Movie Review: Ben-Hur

  Hello all, and welcome to my review of Ben-Hur! 😀

I went into this one mostly blind. This is a movie I remember my mom owning, but I never actually watched it before. Lol, now I feel like going back and seeing the original. 🙂

  Starring: Jack Huston (Judah Ben-Hur), Toby Kebbell (Messala Severus), Rodrigo Santoro (Jesus), Nazanin Boniadi (Esther), Ayelet Zurer (Naomi Ben-Hur), Pilou Asbaek (Pontius Pilate), Sofia Black-D’Elia (Tirzah Ben-Hur), Morgan Freeman (Ilderim)

Plot (taken from IMDb):

“Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army, returns to his homeland after years at sea to seek revenge, but finds redemption.”



Jack Huston (Judah Ben-Hur) – I really liked this character. He was relatable, especially because he really was trapped in the middle in the beginning. He was always trying to keep the peace, and never really took any side at first, but he was always kind.

Toby Kebbell (Messala Severus) – Oddly enough (and this is probably because I’ve been binge watching Game of Thrones), Messala’s motivations for what he did to land him on opposite sides with Judah remind me a bit of a certain character’s motivations from Game of Thrones, before that one thing happens to him. O.o (Trying to avoid spoilers, for those who have not yet partaken of the crack that is Game of Thrones.) I’m always torn between loathing him, and feeling a little sorry for him.

Rodrigo Santoro (Jesus) – He’s only in a handful of scenes in the movie, but the actor did a really great job. He’s always this calm presence on the sidelines, and it was really well done how they tied him in.

Nazanin Boniadi (Esther) – I love this character. She’s strong, and never lets go of her convictions, even when things start getting ugly.

Ayelet Zurer (Naomi Ben-Hur) – Judah’s mother. There are a few times where I don’t appreciate her very much, when she’s not being very nice to Messala in the beginning.

Pilou Asbaek (Pontius Pilate) – First of all, I’m sorry for spelling this actor’s last name without the correct lettering, but I couldn’t figure out if it was even possible to do those letters correctly in Danish on my keyboard. It probably is, but I am not computer savvy enough. Secondly, I loved to hate this character, lol. He seemed to love cruelty, and was a big fan of blood-sports. As long as everything went his way, he was happy.

Sofia Black-D’Elia (Tirzah Ben-Hur) – Judah’s sister. She seems to be kind, and have a sunny personality.

Morgan Freeman (Ilderim) – I love this actor! He’s amazing in anything, so I’m always happy to see any movie he’s in. 😀 His character is kind of mysterious, but I really like him. He has his own agendas, but he’s a friend to Judah.


Just a word of warning – this movie is not the non-stop thrill ride that the trailer makes it out to be. There are some good action scenes, but the bulk of the movie is a little slower paced. But please don’t take that to be a bad thing at all – it’s really not, since the main point of the movie isn’t battle anyway. It doesn’t drag or anything, but I felt like the trailer made it look more like Gladiator than it actually is.

Since I went into this blind, I didn’t really even realize that it had Jesus in it. I knew religion would be in it, but I didn’t realize it was a main theme.

Also, not a bad thing. I usually like movies that bring God into them, and I really liked this one too. The way they brought everything together, with Jesus and the crucifixion was really well done.

I think one of my very few complaints would be the excessive amount of gratuitous horse death. Lol, I am surprised that horses aren’t extinct by the end of this movie.

I do realize that no horses were actually harmed in the making of this movie, but the short little bits where horses kept getting knocked off made me wince and look away.

It’s really interesting – this movie reminded me of the 2002 version of The Count of Monte Cristo. The idea that the pursuit of vengeance will only lead to more suffering is really prevalent in both movies.

I also loved the relationship between Judah and Esther. Lol, I am a total sucker for romance. No matter what, she never gave up on him. And they always loved each other, no matter how many years they were separated. ❤

My rating for Ben-Hur: Cash-Worthy – Going in with only a vague idea of what it was about, I was really pleasantly surprised by this movie. Check this one out if you like movies like the original 1959 Ben-Hur or 2002 version of The Count of Monte Cristo, or like movies with an underlying religious theme in general.


My Rating System:

Epic: This movie is so mind-bogglingly awesome that I may go see it twice. This one will have a place of honor on my shelf.

Cash-Worthy: Good stuff. This will most likely find a place on my shelf.

Not Bad: I liked it. I’m glad I saw it, and it may or may not end up on my shelf at some point. I would say rent it first to be safe.

Meh: Rent it first. You may love it or hate it, but I’m indifferent probably because it’s not my type of movie. I’m glad I saw it, but it won’t end up on my shelf.

Emergency Cake: I have an emotional reaction to movies sometimes, especially to tragedies. If a movie makes me sad or angry, sometimes it will stick with me for a while. At these times, only chocolate cake can save me. Chocolate cake makes everything better. No shelf for you. Ever.



7 thoughts on “Movie Review: Ben-Hur

  1. disperser says:

    Another movie I’ll not be watching. In part, the religious thing, I must admit, but I’m glad you likes it.

    I have watched the original . . . and let it slip from any of the memory compartments I can access. All I remember is that I didn’t like the original. Didn’t hate it, either. It just didn’t do anything for me. Contrived, would be my one-word review.

    Also, I had read this version concentrates more on forgiveness whereas the 1959 version focused more on vengeance (more my style than forgiveness). Both versions differ from the 1925 adaptation of the 18th-century book. And everything differs from the book.

    • paigeaddams says:

      Yeah, this one is definitely more about forgiveness. Judah starts out full of vengeance, with good reason, but in the end he does forgive. And I didn’t even know there was a 1925 version. The book sounds really interesting though – in general, I know books tend to be better than the movies based on them. I’d be interested in reading this one, but I may get stuck on the language, lol, like I do with Jane Austen. XD

    • disperser says:

      As writers, we’re often told — at least I am — we should read outside our genre and things we don’t necessarily like.

      . . . I don’t know how much it matters when it comes to improving one’s writing, but I’m gonna try giving a go at just reading stuff I like. I’m ornery that way.

      • paigeaddams says:

        Lol, I don’t blame you. I have a lot of trouble reading outside the genres I like. If it’s not romance, or fantasy, or romantic fantasy, I have a hard time with it. Like Dean Koontz or Stephen King – amazing writers, with fantastic stories, but I can’t get into them because there isn’t enough magic and happiness and people getting married, lol.

      • disperser says:

        Oh, there are plenty of people getting married . . . just without magic nor happiness.

      • disperser says:

        I say that as a joke. I’ve not read any of the fiction from those two authors and I’m not likely to start anytime soon.

      • paigeaddams says:

        Lol, you’re probably right though. There may be some magic in them – like Carrie or Pet Sematary (lol, spelled like that on the book cover) – but those did not end well. XD

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