Ben-Hur (2016) [movie review]

From executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes an epic and awe-inspiring story of faith and forgiveness. Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the film tells the uplifting story of Judah Ben-Hur, who is enslaved by the Romans after being betrayed by his brother Messala.  Separated from his family and the woman he loves, Ben-Hur is rescued from near death by the mysterious Ilderim. He returns to his homeland seeking revenge against his brother and an empire, but instead he finds a chance for redemption.

Watching the remake of a classic movie is tricky. On one hand, it’s exciting because you love the movie and want to see it modernized. On the other hand, what if the new movie is awful? Will it be a devastating experience?

I felt this way about Ben-Hur (2016). This is a classic. A CLASSIC! Could a remake do it justice?

Before Ben-Hur (2016) was released I saw a 15-minute preview at a conference. It was still in post production and there were some glitches but it was an impressive preview (they showed the chariot race scene). Feeling confident with the remake, I set my expectations to moderate.

But when I received the new release of Ben-Hur on Blu-Ray I procrastinated watching it. Because the fear. What if the chariot race was the only good part? What if the glitches stayed? What if it ruined the story for me?

Well, of course I watched it. And I thought it was well done. The CGI and filming were remarkable, the acting was emotional and compelling, and the film stayed true to the original story. All good things. It brought out the themes of right versus wrong, love versus revenge, forgiveness and understanding.

I’ve re-watched the film a couple times and although it’s a good film, it doesn’t replace the original. Perhaps they weren’t trying to (and I’m glad about that!). This remake brings the classic story into the 21st century and nothing more.


Ben-Hur (2016) synopsis

From executive producers Roma Downey and Mark Burnett comes an epic and awe-inspiring story of faith and forgiveness. Based on Lew Wallace’s timeless novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, the film tells the uplifting story of Judah Ben-Hur, who is enslaved by the Romans after being betrayed by his brother Messala. Separated from his family and the woman he loves, Ben-Hur is rescued from near death by the mysterious Ilderim. He returns to his homeland seeking revenge against his brother and an empire, but instead he finds a chance for redemption.


When I received the new release of Ben-Hur on Blu-Ray I procrastinated watching it. Because the fear. What if the chariot race was the only good part? What if the glitches stayed? What if it ruined the story for me?