Toby Kebbell plays Messala Severus and Jack Huston plays Judah Ben-Hur in a scene from Ben-Hur.
Toby Kebbell plays Messala Severus and Jack Huston plays Judah Ben-Hur in a scene from Ben-Hur. Philippe Antonello

MOVIE REVIEW: Ben-Hur isn't likely to become a new classic

I DON'T want to immediately start comparing 2016's Ben-Hur to the 1959 Charlton Heston classic, however, you don't remake one of the biggest and most iconic pictures of all time without expecting the audience to carry that weight with them as they take their seats.

Of course, this isn't at all uncharted territory. Overall this probably shouldn't be considered a remake as much as another adaptation of the late 19th century novel, Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.

Looking at it in these terms, suddenly the prospect of another Ben-Hur movie doesn't seem like the cinematic suicide it did before and actually may be a good opportunity to view the source material through a more modern, progressive lens, giving the iconic tale a resurrected life and purpose.

Plus with Academy Award-winning screenwriter John Ridley on writing duties, what could go wrong?

Morgan Freeman and Jack Huston in a scene from the movie Ben-Hur.
Morgan Freeman and Jack Huston in a scene from the movie Ben-Hur. Philippe Antonello

Unfortunately, Ben-Hur fails to capture the grandeur and scope of the source material, and past adaptations, and somehow feels just as dated.

The, sadly, whitewashed cast give it their all and do an overall good job in their celebrated roles, but it's not enough to make up for an already two-hour movie that never finds the depth and emotion promised by an undeniably powerful story.

The life, fall, vengeance and redemption of Judean prince Judah Ben-Hur is a tale of such epic proportions that any version of it needs to feel suitably epic, which this abridgement simply doesn't.

It has good ideas backed by good moments that may be enough for other, less prestigious Hollywood movies, but therein lies the problem: this isn't a typical Hollywood movie; this is Ben-Hur.

Anything less than grand sadly won't do.
 

Ben-Hur

Stars: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman.

Director: Timur Bekmambetov

Rating: M

Verdict: 2/5 stars
 



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