Ben-Hur (2016)

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"So... how about we do the 1959 remake of Ben-Hur all over again, but worse?!" said somebody at MGM.
Genre: Action
Directed By: Timur Bekmambetov
Produced By: Sean Daniel
Joni Levin
Duncan Henderson
Written By: David Newman
Leslie Newman
Based On: Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace
Starring: Jack Huston
Toby Kebbell
Rodrigo Santoro
Nazanin Boniadi
Ayelet Zurer
Pilou Asbæk
Sofia Black D'Elia
Morgan Freeman
Cinematography: Oliver Wood
Distributed By: Paramount Pictures
Release Date: August 9, 2016 (Mexico City)
August 19, 2016 (United States)
Runtime: 125 minutes
Country: United States
Language: English
Budget: $100 million
Box Office: $94.1 million

(The 300th Page on Awful Movies Wiki!)

Ben-Hur is a 2016 American epic historical action drama film directed by Timur Bekmambetov and written by Keith Clarke and John Ridley. It is the fifth film adaptation of the 1880 novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ by Lew Wallace following the 1907 silent film, the 1925 silent film, the Academy Award-winning 1959 film and the 2003 animated film of the same name. It has been termed a "re-adaptation", "reimagining", and "new interpretation" of the novel.


Judah Ben-Hur (Jack Huston) loses everything after his adopted brother Messala (Toby Kebbell), now an officer in the Roman army, returns to Jerusalem and accuses the young prince of treason. Stripped of his title and separated from his wife (Nazanin Boniadi) and family, Ben-Hur must endure years of slavery on a galley at sea. When fate brings the estranged brothers to an epic and deadly chariot race, Ben-Hur finally gets the chance to exact vengeance on the man who destroyed his life.

Bad Qualities

  1. This remake is completely unnecessary, mainly because the 1959 remake felt like a fantastic remake of the novel to the point where it didn't need another remake. It only with aesthetics lifted from 300 and it's ilk.
  2. It's completely unfaithful to the novel, which ruins the charm, and the source material from the novel, and it creates numerous factual, continuity errors everywhere.
    • Most of the original characters in the novel like Judah Ben-Hur and Quintus Arrius are completely flanderized, and they became very unlikable.
    • According with Holy Gospels, Christ was arrested by Temple soldiers, not by Romans. At this time Judea was a reign under roman control but with his own laws and "police". Only Romans can execute to death, so Jesus was bring to Pontius Pilate after a Jewish trial.
    • In the 1959 remake, it said that the film takes place in 26 A.D. Here, The opening sets the date as "33 A.D.", but the grammatically correct way to date years after the birth of Jesus is A.D. 33 ("Anno Domini 33"). Only B.C., or the more contemporary BCE, are listed after the year.
  3. Bad acting, especially from the actors of Jack Huston, and Toby Kebbell. Jack Huston was also never good as Judah Ben-Hur at all.
  4. Awful special effects.
  5. Cringe inducing soundtrack that was Marco Beltrami.
  6. The religious aspects are made more unsubtle and downright jarring.

Good Qualities

  1. The chariot race is still good, if not as remarkable as the original.
  2. The costumes look decent.


The film was not well received from critics, audiences, and fans of the novel, as it was met with unfavorable reviews, especially with the fans of the famous 1959 remake of the same name, and was a box office bomb, grossing $94 million worldwide against its $100 million production budget plus a large amount spent on marketing and distribution. It has a 25% based on 190 reviews with an average rating of 4.56/10. The site's critical consensus reads, "How do you fight an idea? By filming a remake that has too few of its own, and tries to cover it up with choppy editing and CGI." On Metacritic, it has a 38/100 based on 34 critics, indicating "generally unfavorable reviews".

The A.V. Club's Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, giving one of the few positive-leaning reviews, wrote: "At first, the new adaptation of Lew Wallace’s New Testament soap opera seems impersonal, as dusty and ornamented as any movie in which robed Jews and Romans argue about gods and kings in accents of vaguely British origin[,]" but as it progresses, "Ben-Hur announces itself as the sort of elemental re-imagining of the source material that no one in their right mind would ever expect it to be." Influx Magazine film critic Steve Pulaski gave the film a C grade, saying, "when it comes to a more concise retelling of a classic story, the new Ben-Hur succeeds as functioning as a briefer work of entertainment, with more communicable and discernible elements of spectacle. As an entire film, its roughness is more-or-less summed up by the difficulty to justify its existence, and that's something that, after being surprised at the film's level of quality, I'm not even going to bother with." IGN's Scott Collura gave the film 5.8/10, writing: "Ben-Hur is an adequate introduction to the classic tale of revenge and forgiveness, but it's an uneven one. Toby Kebbell's antagonist character frequently outweighs the appeal of Jack Huston’s hero, the more religious elements of the story don’t jell very well with the action set pieces, and much of the cast are left behind by their own movie. But still, there’s no denying the power of Ben-Hur's final redemption. It’s just not a very smooth ride getting there."

The New York Times' Stephen Holden wrote, "Overseen by a director not known for his human touch and lacking a name star, except for Mr. Freeman, Ben-Hur feels like a film made on the cheap, although it looks costly." Richard Roeper gave the film two stars out of four, writing: "Ben-Hur struggles to find an identity and never really gets there. The well-intentioned efforts to achieve moving, faith-based awakenings are undercut by the casually violent, PG-13 action sequences." The Hollywood Reporter's Todd McCarthy described the film's chariot race scene as being "heavily digitized and over-edited", and called it the worst scene of the film. Rolling Stone labeled the film "A Remake Disaster of Biblical Proportions." Sister Rose Pacette wrote a positive review for the National Catholic Reporter, objecting only to the anachronistic costumes worn by Jewish women in the film. Jesus is in the film, which was used for some faith-based marketing to a Christian audience.


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