The highly (?) anticipated trailer for the remake of the beloved Ben-Hur has finally arrived. THe Paramount Pictures retelling will hit later this summer and star Jack Huston, Morgan Freeman, Toby Kebbell and some horses. Take a look!
Remaking any classic film will always be met with dubious remarks and a hefty dose of skepticism. When remaking a classic like Ben-Hur, which has already seen it’s fair share of retellings, the bar is set all the higher. That being said, this trailer does little in the way of soothing the naysayers. Cliched sword and sandal tropes plague the proceedings, overly ambitious set pieces call for standout (in a bad way) CG, and there isn’t anything particularly unique or new about this version. Sure, this is just a small taste of what may end up becoming a worthy adaptation. But as far as the trailer goes, there’s nothing innately interesting about it.
Toby Kebbell (Dawn of the Planet of the Apes) is all over the map when it comes to his performances. His turn in the Planet of the Apes was remarkable, arguably Oscar worthy, yet his take on Dr. Doom (if you can call it that) was abysmal. Here he seems to be threading a very traditional line. Sticking to tried and true genre archetypes, this version of Messala seems pretty generic. The same can be said for Jack Huston. His work on Boardwalk Empire was outstanding, but the bits we see of him in the trailer don’t show any of the magic from his earlier performances.
The writers involved in the project do manage to inspire some confidence. Keith Clarke (The Way Back) and John Ridley (12 Years a Slave) should elevate the screenplay somewhat, but with Bekmambetov (the man behind Wanted and Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter) behind the camera who knows what the final product will look like.
In addition to the trailer (above), Paramount also released the first official poster for the film as well as a few other images from the Ben-Hur remake. Check them out:
All of this isn’t to say the film looks awful, it’s just nothing special. But in a world where blockbusters are a dime a dozen, “nothing special” spells doom at the box office. Here’s to hoping this first look isn’t a reflection of the film as a whole.
Ben-Hur is scheduled to hit theaters on August 12th, 2016.