The 1959 version of "Ben-Hur" is without a doubt one of the truly great motion picture epics, so it was with surprise, and dismay, that I saw this 2010 re-make mini series appear on my local TV channel, and against my better judgment started to watch, what could only be, this travesty. To my surprise I found within 30 minutes I was totally hooked and engrossed by a deeply touching and superior Television experience. What it lacks in sheer magnificence of the 1959 version, it more than makes up in the human story of a family torn apart by terrible misfortune and fate. Wisely the makers chose a superb young cast in the leads, with Joseph Morgan (as Ben-Hur) and Stephen Campbell Moore (as Messala) not only doing justice to these epic characters but imbuing them with true human emotions. The story is very much the same as the original, and even though it was said the makers played down the religious aspect, I personally found that by doing this they actually heightened it in some respects to truly wonderful effect, especially during the last hour of the story which left this viewer with more than a few tears in his eyes. Naturally the sexual aspect is more explicit, but if one watches the original 1925 silent version you realize that is is something which has always been there but left and only implied in the 1959 version. The famous chariot race of the 1959 version can never be duplicated and the film makers obviously did not have the budget or tried to do so, but apart from that, if you have the opportunity to see this version, do yourself a favor and do so. I think, like me, you will be pleasantly surprised.
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