Critic Reviews



Based on 34 critic reviews provided by Metacritic.com
Surprisingly, many of Bekmambetov’s updates work well.
Village Voice
In paring down and streamlining its source material, this new version also saps its heft.
Timur Bekmambetov’s Ben-Hur remake offers robust spectacle and some decent performances. But ultimately, the director of Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter is, perhaps unsurprisingly, not the ideal filmmaker to capture this timeless story’s more nuanced emotional range.
All the flash and sizzle of modern movie effects can't make up for a once spectacular tale that feels not just scaled-down, but shrunk.
This arena, unfortunately, is no Thunderdome. The chariot race is sloppily framed, choppily edited, and droopily choreographed, with special effects that look like they needed another few passes through the CGI machine.
The good news is that the story of Ben-Hur is so rock solid that not even the director of “Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” can screw it up completely.
Minus a hero who has the macho charisma to wrap a movie around him like he owned it, the new Ben-Hur is an oddly lackluster affair: sludgy and plodding, photographed (by Oliver Wood) in nondescript medium close-up, an epic that feels like a mini-series served up in bits and pieces.
It’s an adequate retelling, mostly, but with moments of eye-rolling ineptitude.
This Ben-Hur may not be an epic fail, but its steady stream of shortcomings are certainly a cautionary journey for anybody with the hubris to try and rebuild the monuments of movies past.
Misguided, diminished and dismally done in every way, this late-summer afterthought will richly earn the distinction of becoming the first Ben-Hur in any form to flop.

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