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…
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.
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… 🙄