated PG-13

Screen Shot 2016-03-16 at 8.51.03 AM

BEN-HUR – Rated PG-13

 Starring Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman and Nazanin Boniadi

Russian film director Timur Bekmambetov takes on the monumental task of recreating the 1959 11-time Academy Award winning classic, bringing this epic story to life for a younger viewing audience…This is BEN-HUR, the remake!

When we meet Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) and his adopted brother Messala Serverus (Toby Kebbell) they are acting just like brothers, horsing around racing their prize steeds. When Judah is injured, his life hangs in the balance, and it seems that their mother Naomi (Ayelet Zurer) is less than pleased with Messala, and his pegan gods of worship.

Feeling shunned and broken, Messala sets off to become a soldier in the Roman army, feeling a kindred tie to “his people”, that he is not feeling at home. When Messala returns with his own troop of soldiers, he is taken back when Judah doesn’t promise to keep “his Jews” from causing an uprising as they enter the City.

When Messala betrays Judah, and the rest of his family too, Judah is forced to work for years in the gallows of a ship, and is tortured daily.

Not knowing if his family is still alive, or not, and hoping that escape will some day be a possibility from this hell his brother put him in, Judah’s hatred grows towards Messala as the years pass by.

By chance Judah escapes, and returns to Jerusalem, with the assistance of an African by the name of Ilderim (Morgan Freeman).

With the assistance of Ilderim and his wife Ester (Nazanin Boniadi), Judah finds his way back to seek his revenge on Messala, only to find that after almost killing his brother ~ love, kindness and forgiveness are the only things that truly make this life worth living in the end…

I give BEN-HUR a rating of WAIT AND CATCH THIS FILM ON NETFILIX OR STREAMING ~ Why, oh why must we mess with THE CLASSICS, and an 11 time academy award winning one to boot? Your guess is as good as mine, as this film can’t hold a candle to the original, and as good as Huston is in his role as Judah (and he is good) he most definitely cannot hold a candle to Charlton Heston in this role. This film also needed some epic STAR POWER along the way to at least attempt to leave its mark, and without that in either of the brothers roles, this film was just destined to fade into the sunset from the very start. Plus, having viewed the original many times growing up, I was hoping to see that we at least attempted to make this film as epic and jaw dropping as it’s predecessor from a cinematography standpoint, but sadly, that didn’t happen either. And talk about slow ~ there are times in this films 124 minutes that I literally was fighting nodding off, as the storyline was just dragging on, and on, and on with no direction. The only positive in this film for me was the CGI sequences during the chariot races, that did catch my attention a little, and I did enjoy seeing Freeman back up on the big screen in his role too, but even Morgan’s portrayal as the horse trainer, who helps Judah find his way, is really nothing to write home about. Suffice to say, if you love the original film, don’t tarnish that epic, academy award winner by viewing this new one, as it truly cannot hold up to original Ben-Hur, some 57 years later.

Kathy Kaiser