The Ben-Hur Remake Is Dumb, Loud, and a Crime Against God

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I hate to speak for the Judeo-Christian deity—I imagine he’s not particularly a fan of it either—but I’m fully confident when I say God does not approve of Timur Bekmambetov’s Ben-Hur remake, which has turned a historical and religious epic into a dumb, loud, shitty summer blockbuster.

God, I’m sure, is most upset about turning a story whose original subtitle was “A Tale of the Christ” into a bloodless, thoughtless, nearly-religion-free accumulation of action scenes. I, on the other hand, am upset that we’re at the point that Hollywood is remaking critically acclaimed films of yesterday and dumbing them down for today’s audiences. If this Ben-Hur works, we will absolutely get an action movie version of Lawrence of Arabia. Then Bridge Over the River Kwai. Then Casablanca. This is wrong, and it must be stopped.

I’m also upset that Hollywood continues to give Timur Bekmambetov work, because he is a bad director. He has just enough skill to put a veneer of artistry on his films, but under it are action films as terribly shallow and thoughtless as anything Michael Bay has made. He has people fooled into thinking he’s an artiste because he underlights a few shots and uses a few unusual camera angles.


And now he’s taking down a classic Hollywood movie with him, reducing an epic that told an actual story into a collection of shrill, overwrought action scenes. This Ben-Hur is basically a louder, dumber Gladiator, and Gladiator was already a dumb summer action flick. This Ben-Hur is as awful and obnoxious and superficial as whatever the fuck Morgan Freeman is wearing on his head.

I hate it. Ben-Hur deserves better. Jack Huston (who was amazing in Boardwalk Empire) deserves a better showcase for his talents. And Timur Bekmambetov deserves to be making Sharknado movies.

Rob Bricken was the Editor of io9 from 2016-18, the creator of the poorly named but fan-favorite news site Topless Robot, and now writes nerd stuff for many places, because it's all he's good at.

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