Should have had this written weeks ago when I went to see the film but here we are. I went to see this film with very little resonance left from the 1959 Charlton Heston version. I mean that film was before my time but they did have old reruns of it for me to see as a kid. The one thing that surprised me about this latest reboot was the focus on Jesus Christ. Not that I minded it’s just that for the most part all I remembered was the chariot races and gladiatorial aspect.
Talking it over with some family they informed that even the 1959 version had a good helping of Jesus Christ in it and there’s even a silent version from the 1920’s. Interesting but I don’t think I’ll be going back to catch those anytime soon.
In the latest version Jack Huston plays Judah Ben Hur, a Jewish prince living in Jerusalem as Rome is coming to the height of its’ power. His family adopted a Roman boy Messala Severus played by Toby Kebbel. The characters are familiar and so is the plot. Pseudo sibling rivalry ensues as one leaves to climb the ranks as a Roman soldier as he did not feel quite at home with his Jewish foster family only to return later to clash with his brother.
Ilderim played by Morgan Freeman is who helps Ben Hur make his comeback after his betrayal. He is also a wise Yoda-like character who advises Ben Hur on how to go about it. Not going to spoil this for any of you but that’s basically what goes on. If you want more detail please by all means go see this film for yourself.
As I stated before I recall the older version but not the heavy Christian over tone, and over all I enjoyed the film as the action was great which is a plus for me, but the Jesus element seemed a bit over the top and forced with this reboot. Again that in all honesty might simply be a simple over sight from the child me watching the old version seeing only the action while glossing over the religious portion. I like spectacle and actions. For the most part that’s what I want to see. Others may need more substance but I can forgive some acting gaffs if the action is good when it’s time to blow stuff up and fight.
I’m not sure if the writers were working off of a formula from the older versions or if they took liberties to make sure we all got the Jesus message this time around. Which when I think about it makes sense cause I missed it the first time around. The acting was ok but to be honest there are only two characters you care about through most of the film as the others are tossed to the side until later for the most part and then bam! (Jesus cameo) Continue the story, bam! Jesus again!
Build up to the climax, resolution sort of and in case you missed it…bam! Jesus everyone! Maybe I should have revisited the Charton Heston version before seeing the new one and it wouldn’t have been such a surprise but there you have it. It’s not the best film but it is entertaining and certainly not a waste as I am seeing some of the reviews from the mainstream folks. At the very least I say go see it for yourself and form your own opinion. As always I appreciate you taking the time to read my humble opinion. Until next time!