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Review: Ben-Hur

Posted on the 05 April 2012 by Impsndcnma @impsndcnma

Ben-Hur is a cinema classic that should need no introduction. Unfortunately, there are too many of us who have yet to see this epic, myself included until recently. Blu-ray has allowed me to see this movie as it has never been seen before and I’d like to share my journey into the biblical epic that is Ben-Hur.

Ben-Hur stars Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy, highly regarded Jewish prince in Jerusalem during the 1st century. An old friend of his is coming into Jerusalem, but his intentions are not pure at heart. Messala arrives in Jerusalem with his army of Roman’s, ready to conquer for the Roman Empire. Messala requests Judah’s help, in essentially, taking control of Judah’s people and land.

Review: Ben-Hur

Judah refuses to help his friend and when an accident disrupts a Roman brigade, Messala is all to quick to turn a blind eye to Ben-Hur’s request for help. At this point in the story, I was reminded of Gladiator. A high-ranking officials fall from grace and cast away to rot and die. It just shows how timeless the story of Ben-Hur continues to be today. Judah is about to fade away in the desert until a concealed man gives him a cup of water.

This man is supposed to be Jesus Christ. Going into Ben-Hur, I never knew it was a biblical epic. That is made quite clear in the opening sequence of events. Featuring scenes captured throughout our history of the birth of Christ, the scenes tell the story gracefully without even have to explain the events unfolding. Jesus is the entity that drives the story forward even if all we focus on is the struggle and perseverance of Judah Ben-Hur.

There can be no such thing as spoilers for a movie that is fifty years old, so from here on I’m going into my thoughts and highlighting some of the classic sequences. If you want to witness Ben-Hur for your first time unspoiled, I highly recommend picking up the new Blu-ray set. 

The scene everyone remembers from Ben-Hur is probably the chariot race. I was stunned watching that scene. From the costume design, to actually having to build the stadium and statues for the event, it’s an amazing achievement. On top of all that, Heston has to learn to ride chariot for the scene. I don’t see very many actors accomplishing that these days.

Review: Ben-Hur

Finally, I did not expect Ben-Hur’s family to survive imprisonment. What an unlikely surprise that the miracle of Christ, saved their lives and made them believers. Ben-Hur doesn’t drive faith down your throat the whole movie, which is something I respect about the movie. Having no religious attachment to the material (Jewish), I felt a pain when Ben-Hur was witnesses the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. I would recommend it to all my friends and family regardless of faith.

Ben-Hur is a monumental film achievement. Every person involved with the production, casting, designing should forever remembered for the gift they gave cinema. There is a reason Ben-Hur won eleven academy awards when it was released. It is an excellent film and they don’t make them like this anymore.

[Images from dvdbeaver.com]

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