I went to see the new Ben-Hur starring Jack Huston as Judah Ben-Hur and Tony Kebbell as Messala.
It was okay. It reminded me more of a soap opera than a movie. The acting was too melodramatic in parts, some scenes were disjointed and the scenery and costumes were too beautiful.
The original theme for the movie was Christ centered. I’m not sure exactly what this movie was going for, but it wasn’t that. It seemed more focused on brotherly love with an ancillary nod to the religious themes of the first movie. There were multiple scenes with Jesus in them, but the scenes were disjointed. I sat there wondering most of the time “wait…what?”. If you haven’t seen the the first movie and understand who and what each of the characters are and what roles they play, you will be lost. There is a little setup at the beginning, but it leaves out important information.
I honestly had no clue that Esther and her father were servants. To me it looked like they were part of the family. It wasn’t until later during a dialogue scene that I learned this information.
I loved the costumes (and scenery). They were beautifully done. However, everyone looked too beautiful, even the beggars in the streets, who you might expect to have tattered and worn clothing. Nope, only the finest new old clothes for the beggars. This added to the feel of a soap opera.
The effects were hit and miss. Most of the obvious CGI moments during the chariot race were good. Not great, but good. Even though I knew it was CGI, I cringed every time one of the horses went down.
The ending seems so disjointed from the rest of the story, but it was so good. If they would have put the effort into the rest of the movie as they did the ending, I would recommend seeing it in the theatre. Instead, I’m going to say, wait for Redbox and don’t have high expectations.