One of the benefits for me in living close to a large metropolitan city is to have easy access to the old historical structures that are still standing. I have always enjoyed seeing buildings from different style periods and eras such as Frank Lloyd Wright to Art Deco. The detailing on these buildings is something you rarely see these days. Now there are many modern structures that I find beautiful; in fact, there is a relatively new high rise building here that has series of balconies in different sizes to give the illusion of water cascading down the sides of the skyscraper. No matter where I travel I always try to find time to check out a place’s famous buildings; there is just something about these majestic structures that amaze me. Maybe part of it is due to the fact they are viable and still standing compared to some of the new buildings I have seen that already show decay. I may have mentioned some time ago my favorite movie theater growing up. It was one of those old stucco structures with a large colored marquee in front. Inside there was marble everywhere and all the porcelain and gold decorations were styled after actual objects found in churches, villas and palaces across Spain and Italy. I cannot describe the sadness I experienced when years later the land underneath the theater was purchased and the new owners demolished the structure. What replaced this grand theater was a monstrosity, an apartment building with retail stores. As for a new theater one was built several miles away; it was a cinder block, square structure void of any decorative appointments. Supposedly the candy counter had a bigger selection of candy and they claimed the popcorn was better. There are some things that should not be touched; they are perfectly fine just the way they are. BETRAYED and imprisoned for several years Judah Ben-Hur, played by Jack Huston (American Hustle, The Longest Ride), returned home to seek out revenge on the person who ruined his life; it was his adopted brother Messala Severus, played by Toby Kebbell (Fantastic Four, The East). This adventure drama remake also starred Morgan Freeman (London Has Fallen, Now You See Me franchise) as Ilderim, Rodrigo Santoro (300 franchise, Pele: Birth of a Legend) as Jesus and Sofia Black-D’Elia (The Immigrant, Project Almanac) as Tirzah Ben-Hur. CGI was the main tool used to freshen up this story. It was needed because I thought the script was just a mess. Some of the dialog was ridiculous and out of place for the time period. As for acting it was bland except I did not mind Morgan’s character even though it was similar to many of his other roles. He plays this sensible, mild spoken character who knows more than anyone else. Reading the credits there were two names listed I recognized that have produced other films; each one of their movies was poorly done in my opinion. It explains why this production was no different. You have to know if the horses are even trying to run out of the story then something must be terribly wrong with this picture.
1 ¾ stars
The usual way we learned about extraordinary, historical individuals was at home, school or in books. We may have been taught about these larger than life people due to the country we lived in, the religion we practiced or the affect they had on the general population where we resided; though there could be many other reasons. Already aware of the importance of these people, if one wants to make a film about them, they would need to do their due diligence in getting all the facts straight before documenting events onto the screen. There are a couple of films that come to mind that achieved this, such as Charlton Heston (Ben-Hur, Planet of the Apes franchise) as Moses in The Ten Commandments and Ben Kingsley (Hugo, Schindler’s List) as Mahatma Gandhi in Gandhi. So now here is this dramatic film about Jesus Christ that was produced by Mark Burnett, known for the reality television shows Survivor and Shark Tank. I discovered after watching this movie that it was born out of the History Channel’s mini-series The Bible. It says a great deal about this piece of work; Jesus Christ getting spun off, how pathetically sad. Diogo Morgado (Star Crossed, Mami Blue) had the challenge of portraying Jesus and he failed miserably. I found him to be a dull, unenlightened caricature who wandered from place to place for two hours. Darwin Shaw (Casino Royale, The Bible-TV) was only a tad better with his character Peter. The script was offensive to me. I am not an expert on biblical quotes but some of the things that people were saying in this film did not sound right to me. The sets were uninspired and the long shot repeatedly used of the city looked like a bad computer graphic made by a Commodore 64 computer. (You older folks may get this analogy.) If one is going to invest the time and money into a movie project of this magnitude, then they need to take the time to do it right. While watching this dull movie I felt it looked like it was just thrown together without much thought. I cannot even say this film would have been better as a TV movie or mini-series; it would make no difference. I think I can accurately say most people have heard of Jesus Christ and probably know more about his story than this film. There were a few scenes where blood was shown.
1 1/2 stars