Sunday, June 12, 2011

Thoughts on "Ben-Hur"

Cropped screenshot of Charlton Heston from the...Image via WikipediaOne down, many to go. As epics go, it fit the bill, but even at 3+ hours, there were holes in the film that bothered me. He goes to Rome, and all of a sudden he's this expert chariot racer? Up to that point in the film, he hadn't even seen a horse! More back story on the friendship between Judah and Messala would have been nice as well. It seemed that William Wyler (the director) was obsessed with the "epic-ness" of the film and skimped on character development.

I have to say, Charlton Heston can overact with the best of them. Between Ben-Hur and The Ten Commandments, I've seen enough of his overwrought grimaces to last me for a while. The similarities between the two films and the characters he plays (a Jew, treated like a prince, befriends an enemy of his people, exiled...etc.) make you scratch your head.

The cinematography was fantastic and, in today's CGI world, the live action chariot race was amazing. The score was what you would expect from this type of story.

As an epic, it doesn't rank with Lawrence of Arabia, but it kept me interested. I'd say it's rank in the AFI Top 100 is warranted, but just barely so.

Next up: Raging Bull (1980)

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