And so it begins! The top 100 movies of all time, in 100 days. I knew that the list had some long epics, I was just hoping it didn’t start out that way. But alas, over three and a half hours later, Ben-Hur was completed, fortunately the film had an intermission, providing a much needed snack break. I went into this movie completely blind, I wasn’t sure if Ben was his first name, or if they were just misspelling the word “her” to create some sort of 1950’s pun. So obviously it came as quite a shock when the film opened with the birth of Jesus. Now for someone who is far more familiar the Old Testament rather than the new, I was not exactly looking forward to the next three and half hours, however I was pleasantly surprised.
For those who have not watched the epic, or haven’t skimmed the wikipedia plot, Ben-Hur was based off of a book and involved a wealthy Jewish prince named Judah Ben-Hur in the first century. Ben-Hur and his mother and sister are wrongfully accused of a crime and sent to jail by his friend turned enemy Messala (leader of the Romans who just have to control everything).
So I’m all for the hero having a girlfriend, I mean it’s basically the best part of any epic, but can’t Ben-Hur’s girlfriend be a like bit more awesome? I mean here he is saving the world, and all she can do it rock a head scarf? And another thing! I don’t consider myself an expert of ancient diseases, but I feel like Ben-Hur’s mother and sister did not look like they had leprosy (spoiler alert they get leprosy). If anything it just looks like they had a bad case of herpes. I’m thinking body parts are gonna be falling off, and all they have are some warts around their mouth.
Umm excuse me, why aren’t your body parts falling off?
At the famous climax of a movie, Ben-Hur faces his frenemy the only appropriate way, through chariot racing, which is totally fine, and my preferred method of confrontation, but I’m just a little perplexed as to where he learned these skills? Was is while he was rowing underneath a boat? Or maybe while he was walking miles and miles through the desert? Is chariot racing some kind of natural gift? And if so, how will I know if I have it if nobody will enter a chariot race with me?
So in case you were unaware this film has a strong religious connection. Jesus is seen throughout, luscious locks blowing in the breeze just fixing everyone’s problems, just cause. Like oh your mom and sister have leprosy? Fixed. You still have incredible anger towards your frenemy and now you can’t have a functional relationship? Done. Oh your girlfriend sucks? Bam now she’s slightly better. This Jesus guy seems pretty magical, I mean I still love my bagels and lox and my Moses, but I can really see the appeal of this guy.
Apparently everyone else did too, because this movie won 11 Oscars, which is like Lord of the Rings status. The sheer magnitude of film makes it easy to see why is receive such critical acclaim. The much honored chariot racing scene had 15,000 extras, an unfathomable amount for that time. The acting was deserving of Academy Awards, despite the fact that Ben-Hur, played by Charlton Heston, looked like he was about to cry throughout the entire film. Seriously though:
It’s easy to understand why this movie is placed on the list, the filming and sheer magnitude of the film was revolutionary and truly epic. I could definitely imagine I remake for todays generation. One with more Gosling and less clothing.
Rating: 3 out of 5 tears that Judah was about to shed, but never did