|BEN HUR (director: Timur Bekmambetov; screenwriters: Keith Clarke/John Ridley/from the book by Lew Wallace; cinematographer: Oliver Wood; editor: Dody Dorn; music: Marco Beltrami; cast: Jack Huston (Judah Ben-Hur ), Toby Kebbell (Messala Severus), Morgan Freeman (Hderim), Rodrigo Santoro (Jesus), Pilou Asbæk (Pontius Pilate), Nazanin Boniadi (Esther), Sofia Black D'Elia(Tirzah Ben Hur), Ayelet Zurer.(Naomi Ben Hur); Runtime: 124; MPAA Rating: PG-13; producers: Sean Daniel/Joni Levin/Duncan Henderson; Paramount; 2016)|
|"I could find nothing
appealing in this tedious remake of
the silent 1925 and the colorful 1959
by Dennis Schwartz
Judah Ben Hur (Jack Huston, English actor and the grandson of John Huston), the miscast leaden star, is the wealthy Jewish prince in Roman-occupied Jerusalem. His adopted oily brother and best childhood friend is the Roman orphan Messala Severus (Toby Kebbell). In an even more wasted performance he has to read lines that only make you gasp with disbelief.
Falsely accused of sedition after a zealot releases an arrow at the governor during a Roman parade through Jerusalem, Judah Ben Hur is made a galley slave, his family home taken and his parents secretly placed under arrest. Five years later Judah survives the Roman war ship wreckage and swims ashore to hook up with the dreadlock-sporting African nomad leader (Morgan Freeman), a horse trainer, who sponsors him to enter the chariot race at the circus to oppose Messala Severus.
Jesus (Rodrigo Santoro) is ridiculously characterized preaching his forced love message as he's led to the cross. Of note, one of Jesus' followers is Judah’s sweetheart, Esther (Nazanin Boniadi). Both characters come off as unbelievable caricatures of real people, as the human touch has not rubbed off on any character in this spiritless adaptation.
REVIEWED ON 8/19/2016 GRADE: C-
Dennis Schwartz: "Ozus' World Movie Reviews"
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