Benz Eye View: Ben-Hur (2016)

Ben-Hur_2016_poster
Ben-Hur (2016)

Pros:

1.) The theme of this movie is a little clever.  It is about how seeking vengeance will never make you feel better despite how others or even yourself think so.  The original had this theme as well, but this remake manage to create its own version that works decently despite its flaws.

2.) The sound effects and music team deserve some respects.  They are loud when the action starts rolling, painful when a character gets hit badly, and effective when it needs to be (i.e. sad moments like Jesus’s death and Ben-Hur’s realization).

3.) The best scene in the entire movie is the chariot scene.  It does have its issues, but with great action, tense moments, and painful instances, this scene somewhat improves the original chariot scene (although I still recommend the original with its brilliant production and editing moments).  It makes you feel like you are there instead of watching from the audience’s point of view.

 

Cons:

1.) The very few moments of CG are painfully obvious.  They look so bad, it looks like they belong on a last-generation console game system instead of a live action movie.  At best, they belong to a CG movie.

2.) The cinematography is awful.  Most of the time, the camera will not hold still.  Even in scenes where the characters are just talking, it is so noticeable that you wonder if the cameraman is drunk.  The scene with the Roman flagship has the biggest cinematography problem since it shakes so much in a tense action scene that I cannot tell what is happening.

3.) I am not a fan of the changes they made compared to the 1959 original film.  There are too many to list (and there are probably a few more that I either missed or forgotten), but the changes made are enough to make this movie its own instead of a rip-off the 1959 film.  However, it also means that the writing is pretty poor as a result with characters and story are not really that interesting.  Not to mention that original took its time with its story (arguably too much time), while the remake usually rushes from scene to scene with nauseating and confusing results.

 

Overall:

Based on the 1880 novel, Ben-Hur is one of the most popular films in film history, and one of my favorite films of all time.  With great story, characters, acting, production, editing, and music, it made its mark throughout film and culture.  When a remake was announced, I was naturally worried, because I felt that it would not be as good as the original.  I was right.  The remake is nowhere good as the original, but it is not terrible at least.  It does its own version of Ben-Hur (although I am unsure if it is closer to the book or not) without straying too far from its 1959 counterpart.  However, it has its share of problems that cannot be ignored.  The only reason to watch this movie is the chariot scene alone.  Anything else is either a side gift or an annoyance.  I recommend watching the 1959 film version to truly appreciate its genuine film-making and story.  The 2016 version gets a pat on a back for trying, but letting it know that it can no way surpass the original.

5/10

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