Watching the original Ben-Hur on TV, starring Charlton Heston. Even fifty-seven years after it was made, it’s still an awe inspiring epic of a movie, that remains unmatched to this day by most of the films knocked out by Hollywood.
There have been a few modern classics that have come close to being worthy of sitting in the same category, such as ‘Gladiator’ and ‘Troy’, but in general, our screens are awash with unsatisfying reconstructions that leave us wondering why the fuc…k we bothered to watch them in the first place.
I recently made the grave mistake of watching the Ben-Hur remake, and as I suspected I would be beforehand, I was severely disappointed. It had no feel of immensity like the original did. It didn’t grip me, or encourage me to care even the slightest about the characters, or the storyline. And I’ll not go into the pathetically ‘modern twist’ of an ending that is catered to keep everyone happy with its subliminal narrative on modern politics and society.
It seemed more like a movie that was made for TV, even a mini-series, rather than a contemporary spin on one of the greatest movies ever made. In an attempt to expose the younger generations to an amazing story, Hollywood produced a bag of shite that is not worthy of the title ‘Ben-Hur’.
When the younger generations hear the phrase ‘bigger than Ben-Hur’, to what will they make the comparison? The lukewarm 2016 story of some bloke who was an olden day horse whisperer, fell on hard times and eventually learned to forgive? Or would they grasp the scale and magnitude to what the phrase is referring to? Sadly, I suspect that the analogy will die out and be replaced with something along the lines of ‘bigger than the Kardashians’.
Why, as a society, have we become so accepting of mediocrity?