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Reviews & Ratings for
"Ben Hur" Episode #1.1 (2010)

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23 out of 30 people found the following review useful:

Shoot me, I liked it.

Author: Spuzzlightyear from Vancouver
12 November 2010

For all the criticism this film gets, it's not as bad as say, the animated version made a few years ago which only ran for an hour and was 10 times more ridiculous then this one is. I think some people have sour grapes that there is indeed a remake of it, yes there are some problems, but no, I don't think it should retract from the enjoyment of the movie. It flows quite nicely, and it has some great suspense. I really liked how they fleshed out the Masala's character, whose contempt of Ben-Hur was fuzzy in all the versions I've seen. There's also less focus on religion, which, in your point of view could be good or bad, but to me it's just fine, as I think it takes away from the main story (some people would disagree, as you could say this is almost a dual story, the life story of Ben-Hur and Jesus). The acting is fine too, Joseph Morgan is quite good as Ben-Hur, well, smoking is more like it haha, and he has a great supporting cast. I wasn't disappointed in this at all.

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16 out of 23 people found the following review useful:

I prefer this 2010 version - by far!!!

Author: Hildegard Margaret from South Africa
16 November 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Watching the 1959 version again after the 2010 version - I was struck by how ridiculous the old version really is. It left me unsatisfied on so many levels.

I far prefer the new version because it is more "humanized" and the relationships between characters is more developed, and representative to what I imagine the times to have been. The closer view of Judah and Quintus's relationship and the father-son sentiments really ripped at my heart. This is something the old version never showed the viewer. Giving someone your name was very special in Ancient Roman culture and this is shown nicely - for those who looked and listened carefully to the dialogue, which, by the way, I thought was good. OK, so some of the effects aren't worth millions - but I think the casting wasn't half bad. Ray Winstone as Quintus Arrius was EXCELLENT!! I loved this product. Sorry smooches - but I think its good...

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33 out of 57 people found the following review useful:

this was bad...

Author: raphaelgrana-1 from Switzerland
26 April 2010

As stated, I didn't like this version at all...

The cast is absolutely awful, not one character seems to fit (mesala was perhaps the only good choice) and discolored curly hair is ridiculous in an antic set up. Lucía Jiménez, who plays Athene, is probably the worst actress I've ever seen, every single line of her dialogs were painful to hear and almost made you feel bad for her.

I've read a few comments saying you shouldn't compare it with the 1959 version since this is a mini-series and everything, but how couldn't you!! The storyline is literally the same, it's almost a perfect copy of the 1959 film, without the goods. Sometimes you feel like your watching a version made by a bunch of friends on youtube, it's almost the same dialogs in some moments, it's ridiculous! I just don't understand why this was made... I had real expectations about this, I loved the 1959 picture and since it's so widely known by the public I was expecting something new, with an other angle or something... not a plain copy.

Oh and did I mention that Lucía Jiménez is really bad in this?

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6 out of 7 people found the following review useful:

I say: "Very well done!"

Author: NickofTime from United States
17 July 2011

This version of Ben Hur focused on a portion of the epic version and successfully produced a very enjoyable movie in its own right. The 22 million dollar budget provided ample resources for the acting, sets and action. I had obtained this mini-series a while back but waited months to watch it believing it would be like all the other adolescent-like series emerging these days e.g. Merlin. I finally decided to watch it or give it to my nephew. I became instantly curious and engrossed and watched the entire 3 hour mini-series in one sitting. I watch too many movies and am ultra-sensitive to bad acting, silly fight scenes and gaffs in general. No leaps of faith for me. I thoroughly enjoyed the mini-series "Rome". And while I will not try to compare the two, I did notice similar elements albeit PG-13 vs Rome's graphic content. Discount the negative reviews and check it out for yourself.

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3 out of 3 people found the following review useful:

Unnecessary, but still entertaining enough

Author: johannes2000-1 from Netherlands
15 June 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

I agree with the question that many of the reviewers here have brought up: why on earth would someone decide to spend a lot of time and effort and money in remaking a once-in-a-lifetime classic movie like Ben Hur. The only sensible reason can be that you want to give the story an interesting twist: make it some sort of prequel or sequel to the original or focus on some new aspects. But to re-make the entire original movie step by step, almost without changing a thing, seems superfluous to say the least, or down-right stupid.

Having stated this, I must give the makers of this version due credit: it's not such a bad movie at all. It's visually attractive, has a good pace, the (unchanged) storyline is as strong as ever, and the acting (contrary to what some of the reviewers think) was in my opinion pretty good, as far as the protagonists of the story are concerned. It took me a few minutes to adjust to Joseph Morgan, but after that he turned out as a very convincing Judah Ben Hur, with a strong and very physical screen-presence, equally realistic in his emotional outbursts and anger as in his more softer moments. He totally held his own against the very strong Stephen Campbell Moore as Messala. The Roman characters like Quintus Arrius, Marcellus Agrippa, Pilate and emperor Tiberius were also given solid performances. Emily VanCamp as the love-interest Esther had more will-power than beauty, but this fitted the story fine. And I didn't have any trouble with Lucía Jiménez as the prostitute slave-girl Athena; maybe her way of talking seemed a bit declamatory, but she had to play a foreign (Greek) woman so her accent and deliberate speech was actually a realistic part of the story.

My only disappointments concerned the mother and sister: their parts were rather small and unconvincing, but this was mainly due to the script that didn't offer them much space. Why on earth Kristin Kreuk (who is a gifted actress that I absolutely loved in Smallville) agreed to play the sister is beyond me, her character was as thin as wall-paper with hardly three lines to say! Well, maybe she just needed a vacation in Marocco, where they filmed!

The movie has some great and spectacular scenes, like the sea-battle with the galley's and of course the famous chariot-race. The religious aspects (the Ben Hur story more or less crosses the story of Jesus on his way to crucifixion) are not overblown, but still very much present. Judah's magical moment when facing Jesus and helping him with lifting the cross-wood during his way to Golgotha is well-done, although this Jesus must be the most uncharismatic Jesus that I've seen for ages in a movie, it's a wonder in itself that Judah senses anything special at all. For some reasons (they were probably afraid to shy away the non-religious viewers) the miraculous healing of the mother and sister from their affliction with leprosy is not visually linked with the meeting or touching of Jesus (or are we to think that they were hiding in the wagon nearby and the healing was radiated to them from a distance?). Anyway, the sickness didn't seem to be so bad as to justify the fuzz everyone was making over it, I mean, the make-up department could have put in a little bit more effort. Now we see Kristin Kreuk desperately trying to hide her afflicted face but when Judah lowers her scarf she reveals her usual beautiful self with just one large pimp on her forehead.

All in all I was reasonably entertained and satisfied, but still left with this unsolved question: why did they bother???

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12 out of 21 people found the following review useful:

Could have been so much better...

Author: shedmcnee from France
4 May 2010

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

This was an okay adaptation but could have been so much better. The lead actor didn't suit the role at all and everything was a little too clean cut. For instance, the part where Ben Hur has been on a galley ship for 3 years is laughable. He is clean shaven, hardly a hair out of place (still short back and sides!) and not a sign of a blemish on his skin! Really! Hmmm... perhaps he had a shower everyday??! Ray Winstone was very good in his role as was Stephen Campbell Moore, Alex Kingston and Art Malik. So it was watchable but if you compare it to Rome or Spartacus then it falls way short! I certainly wouldn't bother watching it again but if you have nothing else to do, watch it but just don't expect anything gripping!

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2 out of 2 people found the following review useful:

On it's own merit, a good film.

Author: Cheyenne Dee Mascall
28 December 2011

*** This review may contain spoilers ***

Now, I will not claim to have seen the originals. In fact, I had never heard of them beyond this film. (In England it is shown as a 3 hour film). This, on its own merits, is a very good film. The acting is visceral, emotional and believable. The setting for the film very convincing - at least to me, and the dialogue accessible.

Joseph Morgan is most convincing as Ben Hur. Especially as his character develops. By the time he is a galley slave, then a Roman, you are totally invested in his plight. Similarly, you feel dislike and pity for Messala all at once. I was especially surprised how much Joseph Morgan in Ben Hur did not remind me overly of Klaus from Vampire Diaries (where I knew him from). Athene is also convincing as the unwilling but good willed prostitute, and the nearly-father-son relationship between Ben Hur and Arrius is extremely convincing and moving.

Overall, the storyline does contain a few holes and a few weak points. You could even say that certain characters were not explored enough. But this is definitely a very humanized, very watchable version of Ben Hur. It brings it to a wider audience and is not overly religious - which would put off many nowadays.

You will certainly not regret the time spent watching it. A drama, with, thankfully, a fantastic ending - whether or not it is better than the earlier ones.

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3 out of 4 people found the following review useful:

Great Performance from Joseph Morgan

Author: manowlia from Istanbul
27 June 2011

The show is a nice mini-series that even could be better if it was a movie or a show with a better production, but Joseph Morgan's performance as Ben-Hur is impressive! This actor will make great things.

I love this show, but i believe it needs more big, better scenes and maybe with more special effects like Spartacus show, but the actor who play Ben-Hur's character, Joseph Morgan show a great act. He also proved it that he can make better, especially with his role "Klaus" the original vampire at the hit series "Vampire Diaries".

Can't wait to see more performance from this young actor!

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9 out of 17 people found the following review useful:

Not exactly bad, but not good, and it has very little entertaining value...

Author: kok_warlock from Antarctica
7 November 2010

This movie could have been so much better, first, nearly all the actors were a poor choice or just huge miscasts, specially the one who portrayed Ben Hur, most of the acting was contriving and ultimately unconvincing,the only good portrayal was from the actor who played Messala and it seemed to be the only actor who "fit" the character, however him and Ben Hur are supposed to have around the same age, but even after spending years as a slave, Ben Hur looked in his early 20's while Messala looked like in his mid-30's from nearly the start to finish of the movie.

The whole story, even tho the 2-part mini-series is 3h long commercial free, looked extremely rush, one scene, childhood, the next scene several years later, the next one something happens and several years go by, I don't wanna get into specifics not to spoil, but you never get to see any kind of friendship bonding between Ben Hur and Messala, which is the core of the movie, which is also why Ben Hur is more motivated to get his revenge, and like I said, you never see them age or change.

Very weak movie, not bad, but not good and definitely not entertaining.

Rate: 4/10.

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Ben Hur, Part 1 - surprisingly very good!

Author: ncc4
14 March 2013

Just saw Part 1 last night on Ovation. I have avoided this movie since it came out coming from a generation of Charlton Heston. Who could beat that, right? Well, I think this one has come pretty close. As a costumer, I LOVED the costumes, much more accurate that the stylized ones used in the CH version. The jewelry was accurate, as well as the level of quality used in the garments. Okay, so maybe only my kind of people notice this stuff.

Acting, it was pretty good. What I truly enjoyed was the more openness of the quality of life lived, both good and bad, the level of power executed by Pontius Pilate, Tiberius, etc. The mention of homosexuality, (the Greek affliction, bum's rush) mentioned by Tiberius and Marcellus as the reason why Number 40 won't sleep with the whore, Athene. Question? Wasn't he Number 41 in the 1959 version. That movie had some great lines. My favorite is when Ben Hur is called to meet Massala. His aide says something like "There's a man here to see you. He says he's a prince." Then Massala shouts back at him, "Then treat him like one!."

Can't wait to see Part 2.

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