Thursday, September 22, 2016

Movie Review:Ben-Hur

Ben-Hur (1959)

Rating: PG (violence and injuries)

Recommended for: Ages 14 and up

A member of the Jewish nobility living in Jerusalem, Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) lives a religious life and peacefully opposes the tyrannical occupation of Judea by Rome.

After months of waiting to watch this movie (we recorded it the week of Christmas) I finally got to see it. It wasn't nearly as good as the book, but it was still good.

Technical: 4/5

This is an old movie, so the acting was a little stiff and awkward at times. There was some good acting too. The film score would get dramatic at strange times and was also a little weird. The chariot race was pretty realistic (and a little horrifying) and left us wondering how they would have done it. The pacing was good and I wasn't confused about things, even when they changed things.

Setting: 4.5/5

The setting was true to the book, from what I can remember. Things didn't seem to be historically out of place. I don't know a ton about the area, but nothing was obviously out of place.

Plot: 3.5/4

There was a lot that was changed from the book and in my opinion, it was not for the better. They cut a major character, killed a major character that didn't die, and changed a very major event. The basic plot line is still the same and they keep some of the most major things. Some of the things they cut probably would have taken the focus away from Ben-Hur.

Characters: 4.5/5

For the most part, the characters are the same as they were in the book. They also let you see two characters' good friendship before it went bad. Ben-Hur wants to protect his family and to get revenge. The actor was a little too old for Ben-Hur and didn't exactly look the part but since he is on the cover of the book I read, I think of him as Ben-Hur.

This movie is semi-faithful to the book. It is an old movie but it is still good. I would recommend it. and if you like the book, it is still worth watching (just be prepared for major changes) and it is a good movie despite its differences from the book.

1 comment:

  1. Okay, I watched the movie before reading the book, and I personally prefer the movie. There were moments that I absolutely loved in the movie that I looked for in the book -- and they weren't there. I haven't read the book through thoroughly, so I could be missing some things that make it better than the movie.
    BUT (Spoilers ahead) for instance, when the ship is rammed, Judah takes the time in the movie to unlock the chains of as many other prisoners as possible before fleeing himself. It's just a moment, but it really endeared me to Judah, knowing that he had a sense of compassion and selflessness. I looked for that in the book -- nonexistent. He doesn't seem to care about the other prisoners and simply flees. Also, I really liked the way the movie showed his friendship with Messalla before they quarreled; it made the betrayal that much more powerful. And I preferred Judah's romance in the movie to the book. I am an admitted lover of good romances, and I thought the movie developed the romance better than the book did. I thought the movie did do a beautiful job of the scenes when Jesus gave Judah water and then Judah gave Jesus water; they were sensitive and powerful to me. And -- this is really personal -- but I felt the crucifixion in a new way when it was shown at the end of that movie. Not that the crucifixion itself was shown with a lot of brutality, but when one has watched a film that shows Roman brutality so painfully, it lends a whole new raw aspect to the cross that we who (fortunately) have never seen a crucifixion usually don't think about.(end spoilers)
    I think it probably has a lot to do with the fact that I watched the movie before reading the book instead of vice versa, but I thought the movie was really profound in a lot of ways; the portrayal of Christ struck me as being wonderfully sensitive. I can understand how you would love the book better, having seen it first, though.
    Sorry for the long comment! :) And I'm certainly not trying to downplay your opinions or anything. I just love the movie, and wanted it praised a little more by pointing out some moments that I, personally loved.


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