Ben Hur

One of my most favorite book of all time is Lew Wallace’s Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ. Does any of you know this book? It is an interesting book. It tells the story of Jesus based on some fictional dude that isn’t one of the Twelve Apostles.

So when I saw that there is a movie remake of it coming out this year, of course I had to watch it…

benhur

And so I did. And duly got disappointed…

Man… modern movie remake of something classical. I should have known better than to expect the producers to stay true to the originals’ spirits. I did know better. I’ve been conned far too many times with countless remakes in the past few years.

Instead of detailing everything that I find wrong with this movie, I think I just want to leave a message to the movie producer, and another message to FINAS (the Malaysian authority who decides what to cut/edit before releasing a film).

To Ben Hur (2016)’s producers

You know, there is a huge difference between being creative and being stupid. If you do a plot twist while maintaining the original spirit of the classical work you are adapting, you’re being creative. But if you do a plot twist that totally ignores the essence of the original work, that’s being stupid, otherwise known as bullshit.

Messala is a supervillain. Messala is like Frieza. He will never repent, not in a million years. If you spare his life, he will repay you by plotting worse ways to kill you. That is one of the main essence of the story. It is what makes Ben Hur, well… Ben Hur.

Put it simply, Messala has to die in the end. To make a movie where Messala repents in the end and rides off into the sunset with Ben Hur is like…

Imagine someone makes a movie about Pegasus, but in the movie, Pegasus cannot fly and is afraid of the sky. Can you even imagine it? What would you call this movie? Bullshit.

Pegasus has to fly to be Pegasus, the same way Messala has to die to be Messala. Anything else = bullshit. End of story.

To FINAS

Cutting away all the scenes with Jesus is a stupid move. The story is called Ben Hur: A Tale of Christ, not Ben Hur: A Tale of Chariot Racing.

You might think you are being smart, because you think you are now releasing a movie in Malaysia that portrays the Jews and horse racers and serial gamblers.

But if I may, if you are really uncomfortable with a movie that depicts Jesus performing miracles, you should have just banned the film from being released in Malaysia altogether.

Instead, you have been stupid. You cut away all the scenes with Jesus in it, and you did an even more stupid job of editing the scenes.

See, the original story line in the movie was:

Ben Hur’s mother and sister got hit with leprosy > … story story story … > Jesus dies for the sins of mankind > Ben Hur’s mother and sister got cured of leprosy

But the FINAS cut/edit made the movie story line to be:

Ben Hur’s mother and sister got hit with leprosy > … story story story … > Ben Hur wins chariot racing and huge bet > Ben Hur’s mother and sister got cured of leprosy

See? You think Muslims in Malaysia are idiots that might be swayed by seeing Jesus’ miracles even though it is just a movie, but if they are indeed as stupid as you think, now you have misled them into thinking gambling and horse racing is good and can cure sickness. Is gambling even halal??? Seriously, guys… tsk…

PS: I was 11 years old and a Buddhist when I first read Ben Hur. I have since re-read the book over 10 times. I am still a Buddhist and I have not once been confused and wanted to become a Christian.


Well… I feel kind of awkward writing my blog post like this. I can’t pinpoint what exactly, but it just doesn’t feel right… 🙄

20 Comments

  1. Thanks for your review because now I won’t watch it. Well actually, I had no intention of seeing it anyway and I didn’t know Ben Hur is about Christianity (I actually thought it was like The Gladiator, heh). But you just spoiled the ending anyway, so no point watching it anymore to see what it’s about. 😛

  2. I didn’t know Malaysia also censored films. It is very common in China and I hate it. I just watched the first season of Mr Robot and the episodes in Chinese websites were all badly cut… so abrupt and obvious that you know something is missing and go to the internet to look for it!! I hate when governments treat their citizens like children.

    • Well, not the same nature as China does. Here the censor is Islam-centric. Actually more like old farts-centric… Anything that those old farts imagine would mislead Muslims from Islam will be censored. 🙄

  3. Like Mun, Traveler and Claire, I had no idea this film touches upon Christianity. There is nothing like watching a movie and being let down…you feel like you have wasted your time 🙄

  4. Don’t know anything about Ben Hur even though I am a Christian.. never came across this name in the Bible.. but Samson and Delilah got la.. anyway, I dont watch these type of movies, too much fighting going on… 🙂

    • Of course not. Like I said, this Ben Hur is a fictional dude. He was not inspired by any Biblical characters. The author was probably trying to give a depiction of the early Christianity movement in the eyes of the commoners, the non Biblical people…

  5. Like Mun, I didn’t know the movie, Ben Hur is about Christ. I have enough of the Year of the Fire Monkey.

  6. Well said. The paranoia of the faithful losing their faith is something I cannot understand. It’s an insult to their intelligence. Anyway, I have watched the original version (very long movie) and I doubt a remake can be as good since as you said, they deviated from the original storyline.

  7. I have not read the book but I have seen the movie acted by Charlton Heston when I was very young and did not realise that the movie is about Christ. I thought it was all about chariot racing.

    You sound very p*ss off writing the above post. This year is the year of the fire monkey so everyone would be easily p*ss so have to make more effort to keep cool.

    • I’ve not watched the old version of the movie yet. But basically the story is fiction. It is not even inspired by the Bible or what. The story is not about Jesus, but Ben Hur and his encounters/observations of Jesus, as an outsider rather than the Biblical characters.

      Hahaha, I was really quite pissed after watching the movie. It was a total waste of my money and time.

  8. Oh yeah, this one got a pretty low rating on IMDB. If I want to see it, I better ask my husband to download an uncensored version (hehe!) or better still, watch the original 1959 one with lots of Oscar nominations, right? 😉

  9. I think the awkwardness is because the books sketches on the surface of Christianity?

    If the book’s main focus was on the fictional Thirteenth Apostle, then editing it out of the film adaptation wouldn’t make any sense. =(

    • There’s probably 10-15% of Jesus in the movie, not that significant actually, but it got cut out completely. The second half of the movie (the Malaysian release anyway) was completely incoherent and nonsense. 🙄

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