COMMENTARY | With a number of faith based movies “surprising” people by making it big at the box office, it is no wonder that biblical epics are making a comeback, Indeed one of the greatest movies of all time is going to be remade.
“Timur Bekmambetov’s BEN-HUR remake just got a huge boost of momentum by landing the involvement of THE BIBLE/SON OF GOD producers Mark Burnett and Roma Downey, as well as a February 2016 release date.
“BEN-HUR started out as an 1880 novel by Lew Wallace, and tells the story of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince who is unjustly imprisoned and enslaved when his friend, Massala, betrays him. He vows vengeance against Massala, and rises in the ranks of Roman society by becoming an accomplished chariot racer. His story parallels that of Jesus Christ, who he meets as a young man and ends up following devoutly.”
One question occurs: why?
It’s not that the material, based on the Lew Wallace novel, is unworthy. The problem is that it was so splendidly done in 1959 that one cannot imagine it ever being improved upon. From the spectacle of the sea battle, the Roman triumph and the chariot race to the more intimate moments as Ben Hur struggles between the need for revenge and the grace of forgiveness, “Ben Hur” is as perfect a movie as anyone could want.
Hollywood has this tendency to try to play it safe by reliving past glories. That is one reason why so many movies are either sequels or remakes. Why risk $100 million on an original idea when there are so many old ones that worked before?
In the meantime, Fox is being a little daring and is developing a TV series depicting the “lost years” of Jesus Christ between his visit to the Temple in Jerusalem at age 12 and the beginning of his ministry at age 30 or so. It’s a risky idea as there is not a lot of source material, but at least it has the virtue of originality.