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But really, its all about the storys symbolic baptisms and Bekmambetovs askew wide angle compositions.
The briskness was but one reason I found this quasi Biblical epic strangely refreshing.
Bekmambetovs insistence on close ups might have been a budgetary matter, but the result is a muddled, inconsequential messand another symbol of the mo ..
This movie is thrilling to watch, and the 21st century production values definitely stand out when compared to the classic version (and the two will d ..
Common Sense Media
Morgan Freemans character a shrewd but honest merchant who cannot resist a good bet is sagely wise enough, and he carries it off with effortless ease. ..
Chariots of tired.Director Timur Bekmambetov looks to combine his particular action style with a classic tale of Christian forgiveness in Ben Hur, the ..
Bekmambetovs race is loud and furiously edited, but lacks a consistent narrative, a sense of momentum.
Sinking to the bottom of a heap of monolithic summer flops, this remake fails both as action fare and as a spiritual parable.
But this is a greenscreen Ben Hur and the passion and grandeur of scale have gone missing.Bekmambetovs direction has nothing in the way of nuance or o ..
Thats a double edged sword in the third act, as the film struggles to tie up all the loose ends, but the performances are just good enough to get thou ..
The director of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter delivers a thuddingly dull witted remake of a biblical epic that wasnt exactly subtle to begin with.
There is a timely message of tolerance and forgiveness, but Ben Hur is a poorly constructed historical epic that fails to leave an impact.
Throughout, Ben Hur keeps teasing us with the promise of the chariot race.
They end up with something soulless and empty, with all the mystery and grandeur of the tale just gone.
The acting is mediocre, the cliches sprout like weeds and the dialogue is at times unintentionally laughable.
Passable for the most part, but laughably inept in places, Ben Hur 2016 relies on its overly CG action to pull it through. But in the end it can only ..
A bruising, pulse racing mix of savagery and CGI, the competition musters tension and thrills, even as its outcome remains solidly predictable.
For Timur Bekmambetov, the Kazakh born director of Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the answers simple: plenty, providing it keeps things m ..
An amateurish effort that boasts direct to video characteristics, the latest version disappoints in almost every production aspect.
While its depiction of Jesus suffering is graphic, the films religious message is so gooey, soft, and feel good, it might as well be a New Age pamphle ..
So, Bekmambetov keeps everything tight, creating incoherent collages instead of thrilling vistas, and even though the race does have its moments of vi ..
Den Of Geek
Its amazing how much that film manages to dwarf this one in spectacle, with even new 3D visuals not being able to hold a candle to the huge scope of t ..
It cant always escape the shadow of its namesake, but when this Ben Hur comes into its own, it does so with a thrilling fire and brimstone ferocity.
We Got This Covered
Call it Chariots of Misfire..The good news is that the story of Ben Hur is so rock solid that not even the director of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter ..
Even the adequately done but not too thrilling CGI heavy center piece 15 minute long chariot race adds little to this stodgy film.
Often its genuinely thrilling, always its noisy, sometimes its confusing.
The Globe And Mail
The story is shredded to the bare bones, then the bones picked clean of drama and common sense.Even the chariot race is ho hum.
The dialogue is all shallow, modern glibness, performed without distinction by dull actors.
Eric Ds Nider
But as the 1959 version demonstrated, these action moments need underlying dramatic plausibility to be most effective, and neither Huston, the grandso ..
As Charlton Heston would have told you, if you rush it, its not an epic.
Rogers Movie Nation
Whether that undercutting comes during the movies big setpieces or in finding solid and consistent through lines for its characters, it always comes w ..
Mark Reviews Movies
Im not saying I necessarily wanted an even longer version of the film (it already clocks in just above two hours), but this sort of tale is grand in s ..
This is a textbook case, step by agonising step, of how not to make a big budget blockbuster.
The epic story of Judah Ben Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala, an officer in the Roman army.
But the movie soon blots out any hint of fun, ferocity or imagination.
It needed a star like the Russell Crowe of Gladiator to provide dramatic heft.
The New York Times
The Jesus of Ben Hur is not one that challenges us.But divorced from its themes, this is still the ugliest and most generic of the recent Bible films.
The Young Folks
Nor can anything make us forget Charlton Hestons granite jawed version of proud Judah.
Fitfully entertaining but also curiously old fashioned, this is a film that only really sparks into life when the crowds are baying for blood and the ..
Lew Wallaces 1880 novel Ben Hur: A Tale of the Christ was a publishing phenomenon in its day and a precursor to the Christian entertainment business t ..
Nowadays you can do just about anything with computer generated graphics, which, paradoxically, takes much of the magic out of the movies.
With an ending that is hokey but a genuinely nice epilogue invented for this version, the film manages to end on a good grace note.
What is the merit in turning an iconic four hour Bible epic into a two hour drama with updated special effects
Ben Hur is an oddly lackluster affair: sludgy and plodding, photographed in nondescript medium close up, an epic that feels like a mini series served ..
The result is something blunt and overstuffed instead of large scale heartstopping.
Its not great. Its not terrible. It is bland manufactured entertainment product. Its fine. Hollywood is not creatively bankrupt. Everything is fine.
For those who have not seen it, this film will possibly suffice on the strength of the bone crunching chariot race and the exotic spectacle of the anc ..
Urban Cine File
While there is nothing particularly awful about this remake of the 1959 ancient world classic, the brash, breakneck style obviously geared towards a y ..
If you havent seen the age old classic, dont worry, you can still watch this one and enjoy.
Book My Show
To be sure Lincoln was a hoot, a guilty pleasure par excellence, but the loony spirit that infused it is hardly what one is looking for in an adaptati ..
One Guys Opinion
Philipps keeps shooting his characters in tight pairings, as if searching for tension, but the story lacks momentum and it only really comes alive thr ..
For an act and a half Ben Hur is so dull and lifeless, it makes Ridley Scotts similar Biblical epic Exodus: Gods and Kings look like a classic.
Theres a fatally miscast lead (Jack Huston, you are no Charlton Heston), cut rate special effects, reams of eyeball glazing dialogue, and a schmaltzy ..
New York Post
Actually, its not quite as bad as its commercial performance suggests, but thats not to say its much good, either.
Ben Hur is dreadful to look at, so murky and dark at times, that its difficult to know whether to blame the weather, a duff conversion to 3D or Oliver ..
Otherwise, the film works well enough, but mostly in workman like fashion that never becomes truly rousing.
While I wish it maintained its strong characterizations and topical themes throughout the story, Ben Hur is still an admirable contender in the summer ..
The production values may be high, but theres very few consistent thrills.
Is this is a satire of a hopelessly deluded radical or a rousing celebration of personal resistance in an increasingly ugly, conformist world
The story of that act and its tragic consequences is told in Anthropoid, a sincere, slow burning drama that eventually delivers a gripping, bullet str ..
If only the rest of the film had been so unintentionally hilarious.Instead its just dull.
An epic tale of revenge and forgiveness with a junk food centre, Timur Bekmambetovs Ben Hur remake offers robust spectacle and some decent performance ..
Both its running time (about two hours, compared to the 1959 films nearly four) and its overt religious message have been cut way back, leaving a trun ..
Las Vegas Weekly
The epic has been big no pun intended in Hollywood since the days of DeMille.Sadly, modern Hollywood seems to have largely forgotten how its done.
This is largely deliberate.The physical mayhem in director Bekmambetovs hands is meant to be chaotic and messy.
It should come as no surprise that, at a technical level, the Chariot race is the focus of the film as well and the greatest beneficiary of Bekmambeto ..
The filmmaker behind Wanted and Daywatch contracts the 212minutes required by the Wyler film, into a 120 minutes flurry of fast cuts.
Director Timur Bekmambetovs adventure drama sells its core themes in a way that will please the overtly devout and general audiences just looking for ..
Those moments are still, truly epic.But bringing in the over exposed Morgan Freeman to play Sheik Ilderim is a decided mistake, guaranteed to take us ..
But this Ben Hur is explicitly a faith based film.And a preachy one.
The net result is a movie that, even with moments of cinematic, computer generated splendor, feels like a Hallmark Channel remake of a theatrical clas ..
It achieves sometimes overachieves the epic greatness to which it aspired.
Todays filmmakers may know how to do superhero movies (most of the time), but the Biblical era epic eludes them.
Maki At The Movies
The trade off is a less majestic scope for a more visceral thrill; not an improvement, but not a cheap imitation either.
Its also impossible to compare this version with its predecessor which was ultimately one of the greatest pieces of cinema ever made.
Hey U Guys
Lets cut to the chariot chase. The latest screen version of Ben Hur would be little more than a condensed miniseries without it, framed for small tele ..
Tamp A Bay
But its the kind of spectacle that prompts more awe than affection: despite the justly famous climactic chariot race, as storytelling its worn less we ..
Sure, it hews a faintly predictable path, but it proves theres plenty of life in stop motion yet.
This new version of Ben Hur is consistently at war with itself, a tonal nightmare of didactic faith based melodramatic drivel coupled with over edited ..
In spite of its various imperfections, Ben Hur always manages to entertain, proving the timelessness of epic structure and scale.
The Play List
Because any way you look at it even the hope of being so bad, its good the new Ben Hur is an epic fail.This one may claim to have gone back to the ori ..
The resulting film is well intentioned, worthy and historically accurate but largely lacks emotion so it deserves four stars for effort, but two for e ..
Before we address this feeble film as a whole, lets leave out the chariot race sequence from the overall assessment.Though its a choppy, croppy cyclon ..
Ive got to give credit to this new version for being entertaining in parts, even though it still cant justify its own existence.
It is a really average movie; dragged down a notch by just how little faith the studio has clearly had in it and how forgettable it all is when all is ..
Star Burst Magazine
The movie works overtime to both differentiate itself from its predecessor and pay homage to it, mostly successfully.
Ben Hur Offers a Fresh But Flimsy Take on the Tale of the Christ The latest version isnt bad but also isnt very good.There is one noteworthy sequence ..
Film School Rejects
The gruesome pileups and ferocious battle makes for welcome drama.
Ben Hur is made with enough conviction and thoughtfulness that its messiness, its grandstanding, its occasional bouts of clumsiness cant crack its adm ..
Its just that it doesnt remotely outstrip the astonishing technical achievements of films shot nearly 90 and 60 years ago.
The Arts Desk
Despite its best intentions, its hard to imagine this film leaving a huge impact on audiences.
The Film Pie
While Ben Hur presents itself as a Bible epic spectacular, it instead succeeds as an intimate depiction of forgiveness gained through the rigours of f ..
Matts Movie Reviews
Its a silly action film pretending to be a Hollywood classic.The production values and the CGI is top notch.
Visually, the film is a fine mix of computer aided spectacle and lived in 1st century settings.
Just the sight of him makes you want to hiss.Whats frustrating is that theres so many good things about this Ben Hur that its hard to understand why s ..
Clarke and Ridley leave that out but never fill the narrative gap.
Metro New York
A rousing, thrilling, and exhilarating epic in spite of the lethargic, stilted drama during its first hour. Morgan Freeman shows up as Ilderim to resc ..
Nyc Movie Guru
1 of 13 View Caption This image released by Paramount Pictures shows Moises Arias as Dismas, left, and Jack Huston as Judah Ben Hur in a scene from &q ..
Even if Bekmambetovs CGI galleys still dont look as good as the artistry and craft of 1959s miniatures in a swimming pool.
Its ending even further dilutes whatever little impact its sympathetic viewing of Biblical characters may have generated, showing it up for half heart ..
Very rarely does it try to impress us, or overwhelm us, shock us, move us.
Elsewhere, this unadventurous reboot can only highlight how recent epics like Ridley Scotts Gladiator have already plundered the William Wyler film of ..
Russian Director Timur Bekmambetov delivers a solidly entertaining, well shot, biblical epic.
The chariot race remains pivotal to this latest adaptation and director Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, 2012) does away with the f ..
In both cases, current day special effects wizardry means the grand spectacle sequences are more impressive than any previous versions of the oft told ..
Chicago Sun Times
Cheap and cheesy at every level, this Ben Hur barely qualifies as an epic.
Timur Bekmambetovs period epic Ben Hur gives the BC era the AD treatment.
Huston doesnt command the screen like Heston did but he brings a sensitivity that makes him endearing and sympathetic.
Punch Drunk Critics
You dont have to be hip to mid century cinematic language to get that Judah and Messala were more than just brothers.Its BARELY subtext.
Otherwise this limp simulacrum of epic filmmaking should be eschewed in favor of that Niblo version.
Killer Movie Reviews
A crowd pleasing Biblical action movie should ideally be bold and colorful.
East Bay Express
The latest adds the miracle of 3D, but thats not enough to top its illustrious, 11 Oscar predecessor.
Great acting, cinematography, Thrilling, Enticing, Passionate and Not to Miss
Years spent spilling blood on the battlefield have made him a decorated soldier of the Empire, so when pesky zealots cause a ruckus hes duty bound to ..
The dialogue is dull rather than cheesy, the acting is disappointingly proficient and the 3D CGI effects are actually rather good.
Jack Huston is impressive as Judah Ben Hur. He brings a natural air of noblesse oblige to the role, not to mention the emotional nuance that Mr. Hesto ..
The screenplay is bland, its exposition and frequent voiceover narration plied with plaintive, generic emotional exchanges.
When the camera zooms out, it captures the dramas epic scale and the wonder of new technological effects, that bring these settings to life.
Unfortunately, thinly sketched characters and shaky cinematography undermine director Timur Bekmambetovs attempts to bring the ambitious script to lif ..
The suspense is well maintained and Gibson and Moriarty give strong performances.
The result is visceral and exciting but to a generation of moviegoers raised on action blockbusters, its not nearly enough to justify the price of adm ..
To explain its failures, it would be easy to point to its lackluster script and wooden performances, but the real problem is spiritual.If youre going ..
Washington City Paper
The movies action sequences could stand up to your average superhero adventure.
Hollywood Into To
Despite the films flaws, there will be an audience for this swords and sandals epic.
It demands characters with substantial depth and performances that inspire the audiences investment, so that their eventual acquiescence to his messag ..
That race is exciting, even if the computer generated horses look unconvincing.
If you liked Gods of Egypt or 300: Rise of an Empire, you will like this.
Iol Co Za
Despite six decades of technological advances and the presence of a director who has previously shown an ability to present coherent action sequences, ..
You can argue its a story that didnt need to be retold 57 years later, but in many ways this version is a better movie.Oddly, thats still not enough t ..
If unlikely to leave the same cultural sandal print, it is surely the fastest and most furious.
Ben Hur offers a compelling storyline, told with competence by virtually unknown actors.It is an impressive act of filmmaking but it just needs that e ..
Huffing Ton Post
This movie was remade, I guess, to hammer you over the head with the fact its supposed to be a Christian morality tale.
Abc News Go
Those scenes are amazing, full of wildly disorderly life and not movie making spectacle.
The action sequences keep it from being a total wash, but only slightly.The chariot is more brutal than the original, but it isnt as gracefully shot o ..
This modern reboot tells the same story in a brisk two hours and its energy never flags.
When it finally arrives director Timur Bekmambetov (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Wanted) serves up an in your face spectacle complete with impress ..
The remake of Ben Hur is more simplistically faith based than its classic 1959 predecessor, but the tweaks to the storyline make the film feel more in ..
Russian Kazakh director Timur Bekmambetov hasnt a hope of filling those sandals with this remake when it comes to drama, tone, and overall class.
The locations are sprawling and epic, but everything is slathered in the same washed out color palette.
But recent genre films like Wrath of the Titans and Hercules havent connected with American audiences.Bekmambetov might find a way to bring this story ..
Tacky and Heartless, Ben Hur Remake Shows Classics Should Be Left Untouched The direction is uninspired, the script lacks a subtext, the two lead acto ..
A grand tale, the underlying narrative may be; a grand cinema event, Ben Hur circa 2016 definitely isnt.
For those of us who know the 1959 version well, no comparison is useful. Put it completely out of your mind. See it fresh and through the eyes of teen ..
The tightly shot chariot race is at least exciting and intense, but not enough to exceed expectations.
However, the sea battle is wonderful and the chariot race (Huston is a good horseman) is spectacular.
The Phantom Tokkboth
Its un thunderous lack of impact keeps this Ben Hur from making a mark.
If ever someone deserved a crack at a high speed chariot race, its him.
Times Of Israel
Of course, the centerpiece is the exciting Circus Maximus chariot race.
The action of that horse race is just as thrilling and exquisitely choreographed as any present day movie car chase.
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