It would seemeth as the “biblical” epic hath made a comeback over the last few years and while that’s a good thing for the true believers, the addition of modern CG effects actually take somethings away from those old familiar tales. Like realistic physics and properly working gravity for example. That and why the hell would Paramount remake Ben-Hur when both the silent 1925 version and 1959 remake (which some think is the “original” version!) are still holding up all these years since their initial releases? I just found out that there’s a 1907 film called Ben-Hur that’s only 15 minutes long and focuses on the chariot race, but I know some of you think I’m already nuts, so here’s proof that I am in fact, NOT.
Anyway, Take a gander at this scratchy old trailer for the 1925 version:
And yes, take a look at the remake’s famous chariot race sequence (which was almost a shot for shot reworking of the second film’s):
Yeah, yeah, I know some of you out there LIKE the fancy and expensive CG effects in that new trailer above. But the distinct lack of realism in the action there as opposed to the older films where it’s all practical effects, daring stuntmen and PAINFUL looking wrecks is a great deal more impressive than this new hybrid of Gladiator, Troy, 300, and any other hysterical “historical” or mythological big-dollar flick this century that got many butts in the seats. Being a former church-goer of a few denominations, I can also see some folks who follow noting the bigger story of a certain carpenter wrapping around Judah Ben-Hur’s seems to be pushed aside a bit much in that loud trailer. On the other hand, this is ONLY the first trailer and Paramount wants to get the action fiends in first and foremost for this fast and furious new version of an old classic.
As for Morgan Freeman in a dreadlock wig? My head hurts thinking about it, but I did laugh when I first saw him and thought of two jokes: God has been demoted and where the heck is that Predator 2 remake just so Freeman could play that voodoo priest who gets his head lopped off when he encounters that alien hunter. Hey, better to redo a film like that than one revered by many who see no need for a modern update that costs more but may be the lesser of three non-evils. Eh, we shall see… but I’m not expecting this to be nominated for 11 Oscars like the 1959 film was. FYI, the Academy Awards didn’t official exist until 1929 or else that 1925 flick wold have taken home a few key trophies, I bet.
I’ll keep my fingers crossed that Paramount makes its profit back on this new version, but I guess that’s up to the mob in question buying the tickets and whether the story goes where it needs to outside the action scenes and usual suspect paint-by-numbers plot points. We shall see, ladies and gents… we shall seeeeeeee.