And I was completely wrong, as Ben-Hur proves a more solid retelling than anyone anticipated or even deserved. It is spectacular or even great? Ben-Hur wanders into generic modern remake territory occasionally, but what it does it does well. In fact, it sports advantages over its predecessors whether it's the novel by Lew Wallace, the original silent film, or the classic and beloved movie directed by William Wyler.
I am familiar with all of these by the way. The narrative framework revolves almost entirely upon the friendship and rivalry between Judah Ben-Hur and Messala. In fact, where in previous versions Messala turns into a cartoonish villain as the story progresses, here he remains sympathetic throughout and shares near equal screen time with the protagonist.
Though, I absolutely love how this movie essentially slaps both Ben-Hur and Messala for pursuing a path of egotistical vengeance hung up in macho pride. Lastly, the heavy-handed religious parable that defined the final act of the version has been toned down in favor of a condensed version that emphasizes the passion story more in terms of personal redemption for our two main leads than the usual religious messaging.
Now to where it falls short. William Wyler's classic sported one of the greatest musical scores of all time. Put it this way - no one is winning an Oscar for best original score here. As said before, much of the film can fall into generic blandness as times, but more troubling is the fact that so much effort goes into the primary relationship of the film, that no other relationship or performance stands out.
It also lacks the grandeur of its immediate predecessor, but I suspect that may be intentional, as this is supposed to be a more realistic and grounded approach to the same story we all know. The artistic feat of not showing Christ's face is gone now, with the usual Jesus cameos to keep Ben-Hur hydrated and honest.
Oh and Morgan Freeman is so out of place in this movie. He gives it his all, but his dreadlocks prove distracting and his modern affectations are jarring. So is it worth your time? To many this may appear to be attempt to cash in on the faith-based film craze that has happened in recent years and may turn off potential audiences.
There are no approved quotes yet for this movie. Surtees , MGM executives made the decision to film the picture in a widescreen format, which Wyler strongly disliked. Promoted to brigadier general, he was given charge of a newly organized division in the midst of the operations against Fort Donelson and was soon rewarded with a second star. Last night I had the privilege of serving an extraordinary form Mass, and the way that Gen. Another set was built in Culver City and filled with both extras and the Hollywood elite on a festive Saturday in October.
This is not really the case, and while religious viewers are not turned away, this is more for general audiences. It obviously doesn't compare in quality to what came before, but it does have enough merit to stand on its own and is worth a screening. It's a shame that it was saddled with an obnoxious budget and unrealistic expectations.
It may prove to be successful overseas and become a cult hit - the John Carter of if you will. But that's just speculation. So yes give Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Two Brothers a shot. It needs the chance. Despite some standout set pieces, this unoriginal and uninspiring take on Ben-Hur goes round in circles as if chasing its tail, seemingly remaking the William Wyler epic rather than adapting Lew Wallace's classic Christian novel in its own voice. Here, the team that brought the hit cable docudramas The Bible and A. Sure, blood and guts spillage gets teased, but it's all a sleight of hand.
Very little of this film feels real, in fact, as so much CGI gets used to finish off shots and render people that the software engineers should be eligible for their S. If this techno trickery at least struck a unique chord, some of these transgressions could be forgiven. In a recent article for Variety, the producers even promised that this version will be different from the Oscar-winning classic starring Charlton Heston, but the re-do definitely plays out like a pale imitation.
Even the one improvement on the version - economy - often acts as a deficit. Sure, the new model clocks in at nearly two hours less than its forebear but at the cost of decent storytelling. Some choppy editing makes for some awkward and abrupt transitions. In this PGrated religious drama, a wealthy Jewish merchant and prince Huston gets falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Kebbell , so he returns to his homeland to seek revenge, but finds redemption instead.
Certainly, the production had potential not just the faith-based filmgoers who made Miracles from Heaven a hit either.
Aside from an exhilarating galleon and chariot battle again, mirrors to Wyler's classic and augmented by too much CGI and a game cast, Ben-Hur comes off as redundant and underwhelming a Biblical epic as Noah and Exodus: Gods and Kings-themselves pale imitations. More Top Movies Trailers Forums. Season 7 Black Lightning: Season 2 DC's Legends of Tomorrow: After a summer where franchises and reboots have suffered diminishing returns, audiences in recent weeks have been embracing anything that seems new and original.
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The California Film Commission has maintained its ban on filming in several Malibu areas hit by the massive Woolsey fire in Southern California last month. The commission announced Tuesday that due to continued clean-up and repair work along Pacific Coast Highway, permits for filming on the highway are not being issued at this time. She was a natural comedian — fearless and funny, willing to trade on her natural Bronx brogue to craft a sassy and street-wise character that was tailor-made for sitcoms.
But Penny Marshall, who died Monday night at the age of 75, proved throughout her long career that she had so much more in the way [ You will be redirected back to your article in seconds. Previous video Next video. Premier Logo Created with Sketch. Following a brutal and grueling race, Ben-Hur wins the race. Messala survives but is badly wounded and loses a leg. Ben-Hur's victory emboldens the Jewish spectators and yields dividends for Ilderim. Despite his victory, Ben-Hur is despondent about his family and his former friend Messala. Later, Esther witnesses the arrest of Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane.
Ben-Hur and Esther witness a bruised and beaten Jesus being forced to carry his cross through the streets. Mirroring his first encounter with Jesus, Ben-Hur tries to offer Jesus water but is beaten by a Roman soldier. Following Jesus' crucifixion, a rainstorm occurs. Naomi and Tirzah are miraculously healed by rainwater containing the blood of Jesus, and Sheik Ilderim pays a ransom to set them free. Despite his anger, Messala finds the strength to forgive Ben-Hur and is reconciled with him and his family. Clarke's script, an adaptation of Lew Wallace 's novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ , which is in the public domain.
The rights to the latter film were sold to Ted Turner in the s. In September , Timur Bekmambetov was hired to direct the film. After producer Sean Daniel persuaded him to read the script, he accepted it,  saying "I read the script. And suddenly I understood this story is not what I expected. It's not a remake, it's an interpretation of the famous book. Hence, he wanted to stress the themes of forgiveness and love rather than mere vengeance.
He found "the most important values of pride, rivalry, power, strength, the dictatorship of power and self-love" that were prominent in the Roman Empire to be the primary subjects in this version. As a result, he decided to make a realistic drama film rather than a large tent-pole attraction.
Vampire Hunter ; he wanted to make a film that was more grounded and tangible. Producer Mark Burnett stated that films like Ben-Hur , which are centered on faith and the messages of Jesus Christ, need to feel like epic summer blockbusters in order to attract younger and secular audiences. In June , Rob Moore , the vice chairman of Paramount, explained that this version is not so much a remake of the film, but a new interpretation of the Lew Wallace novel on which both are based.
John Ridley re-wrote the script based on an original screenplay by Keith Clarke, which itself was based on Lew Wallace 's novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. He was more drawn to the project since it dealt with themes of faith in a very "potent manner". Tom Hiddleston was originally considered for the title role, Judah Ben-Hur. On February 2, , MGM and Paramount Pictures announced that principal photography had begun and that, like the original film , filming would take place mostly in Italy , specifically in Rome and Matera.
However, Bekmambetov wanted to rely more on practical effects and tried to do as little CGI as possible in moments where it was not heavily needed. In March , Adam Sidman, an associate of Timur Bekmambetov, sent a request to the Bureau of Land Management's South Coast in Palm Springs , which oversees federal land in the Coachella Valley area, asking if the team can shoot a horse scene in the Painted Canyon , which is off Box Canyon Road , with two horses, several cameras, and a film crew of about His application was rejected, and Sidman thought it was because of the size of the production.
He then tried to negotiate again, but to no avail. To Vincent, it almost seemed like the rejection was based on arbitrary reasons. With the help of local lawmakers, they were able to convinced the BLM to approve the request, but this time with a much-scaled down production of 8 crew members, no horses, and the use of a drone rather than handheld cameras. The famous chariot race sequence, which runs about 10 minutes, almost exactly the same as in the prior films,  was originally planned to be filmed in the Circus Maximus arena in Rome ; however, producers were denied access by Italy's national cultural authorities due to fears that the stunts would damage the fragile historic site, which was under restoration at that time.
The whole race was planned in advance, in several iterations of storyboards and animated previsualization videos. It was built partly on the back lot of producer Dino De Laurentiis 's former studio complex. According to production designer Naomi Shohan, arena designs were compiled from archaeological records of circuses in Roman territories.
One-sixth of the arena was physically built and the rest was added to the film by computer graphics. Unique chariots were also built based on original references. As a result, the crew had to learn how to build a new one week after week. To capture the thunderous feel of the race, the film crew attached microphones to the horses to record the sound of pounding hooves, and GoPro cameras were buried in the sand.
Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army, returns to his homeland after years at sea to seek. Charlton Heston and John Glenn in Ben-Hur () Charlton Heston and Haya Harareet in Ben-Hur () Charlton Heston and Maxwell Shaw in Ben-Hur.
But overall, it was actors in the chariots. It's either long-lens [close-up] cameras, very professional, or it's iPhone cameras from people in the crowd, cars passing by at the speed of light and they barely have a chance to pan and catch something. Phil Neilson, who served as the stunt coordinator for the film, had previously worked on many films, including Ridley Scott 's Gladiator.
He noted that the chariots in the film were unrealistically ornate. The two lead actors did much of their own riding, without harm.
Huston and Kebbell were asked if they wanted stunt doubles for their parts, and they declined. A stuntman was thrown off from his chariot during filming, but suffered only mild injuries. He was later hospitalized and treated for bruised ribs. All the harnesses and reins were made from nylon webbing.
For the tightly scripted spills, huge rubber mats were placed beneath piles of sand to break falls. The horses wore leather booties to ensure their back hooves did not clip their front legs and gouge out chunks of flesh in the melee. It was released on August 19, by Word Entertainment.
All scores were composed and conducted by Marco Beltrami , with additional music by Brandon Roberts and additional conducting by Mark Graham. It was released on 5 August by Sony Classical Records. Ben-Hur was originally scheduled to be released in the United States and Canada on February 26, , but Paramount moved its release date to August 12, Deadline Hollywood called the August date a prime time for the studio, after witnessing success with the releases of Mission: Furthermore, the site highlighted that the Summer Olympics would be an ideal platform for the studio to promote the film, and that mid-August has proven to be the last point of time in the summer for a film to accrue a large amount of revenue, before weekend box office performances drop from the Labor Day holiday onwards.
Ben-Hur was released in Malaysia on 15 September The film's release drew controversy, when some viewers complained that scenes depicting Jesus Christ had been cut out from the Malaysian theatrical version. The Malaysian Film Censorship Board 's chairman, Datuk Abdul Halim Abdul Hamid, clarified that the Malaysian censors had not cut out scenes depicting Jesus from the film, but suggested that the film producers did cut out a few scenes to suit the sensitivities of certain markets.
The film's Malaysian distributor, United International Pictures Malaysia, has since confirmed that the cuts were made to fulfil local legal requirements and guidelines. The trailer was released a week after Paramount released 10 Cloverfield Lane in theaters. Rise of an Empire ,  Gladiator ,    and Spartacus: Jesus is in the film, which was used for some faith-based marketing to a Christian audience. Ben-Hur was called by Hollywood observers the summer's biggest box office bomb , and one of the biggest flops of Many box office critics and publications considered the film a box office bomb based on its opening alone.
It performed well in areas of the US that are more religious, but did not do as well in more secular regions of the country. Ben-Hur depended heavily on foreign markets, especially in Christian offshore territories, such as Latin America , in order to pass its break even point and to recoup its production budget including marketing expenses.
It debuted in second place behind the animated Sausage Party , after stiff competition from the horror film Don't Breathe , for the second spot. However, this is reflective of a seven days total as it opened on a Monday. Ben-Hur received generally negative reviews from critics. The site's critical consensus reads, "How do you fight an idea? By filming a remake that has too few of its own, and tries to cover it up with choppy editing and CGI.
Club ' s Ignatiy Vishnevetsky , giving one of the few positive-leaning reviews, wrote: The New York Times ' Stephen Holden wrote, "Overseen by a director not known for his human touch and lacking a name star, except for Mr. Freeman, Ben-Hur feels like a film made on the cheap, although it looks costly.