Ben-Hur revisited is the best movie for the faith-based crowd since Gods of Egypt, and I say that with tongue firmly in cheek. Both are really weak. Like the 1959 original starring Charlton Heston, the 2016 remake tells the epic story of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, Messala Severus, an officer in the Roman army. After years enslaved in the galley of a ship, Judah returns to Jerusalem seeking revenge (and a reunion with his wife), but after an epic 3D chariot race against Messala, Judah finds redemption instead.
The movie strays from the original with a Jesus Christ crucifixion scene tacked on the end. Let’s just say, it doesn’t work. The PG-13 movie runs 125 minutes but felt longer. The acting is okay, though the accents are all over the map. British actors Jack Huston (nephew of Angelica) and Toby Kebbell (who appeared in the god-awful Warcraft movie earlier this summer) play Judah and Messala. Not quite your Charlton Heston-caliber screen presence, but the brothers have a few golden moments of sibling bonding and bickering. The movie opens with what sounds like the voice of God, only its Morgan Freeman, who shows up later in the film as a Bob Marley look-a-like who wanders the desert and wagers on chariot races. I didn’t hate this movie as much as many of the folks around me, but the oddball ending did not do this Ben-Hur any favors.