Monday, September 17, 2018

Ben Hur AFI Top 100

Number 100.

I was glad that the first film we came to was one we hadn't seen before. I knew nothing at all about it other than it was an old epic. Mr Meks knew it contained a chariot race.

It was interesting to see what has changed and what still seems the same in cinema. It didn't look half as dated as I expected. I think the aspect that dated it most was the ethinicities as they were portrayed. Colonising Romans had English accents. Brave downtrodden subjects has US accents.I was shocked to see the blacking up involved then realised that is a huge signifier of the film's age. Hopefully one we're nearly rid of.

The subject matter wasn't really my bag. I couldn't accept Heston as being from Jerusalem. The cast made the whole story come across as a little fake. I did find the parallel stories of Ben Hur and Jesus Christ quite an interesting twist. Though the actor playing Jesus was very unconvincing with what little he had to work with.

The spectacle of the film was impressive. It was much grander than what I'm used to in modern cinema. It was lovely to watch. The Chariot Race was amazing. I struggle to imagine how many jobs were provided constructing the sets and costumes alone.

We split the watch into 2, 3.5 hours was too much.

I enjoyed parts of the film more than others. I loved the opulence of the production but I much prefer acting styles of today. I can't fathom why such effort is put into sets and none put into casting an actor suitable for the role. I'm assuming it's about 'Star' power.  If I had to choose I'd go for gritty realism over grand epic.

3 out of 5 pawprints

Next Up - Toy Story


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