I haven't said this in my previous posts, so I'll say it now: Happy Holidays everyone. For this occasion I decided to do a review on a film that's not quite a Christmas movie, (in fact it's more of an Easter film), but still has the same kind of feel good aura around it most Christmas movies do and often used to be shown on T.V. during the Holiday and Easter seasons. It's time for the Illusive One's Ben-Hur Review.
Released in 1959, the film was the most epic of its time, using over 100,000 costumes, 8,000 extras, 300 sets, and the largest budget of its time. It was directed by William Wyler and starred Charlton Heston and was based on the novel of the same name by Lew Wallace. The film would go on to win 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor for Heston, and Best Director for Wyler and was the third Best Director win of his carrier.
The film revolves around the story of Jewish nobleman, Judah Ben-Hur during the Biblical era. After a cruel twist of fate and a betrayal of a once beloved friend, Judah finds all he loves taken from him, beginning his epic story that leads him to becoming a slave on Roman gallons, to a champion chariot racer, to an adopted son of a Roman noble, and finally back to Jerusalem where he seeks vengeance against his former friend and hopes to be reunited with his true friends and family and to fateful encounters with Jesus Christ that change his life.
On the positive side...well...nearly everything about it is good. It's well acted, has a great plot, and for its time had great production value with a lot of great scenes, most famous being the climactic chariot race and cleverly blended the story of Jesus with that of Ben-Hur. While the plot may seem a little clichéd by today's standards it didn't come off that way at all. Ben-Hur's character is dynamic and great and throughout the entire movie, you find yourself hoping he will win in the end, but also want him to find the peace that has eluded him since the start of the film.
On the negative side, however, the film is a bit outdated. Most of the costumes, particularly the Roman armor, the ships, special effects and most of the fights look really bad and fake by today's standards. A few I remember in particular are a man who climbs out of a ship with his hand missing with what looks like a piece of plastic sticking out of the stub and another where a man starts tearing his skin trying to get a chain off. But those are the only complaints have. Everything else is great.
All around, this was a great movie, and I would highly recommend it to anyone. It's a great story of a man who has the world, looses it, only to gain it back again in a different form, learning something along the way. Maybe it's not a Christmas movie but it's still a great feel good movie so check it out.
Until next time, this is the Illusive One saying Happy Holidays.