Set in the time of Christ, Jack Huston (Pride and Prejudice and Zombies) is Judah Ben-Hur. His best friend Massala is played by Fantastic Four’s Toby Kebbell. Massala is adopted by Judah’s family. He becomes a Roman soldier who betrays the family and has Judah sent to be a slave on a galley ship.
Revenge is the film’s main dish.
The 1959 original with Charlton Heston won a bunch of Oscars and other awards for its star, its director and special effects personnel. It also picked up best picture nods from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and from many sources. It ran three hours and 30 minutes. The new Ben-Hur is a touch over two hours.
I have nicknamed it Ben-Hurried.
But it has more flaws than just being a Cliffs Notes version of a much better movie. There is a serious lack of character chemistry and other elements that make you care. About all that works here is the chariot race, and it still isn’t close to as good as the one director William Wyler did eons ago.
Director: Timur Bekmambetov
Stars: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Morgan Freeman
Mr. Movie rating: 2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It’s playing at the Carmike 12, Fairchild Cinemas 12 and Queensgate 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas.
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.