A Jewish nobleman, Judah Ben-Hur, and his adopted Roman brother Messala are best friends despite their different origins. Messala enlists in the Roman army and fights in the Roman Empire's wars in Germany. Ben-Hur also develops feelings for the family slave Esther although their different station in life compels him not to pursue her. But when her father Simonides seeks to marry her off to a Roman, Ben-Hur declares his love for her and takes her as his wife. Three years later, Messala returns as a decorated Roman officer. His return coincides with a rising insurrection by the Zealots, Jews who are opposed to the oppressive nature of Roman rule..
Everyone will be making comparisons; see it and compare
We thoroughly enjoyed this production. Released today, we saw the matinée and were somewhat surprised at being what seemed like the youngest couple attending. You will not be disappointed with this movie. Watching a familiar story, you're waiting for unexpected items or things just plain screwed up. It didn't feel way, and while there are some plot topics that were different from my expectations, I was not bothered by them.
Going to this movie my thoughts were, 1) would a 21st century version make the chariot race be more violent than necessary?, 2) would the faith portion of the story be erased down to a minor thought? 3) would I recognize the story at all? Answers in a simple style are the circus race had me close my eyes a couple of times -- I'm old enough to know how dangerous these races could become, and faith portion was well done and not overplayed presenting the truth of Jesus' life during this period, and the story was well familiar and my wife commented that portions were actually clearer than we had understood from previous versions. So well done! Comparisons: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ is an 1880 American best selling novel. It has been a play and movie multiple times. I found the 1925 silent version of the same title a very impressive production. The 1959 movie "Ben-Hur" is the version most people are familiar with but at 3.5hrs you'll want to find a complete copy of this (and it's one my favourite movies). The '59 movie has more story than today's and the action sequences are somewhat more simplified but very impressive. This Charlton Heston version won 11 Oscars and will be the version of most people's thoughts.
With Morgan Freeman being the only performer I was familiar with, Ben-Hur is great having fresh faces, amazing Italian country sides, and a well paced showing. Go and see this, and find one or two of the other movie versions and maybe the book as well -- so you can make your own comparisons. My wife believes this may now be her favourite, and I'm still committed to the 1959 version. I believe there's enough room for both versions to be enjoyed.
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