The remake of Ben Hur has gotten a lot of lousy reviews, but I suspect it is for two reasons:
One, that it is compared to the original which was a blockbuster story. The remake is not about spectacle but about the story of two men. A smaller and more people oriented story. Those who wanted CGI to outdo the original will be upset, but since a lot of remakes and new films are so full of special effects and CGI Violence that the story is lost I was happy with the choice to keep it limited to what is needed by the story line (and I am thinking of the Startrek remakes here... the stories don't make sense do they).
In BenHur 2016 the chariot race is better in some ways, because it is up close and personal (and very violent: Be warned). More closeup shots and shots of those in the stand who have a lot to lose if their champion loses.
Two: The theme is not revenge per se but ends with the story of forgiveness. How gauche in today's world where revenge and hatred is the meme. And of course, any hint of a Christian theme will automatically get you a bad review on Rotten Tomatoes, no matter what.
So I was surprised: The movie is actually pretty good, ( provided you are not wanting to see the old film rehashed with new special effects.)
It stands on it's own as a classic.
And I was happpy to see a "Biblical film without the holy characters having the deer in the headlights stare. The characters are not deep, but they make sense and you do like them.
In some ways it is better than the original, for it is shorter: much of what was cut out was the long boring center part of the original film.
and Morgan Freeman steals the film.
Yes, a preachy and sentimental ending with everyone united as one big happy family... but hey, Suicide Squad ended with Harley being reunited with her sweetie pie too...
so I give it a four out of five thumbs up. Worth the time to rent it from netflix, and even worth the money to see it in your local theater.