Oh this is gonna be fun. Ok, here goes… Before the onslaught begins i have to commend this film for doing one thing that i didn’t think it was possible for it to do; making a 2 hour film feel a fuckload longer than its almost 4 hour predecessor. Checking the time half way through the film i was sure it had been 1 hour and 40 minutes at least…. not even 1 hour had passed and i strongly contemplated just walking out. But putting all that aside how about we show this undeserving shit some mercy.
So ‘Ben-Hur’ is based off the novel by Lew Wallace and is a remake of the 1959 masterpiece of the same name. The film stars Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur, Toby Kebbell as Messala, and Morgan Freeman in a stupid-ass wig. Now without a doubt this film is going to be compared to the 1959 version, it’s inevitable, but to be honest even with the classic out of the picture there is still not a single redeeming quality in this entire film. The action is lacklustre, the overuse of CGI is distracting, the way it was filmed was putrid, the story is a mess, characters and their motivations are unbelievably stupid, and they completely butchered the crucial religious elements of the film. Literally nothing in this film worked, like at all, it was a complete bore from start to finish and was one of the worst cinema experiences of the year.
I went into this film knowing without a doubt that there was nothing it could do to surpass or even come close to the 1959 version…. except utilise modern technology to enhance some battle sequences. But by some miracle they managed to fuck up the most simple of tasks. Watching 10 model ships floating in a pool was more exciting than what they conjured up in this disaster. But the reality is, in scenes such as the ship battle, and the chariot race, it isn’t the big OMG moments and flashy CGI that make them entertaining, you need to care about the characters and more importantly feel like you can get behind Ben-Hur. But i honestly didn’t give two shits about any characters and was not able to root for Ben-Hur at all during the film. They tried too hard to make him seem like the kind, caring figure he is supposed to be and at times just came across as a dick. I really don’t want to spoil story details so i will save them for another review, but the character decisions and the motivations behind those decisions in this film are just fucking stupid. Some of these decisions are the same or similar in the 1959 version but because of other relationships they altered in this film it completely fucked up any chance certain scenarios had of being believable.
Now the story in this film is another aspect that was a fucken snooze-fest. Majority of it was due to the fact that no single character was interesting but also because so many moments were either severely rushed or moved incredibly slow, there was no consistency to the pace. Now being a 2 hour film there was a lot they needed to cut out of the story understandably, but literally almost 2 hours of crucial story was thrown out and it hurt the film a lot. This led to a lot of inconsistencies in the plot that were more frustrating than anything. And don’t even get me started on how they completely fucked up the religious elements of the film, something that was so important and powerful to the story. They should have gotten rid of it if they weren’t going to treat it seriously, such a waste.
I gotta get this film out of my head, gonna stop talking about it. So in the end, this film is like a gift you open that you know will be shit but you aren’t prepared for what awaits inside…… literally a pile of shit. Seriously though, watch the 1959 version of Ben-Hur, save yourself the pain and torture of having to sit through this disaster and watch a masterpiece instead. There’s a simple valid reason for why this film lost the studio $120M….. Because it’s shit.