Thursday, March 17, 2016

MGM's Ben-Hur Remake -- Why? Just Why?

I first talked about this one way back here, and then promptly forgot all about it until yesterday afternoon, when MGM dropped our first look at the new film. On the list of movies that absolutely were not crying out for a remake, William Wyler's 1959 classic epic Ben-Hur, winner of a then-record eleven Academy Awards (including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor for star Charlton Heston), is certainly up there near the top.

Nonetheless, the Lion doesn't exactly have a deep bench of exploitable IP's to pull from, so I guess the only surprise is that it took this long to happen. Still, I gotta say, everything about this new take, released by Warner Bros. and directed by Wanted's Timur Bekmambetov, just looks chintzy and low class -- and only more so when compared with the scope and majesty of the original.

Boardwalk Empire's Jack Huston assays the title role here, a Jewish noble who's betrayed by his Roman best friend. He's a good actor, but he's no Heston. He just lacks that larger-than-life quality that made the original work. Same goes for Toby Kebbell (last seen as Doctor Doom in the unfortunate Fantastic Four remake last year) as Messala, his Roman friend-turned-foe. I don't know, am I being an old fuddy-duddy? Watch the trailer after the jump, and you tell me:

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