This re-make of William Wyler’s Academy Award winner (11 wins including Best Picture) is not quite up to the standards of its predecessor but is never the less quite enjoyable and entertaining. As directed by Timur Bekmambetov from a screenplay by Keith Clarke and John Ridley based on the novel BEN-HUR: A TALE OF THE CHRIST by Lew Wallace, it didn’t really need to be made since it was dealing with a classic film of epic proportions by one of Hollywood’s greatest filmmakers. It had also been a silent film in 1907 and 1925 and an animated film in 2003 so this actually is the fifth time the story has been filmed. The main difference here from the 1959 version is that Christ is actually a major supporting character who is not only seen but heard as well. In Mr. Wyler’s film Christ was only seen from the back and was more of an unspoken inspiration. This film has been well cast with Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell, Nazanin Boniadi, Haluk Bilginer and Rodrigo Santoro as Jesus. I am normally opposed to the remaking of classic films but this is more of a re-imagining of the story that is quite well done.
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