Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Ben Hur Mini Series Review

Ben Hur is a mini series, DVD release that re-imagines the 1959 classic starring the late Charlton Heston. Ben Hur is a story that blends historical text with a fictional tale of revenge. The official synopsis states, "Many Judeans are turning to a teacher named Jesus, whom some believe is the Messiah, a leader who will drive out the Roman occupiers.Ben Hur, encouraged by this possibility, risks his life , fighting with the rebels against the Romans, while Esther faces her worst fear when she finds that Ben Hur’s mother and sister are now lepers.Although Ben Hur is overjoyed to be reunited with them, he is distraught by their affliction. Esther urges him to open his heart to the power of Jesus’ words. Moved by the message of Jesus and the love of Esther, Ben Hur finds the strength to renounce violence, embrace his family, and finally forgive those who sought to destroy him. At last the slave, the charioteer, the rebel, is at peace." Although Ben Hur was well produced and had some great action sequences I must say that the first half of the film is boring. In addition it can be quite upsetting to see that the cornerstone of the movie, Jesus is reduced to a mere prop. Perhaps the only real casualty of this simplification of story detail to the bare minimum is that it makes the Jesus scenes seem extraneous. The 1959 film and the original book are very much in the tradition of the story, in which Ben-Hur’s life intersects with that of Christ but he does not realise the significance of this seemingly minor character in his own story until the very end. In these earlier versions, the appearances of Jesus initially seem subtle and almost incidental, but in the context of the movie are very impact-full. In this arena show remake subtlety is really not the goal, and the narrative is instead rather abruptly halted for the Messiah to make his cameos, which might seem somewhat random to anyone unfamiliar with the story. There were also a number of unnecessary sex scenes and nudity which is not a problem if you are into that thing but can be unnerving due to the religious context the film displays. Overall this was a decent attempt at the 1959 classic but ultimately proves to be lackluster in some places. Simply put Ben Hur is thrillingly impressive, flawed in many places yet unquestionably epic.