On the bounce from their recent brush with bankruptcy thanks to Skyfall and The Hobbit profits, MGM has just bought the rights to a new Ben-Hur script.
MGM plans to revamp the 1959 classic with the exactly same story except it’ll be “totally different” (insert description of exact same plot also ending in epic chariot race) plus an extra helping of Jesus’s garlic potatoes slopped on the side for today’s modern viewer who doesn’t have the time for 7 hours of subtlety and nuance.
Now there are two things I know to be true on this great, twirling Earth: First, that you need to watch this man touch a goat in the dark, for verily, it shall entertain and delight thee, and second: I’mma let Avatar and Schindler’s List finish but 1959′s Ben-Hur is the greatest movie OF ALL TIIIIIME.
Ben-Hur marked the golden age of motion pictures and won 11 Oscars including Best Picture– 10 for Outstanding Ahievements in Awesomeness and 1 for Charlton Heston‘s ability to emote without ever-loosening his jaw. It made a blazillion old-timey dollars they had to count by hand in the shed they used as an old-timey box office, and lo, it was beloved by the ancient people of our forefathers who traveled to the great movie houses of old and sat through this motion picture event for 42 God-fearing days and nights.
The excitement! The magic! The brilliantly crafted sets and wardrobe! The thousands of extras! Captivating stars who had never been caught on security tape footage punching photographers! And okay, maybe 5 or 10 people and/or horses died filming it, but it was motion picture’s crowning achievement!
All that you have read about Ben-Hur –all that you have dreamed about Ben-Hur– is surpassed by the actuality. It’s the entertainment experience of a lifetime!
As far as classic movies of that era go it isn’t even that boring. The next time you have 5 or 6 hours to spare plop yourself down and refresh your memory. Call me up, night or day– I’ll be there in one hour with the popcorn and Redbull.
And now they want to re-tell the greatest story ever told? IMPROVE ON PERFECTION? Why even bother, MGM? You’re just going to be pulling down your pants and squirting liquid shame on to one of your greatest legacies.
The real tragedy here is not that the new version will diminish the old, because no matter how similar they are nothing is going to tarnish what is already sacrosanct in the halls of movie history. The real tragedy is the sheer number of young people who will miss out on the delicate magic of the 1959 Ben-Hur dutifully replayed each Easter once its been shoved aside in the wake of whatever horrific James-Cameronified techno-thumping monstrosity the New Ben-Hur is.
Much weeping and gnashing of teeth will be heard across the land the first time a teenage looks up from Snapchat and asks, “Ben-Hur? Wasn’t Channing Tatum in that?”