Passion of the Christ 2 Directed by Mel Gibson!

I am sorry that I have not posted much recently.  This one and only downside of being a new father along with my regular pastoral duties.  Not to mention that given my location and having a little one makes it hard to get to a movie theater to do any type of reviews of Christian based movies such as God’s Not Dead 2.

However, The Hollywood just broke a story that I just NEEDED to post about! Anyone who knows me knows just how much I feel The Passion of the Christ is a straight up masterpiece.  It helps that before the movie ever came out I was already a fan of Mel Gibson as a director and a huge fan of a mostly unknown Jim Caviezel.  I have posted several times on this blog that Little Boy director was directing a Passion of the Christ prequel and that this project was after the producers had already rejected a script that would go on to be Risen directed by Kevin Reynolds.  There have been many attempts to further capitalize on the success of The Passion of the Christ which still stands as the highest grossing independent film in history.  Well, after a long time of not hearing anything from the Passion of the Christ prequel… and seeing as it kind of dropped off the map, one may wonder what is being done to continue this franchise. I don’t care if it is viewed as a cash grab… as long as it delivers in the same way The Passion did.

Well, in an exclusive interview with THR, Randell Wallace, who wrote Braveheart (which was directed by Mel Gibson) and wrote Hacksaw Ridge (Mel Gibson’s next film coming out later this year) and who directed Heaven is for Real, Wallace revealed the project he is currently writing… The Passion of the Christ 2 which MovieWeb speculates will be retitled The Resurrection of the Christ which would please me so very much!  This isn’t the only bit of information that Wallace dropped… the magnificent screen writer also said that Mel Gibson was set to direct! He said that it was the outcry from the Christian audience for more Christ centered films that has convinced him to return!

Say what you will about the man Mel Gibson but God has crammed buckets full of talent in that crazy head of his and I simply cannot wait.

 

Looking at Randell Wallace’s background also convinces me that he has the right care and passion for this script as well.  He was a Religion major at Duke University and claims the Resection was something of a specialty of his.  He has longed to bring this story to the screen.

Now, it does tend to take Mel Gibson a long time to piece together his masterpieces with there being 9 years between Braveheart and The Passion of the Christ and 10 years between Apocalypto (his last film) and Hacksaw Ridge (His next film).  But, there was only 2 years between The Passion of the Christ and Apocalypto, so time will tell what kind of timeframe we are looking at for this project.  My hope is that it will be more the 2 years than the 10 years.

I look forward to posting more about this project the next time I hear any news about it!

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8 Facts about the Director of Risen

I just wanted to give you a few facts about Kevin Reynolds, the Director of Risen:
1. Kevin Reynolds gave Kevin Costner his start by casing him in Fandango.
2. Kevin Reynolds wrote the story for the original Red Dawn.
3. Being good friends Kevin Costner asked Kevin Reynolds for advice while acting in Dances with Wolves.
4. Kevin Reynolds was an uncredited second unite director on that classic.
5. Kevin Reynolds also directed Samuel L. Jackson in Jackson’s very first top billed movie! (Yeah, both Kevin Costner and Samuel L. Jackson have Kevin Reynolds to thank for their careers.)
6. Kevin Reynolds directed Kevin Costner’s History Channel Miniseries The Hatfield’s and McCoy’s… which was nominated for 16 Emmy’s one of those for Best Director.
7. Kevin Reynolds Directed my current favorite movie of all time, The Count of Monte Cristo… which was a spring board for Henry Cavil… our current Superman!
8. Kevin Reynolds was raised Baptist.
 
If you see nothing else in these list of facts, notice, Kevin Reynolds knows what he is doing, he is a star maker because he knows how to get good performances out of his actors… which is the #1 job of a director.
 
My favorite Director is Ridley Scott… the director I feel is the most under rated in Hollywood is Kevin Reynolds.
 
Bonus Fact: I didn’t find out about Risen because I was researching biblical movies… I discovered Risen (At the time titled Resurrection) because I simply wanted to know what Reynolds was doing next… I became super excited when I realized, what he was doing next was a film about Jesus!
Check out the Trailer for Kevin Reynolds’ newest movie, opening this weekend!

Why should I bother to see Risen?

“The Picture Every Christian Ought to See!” That was the tag line for the 1925 version of Ben-Hur.  It appeared right there on the poster! My, how times have changed! In 1925 this was smart advertising, today, this would probably be marketing suicide! Why?  Well, it would be easy to say “Because liberal Hollywood would not want any of their films marked like this, and if there was a film with this tagline Hollywood would try to bury it.”  But the truth of the matter is, Hollywood is not the reason this would not work anymore.  What is the reason? Well, its complicated but here is a list of why I think this type of advertising simply wouldn’t work (Note: I am going to over simplify here)

  1. “The Picture Every Christian Ought to See!” in today’s cynical culture sounds like it will be some type of Michael Moore style documentary telling Christians everything they have done wrong.
  2. This labels the movie as being for Christians thus causing people to believe it will be poorly written, low budget and preachy.
  3. Some Christians would be skeptical of a movie Hollywood thinks Christians might like because of past hurts like Noah, or Exodus.
  4. We don’t like to be told to do something… Christian and non-Christian alike.

There is a film coming out this weekend called “Risen.” This film in 1925 could have had this tagline but instead it has been given a different marketing push.  The ads say “From the studio that brought you Heaven is for Real and War Room.”  When I saw this add I cringed because this type of advertising is going to have a very similar effect as “The Picture Every Christian Ought to See!” minus the 4th reason.  Yet, out of all the Christian friendly films that have come out the last 12 months, this is the one I feel is the most important to get behind so I am going to address two types of people in this post and make an argument why both these types of people should go out and see Risen this weekend! Not next weekend… THIS WEEKEND!

I LIKE MOVIES LIKE WAR ROOM BUT DON’T LIKE MOVIES LIKE NOAH, WHY SHOULD I BOTHER?

  1. This is not Noah… or Exodus! – It is easy for me to understand why Christians did not like Noah or Exodus. You probably felt that (aside from being boring) they were disrespectful of the source material.  Well, I have a question for you, how did you feel about The Passion of the Christ? Was it respectful to the source material? The script Risen is based off of was originally written and presented to the producers of The Passion of the Christ as a sequel.  It was liked but they decided to go in a different direction, opting to make a prequel about Mary instead (a project that still has not made it off the ground.)  The script was so well liked that Kevin Reynolds decided to do it himself and worry about a distributer later.  I have followed this project a long time, through multiple name changes (Resurrection, Clavius, Risen) and Kevin Reynolds has had it in his mind to make a movie that would be a good story and stay true to what Christians believe.  How can we know he succeeded? Well, that is where the studio that brought you War Room comes in.  Sony liked the film and felt that it best fit in their faith based wing Affirm Films.
  2. Did you like Ben-Hur – I have been saying for many years now that when looking at telling Biblical stories in a new and fresh way, what you should do is tell the same old story from the eyes of someone new. Someone who either was just mentioned a few times in scripture or someone completely fictitious.   Take note of stories like Ben-Hur.  It was at one time considered a film every Christian should see yet much of the movie takes place outside the Biblical narrative.   That is what I have been wanting to see from a big budget Hollywood Biblical Epic… and that is what this story is!
  3. Would you like a film with a quality you can be proud of? – Some of my Christian friends wrongfully believe that to be ashamed of a Christian movie is to be ashamed of Christ. That is not true! I love the message of many Christian films but feel that the message could have been delivered with better care.  This film was made with the love and passion of a film maker.  This will be quality film making… with the Christ story at the center!
  4. Would you like a film specifically focused on your skeptical friend? – The main character is a Roman soldier. He led the crucifixion (or so it seems, I have not seen the movie yet), he saw Jesus die and then is placed in charge of investigating the rumors of the risen Christ.   He does not believe this could have happened… but… (Spoiler Alert) He comes face to face with the same man he killed… What does that do to a man? Would that turn a skeptic to a believer? The story was written in such a way that it would speak most to a skeptic!

I CAN’T STAND CHRISTIAN MOVIES! THEY ARE POORLY WRITTEN AND POORLY MADE! WHY SHOULD I BOTHER WITH THIS ONE!

  1. Do you hate movies like War Room? – I completely understand. Now here is this movie saying that it is from the same studio.  Why bother? Well, because it really isn’t the same makers.  You see, War Room was made by The Kendrick Brothers with no help of funding from Affirm Films.  Affirm Films (A branch of Sony Pictures) only distributes movies they feel will appeal to Christians.  They have no hand in any part of the making of the films (at least most of their films.)  Affirm Films has nothing to do with the quality or message of the movie!
  2. Do you like well told stories? – One of the major reasons I feel it is so important for Christians to support this film above others is because a message needs to be sent to these independent studios. We don’t just want Christian content, we want well made, well told stories from a Christian perspective. Kevin Reynolds is, in my opinion, a sourly underrated director and a wonderful story teller!  He doesn’t come out with many films because he spends a while on one film, and usually it shows… or at least it has shown in his past few outings.  The Count of Monte Cristo (2002) took a very long and difficult story to tell in 2 hours and he pieced it together masterfully! He also directed The Hatfield’s and McCoy’s for the History Channel and he so wonderfully shown the intense and slow escalation of that feud in a way that made me step back and go, “Wow, I can’t believe we started here and now look where we are!”
  3. Do you feel there should be more diversity in films today? – It is a big deal in Hollywood right now, Exodus, God’s of Egypt, these are just two movies that are being ridiculed for their “white-washing” but the cast of Risen is very ethnically diverse. The cast is made up of Spanish, Latino, Irish,  and many other ethnicity including the man who plays Jesus who I think is fittingly ethically ambiguous.

 

CONCLUSION

Deadpool, a Rated R raunchy Comic Book movie made around $130 Million this weekend.  It’s R-rating literally means it is restricted.  Yet, somehow it made this much in just 3 days.  Just one week later, we as Christians have an opportunity to make a statement too.  What is restricting us from seeing Risen?  I plan to on Friday! I promise to post my review as soon as I can!

2016 – Biblical and Faith Movies due out this year

Well, it is now 2016! Another year of movies has passed and another batch is being prepared for release.  I would like to present a list of Christian movies or TV Series, Bible Based movies or TV Series or movies based on the life of Jesus that will be coming out in 2016.  For those of you who have followed my blog this year you might have realized that the list I made last year had changed and shifted throughout the year.  Some of the movies on this list where on that list.  This happens in the film industry and is more likely to happen with smaller independent films or films that make the studio nervous.

With that said, this list I feel is a little more solidified then last year’s list.  So here it is!
Let’s Start with TV.

March 8th 2016Of Kings and Prophets – This is an ongoing TV series based on King Saul and David. It was originally supposed to air in the fall of 2015 but was pushed back due to “Creative changes.” Though I will be keeping an eye on this show… I am extremely cautious and really am not expecting much from it.

Films

January 25th 2016 – The Pastor – I almost didn’t include this on the list because of being unfamiliar with the Studio, or the fact that the Director hasn’t done much before, or the fact that it is only scheduled for a limited release right now.   But I included it because the premise seems interesting to me and I think would seem interesting to anyone who would want to read this list.  I have no idea if this independent movie is a “Christian Movie” or if it just has “Christian overtones.” Either way, it is on this list for your consideration.

April 1st 2016 – God’s Not Dead 2 – I didn’t love God’s Not Dead… but I didn’t hate it either and I must admit that the trailer peaked my interest a little bit.  I understand that many Christians loved the first one and are looking forward to the second, there is a place in some Christian’s where these movies touch.  It is similar to “wish fulfilment” yet, it’s something different.  I have heard it described in many ways but if people think that only Christians like movies that are propaganda for a particular point of view then you are blind.  I do however wish they picked a different release date! I mean…  come on, this movie will be made fun of enough… did you really need to help things along by releasing it on April Fools?

April 29th 2016 – Same Kind of Different as Me – Based on the inspirational book of the same name, this film, another Indie project by an unknown director who has only every directed a short film before doing this feature is another wild card.  Not only is this first time director directing but he is also writing, and producing this film.  Both of which are also his firsts.  I am not saying this WILL be bad, people can surprise you out of the gate.  Many Hollywood directors have made Masterpieces as their first films. However, more fail out of the gate.

August 12th, 2016 – The Shack – Based on the book by William Paul Young that has been praised by some in Christian circles and ridiculed by others for its “inaccurate” theology regarding the trinity this film is sure to make some waves. At one point Oprah was even involved! This film should be one to watch out for!
Films About Jesus

February 19th 2016 – RisenThis film is one I have been waiting a long time for.  In fact, this was on the list I posted last year.  On that list it was called Clavius and the date was unspecified.  Since then it has been picked up by Sony Pictures and will be released under their Affirm Films banner.  This film has been in the works for a while, it started as a script commissioned to be an official sequel to The Passion of the Christ.  After being rejected in favor of doing a prequel about Mary, Kevin Reynolds picked it up and decided to direct it.  For those of you who do not know Kevin Reynolds, he is #1 on my list of most underrated directors in Hollywood.  He directed my current favorite film of all time the Count of Monte Cristo he also directed the Hatfields & McCoys miniseries which I really enjoyed! He may not be a director that ALWAYS pleases he is one that excites me when he is passionate about a project and it has been his passion for this project that has gotten it over all the hoops to bring us this film for 2016.  People…  I am serious… this film is a reason to be excited!… mark your calendars! Everything I see and know about this project tells me this is going to be special!

March 11th 2016 – The Young Messiah Based on the Anne Rice novel “Christ the Lord: Out of Egypt” this film tells a fictional account of Jesus as a young boy just as his family is leaving Egypt to return to Israel.  I have not read the book and I am aware that there is some controversy surrounding the novel but I have some trusted friends that assure me there isn’t anything offensive in the novel.  Maybe I should say their “Shouldn’t be anything offensive in the novel” because some people will be offended at any type of speculation when it comes to Jesus.  As long as everyone keeps in mind that it is not trying to speak historical fact this film should be interesting.  I do wonder though… why did Jesus have a British accent as a Child born of Jews and raised in Egypt?

June 30th 2016 – Last Days in the Desert – While technically a 2015 film that has already been released very limitedly, I am including this here because most of you will not get to see it until this year. This is also an Indie Film. However, this is different.  Instead of a film being made for the purpose of spreading the Gospel (Which I don’t think there is anything wrong with) the main focus on this film is to make a film. It is a better place to start and a place that I wish Christian film makers would start.  Ewan McGregor plays Jesus, which is Ironic because there is that Facebook meme going around showing him as Obi Wan Kenobi where some elderly lady (assumption) has placed his picture on a shelf because she thought it was a picture of Jesus.  Well… now she can find an actual picture of Ewan McGregor as Jesus.  I don’t know if this film will be insulting to Christians or if it will be “believer friendly” but the buzz I am hearing says it will not offend.

August 12th 2016 – Ben-Hur –  This film is a polarizing film.  Many who love the 1959 version cry foul because they say you shouldn’t remake a classic like this! But then there are people like me. I am a huge fan of the novel, and though I loved the 1959 version, there is so much that was left out that I think shouldn’t have been.  In the novel the chariot race happens only half way in.  The second half of the novel is only about the last half hour of the film and if you have read the novel you would see that they really rushed things to get to the end of the story.  My hope is that they will include more of the end of the novel, my favorite part.  But I also want to mention, in 1925 there was a film called Ben-Hur, it was fantastic, is was considered a classic and if they would have taken the advice of the nay sayers today, we would never have the 1959 Masterpiece. Yes, it is most likely not going to live up to the original but it might… is it worth a shot? I think so.  What is the worst that could happen? People will always have the 1959 version. And this gives my Son a chance to see this fantastic story in a movie that hasn’t alienated him by age.

 

As you might have already notice, it’s not quite “The Year of the Bible” but I might be tempted to call it “The Year of Jesus” since there are more films about Jesus coming out in 2016 than usual.  Would you like to see more movies that bring attention to Biblical stories? Then go see these! Vote with your money… and go see them opening weekend if you can, it is the weekend where your money will speak the loudest!

Have a Happy 2016 and may it be a great year for Christians to go to the movies!

RISEN: NEW INTERNATIONAL TRAILER (Trailer Included)

I have long said Kevin Reynolds is a very underrated director.  He doesn’t pump movies out every other year but when he comes out with something, I usually expect something special.  That is why, when I heard a few years back that he was working on a film about the death and resurrection of Jesus I was overjoyed! At the time the film was called Resurrection and it has changed names a few times over the past few years most recently changing from Clavius to Risen.  A new trailer was just released and it looks just as good as the last one.  Please check it out! Please share it with your friends! This movie is sure to please the Christian going audience as Sony felt that it was worthy of being placed under their faith based banner “Affirm Films” Which is where they place films like Heaven is for Real, Courageous, Fireproof and War Room which opens this week in theaters.

The trailer is an international trailer so the 2015 release is not the US release.  In the US this film is set for release on January 22, 2016.  International readers will need to find out when it will be released in your country.

AMC Discuesses Faith of our Fathers! Interesting stuff!

Even though tomorrow is Wednesday (The middle of the Week) it is still the beginning of the July 4th movie weekend.  This July 4th, fans of Christian films will have an opportunity to go to the theaters and view a film from the makers of God’s Not Dead.  The film, Faith of Our Fathers opens tomorrow (July 1st) I still don’t know how I feel about this film.  I just feel that the message of Jesus is so strong, that we don’t need to help it along by turning down the volume of a story and turning up the volume of the message.  I firmly believe a well done film can tell a well written story and share an uncompromised message.  I do look forward to this film but I am a little shy about it after Do You Believe, which I felt was horribly written!  However, my point today is not to simply inform you of the movie but I would encourage you to go see it if it looks interesting to you and you would like to support more Christian films I will attach the trailer here.

But the real reason I am writing this blog is because of a Youtube Video I watched today.  I am sure many of you are familiar with Youtube, but some of you might not be aware that Youtube actually has weekly, monthly or daily shows on them. Some of them are funded by the adds that you see before the show, some have sponsors, others are actually shows to help a company’s bottom line.  AMC Theaters created a show a few years back called AMC Movie Talk.  It is a daily show, uploaded five times a week where they discuss all the movie news that was released that day.  I watch it almost daily and I love what has been created on that Youtube Channel.  Because of the success of AMC Movie Talk they branched out into other shows such as AMC Jedi Council, AMC Heroes, AMC Indie Spotlight, AMC Rewind and AMC Coming Soon.  Along with these shows you will find reviews of some of the big event films and interviews with stars and directors.  It really is an amazing Youtube Channel for movie fans and from what I hear AMC doesn’t really make money on the channel but the intent is to keep people excited about movies.

This week, on the show AMC Coming Soon they discussed three films that come out this weekend the second of which is Faith of Our Fathers. The three panelists rank the films from 1 to 5.  1 – Not Interested, 2 – Curious, 3 – Seeing it, 4 – Seeing it Opening Weekend, and 5 – Camping Out to see it.  This week’s Panel is made up of Kristian Harloff, Mark Ellis, and David Griffin.  Kristian and Mark have their own channel and show apart from AMC as well.  I was very interested with how they were going to handle this movie and how they would score it.  The result was interesting enough for me to write this blog.  I will link the video below, I hope it works to link it at the time they begin to talk about the film but if it doesn’t they begin talking about it at 9:19.

Mark Ellis started the discussion out by saying that it was from the producers of God’s Not Dead and that he was surprised he liked that film as much as he did.  He continued to say that he didn’t feel it was too preachy… then he said he felt it presented an interesting take on a possible after life… which is when I realized he was thinking about Heaven is for Real, which is a superior movie to God’s not Dead.  I wonder what he would have scored it if he was corrected and told which film God’s Not Dead actually was.  After finishing his discussion, because he was interested in Vietnam War films he was giving it a 2 which means he is curious.  David Griffin then came in, he revealed that he went to seminary which was something I didn’t know and would like to know more about.  He felt that the movie looked too saturated in message.  A message he was not against but he felt that the story would be crushed under the thickness of the story (my description of what I feel his view was.)  He scored it a 1, saying he wasn’t interested.  Kristian Harloff said that he agreed with Mark.  He felt like the subject was interesting.  He said he wasn’t against there being a religious aspect to the film because he knows that many soldiers made it through the war because of their faith and that it was a real aspect of it but he fears it might become a movie about quoting Bible Verses instead of about the story.  He said that he doesn’t want a film that is just going to beat him up with a message.  Sometimes, when I hear words like this I begin to wonder if they would feel a movie could be preachy if the message being preached was not a Christian one but Kristian continued with a view into his perspective that I could very much appreciate.  He said that being hit over the head with the message is what he hasn’t liked about Neil Blomkamp films or even Tomorrowland.  I am very glad that he made that last statement, I feel it can be much more helpful to the film makers to hear this kind of criticism from people in or around the film industry if they can be sure it isn’t just an aversion to the message itself.  I personally thank the guys on AMC Coming Soon for their honesty.  The truth is, a movie carrying any message can become bogged down with the message instead of simply telling a story.  Christian films now I have budget to do a Best Picture quality film but they now need to make sure that they are careful with what they put out.  Craft the story with care, show how faith impacts life don’t just read the Bible to the audience.  Make sure that the story feels more real to life then wish fulfillment.  I understand that God works miracles but I think many Christians would agree that watching a man die and then come back to life is not something many of us can relate to.  I am not saying God can’t I am just saying that if we want to reach people we need to make sure the story can relate to the people we are trying to reach.

I think the biggest take away from this is that you have two out of three people who deem this movie as “Curious.” That is a great start but don’t betray that curiosity by serving up a plate of cheese!  I hope that Faith of our Fathers is a step in the right direction, I would too say that I am “Curious” but there was a time when I would score any Christian film with a budget like this as a #4 – Seeing it Opening Weekend… but I have been served cheese a few too many times… I still try to catch as many of these as I can but they are becoming too many for me to find and pay a babysitter, drive 45 to 50 minutes to the nearest movie theater (that’s right… it is hard for a movie lover to be called to minister in a place 45 to 50 minutes from a theater) and shell out another chunk of cash for a subpar movie.  There are movies that raise above the rest and make me want to go and see it opening weekend… but so far… Pure Flix has not given me that reason yet… but I am still rooting for them! I really am!  Check out the video below.

Encouraging Comments about Ben-Hur from the producers!

Many of you know how much I am looking forward to the remake of Ben-Hur.  It is hard to find real news about the project because I need to sift through all the articles crying about how it is horrible that they are remaking the “original.” Sometimes these articles are written with so much arrogance that it is hard to restrain myself.  These so called fans of Ben-Hur are nothing of the sort!  They never read the book or never saw the films that came before it… which by the way would make the 1959 version not “The Original” but one of the many Ben Her remakes! As a fan of Superman I look forward to any incarnation of this character I love.  I can have an opinion like Superman Returns was not what I wanted… but I saw it, I looked forward to it… and really… I can get some enjoyment out of it… just not as much as I’d like.

A few days ago, while sifting through these articles I found one of interest! It was an article that made me extremely…. JEALOUS! This article told me that there are people out there that are not part of the production, people who are just part of the audience, that have seen clips from the remake of Ben-Hur! Oh how I would have loved to be in the audience!

On June 25th, Variety put on what is being called Variety’s Purpose Summit.   This was a summit meant to promote upcoming faith based projects.  In attendance was Mark Burnett and Roma Downey to speak about their projects and as part of their presentation they showed what seems to be a trailer that is being described as “full of action.” No word on how it was received.  I would like to just examine a few quotes from the summet.

  1. The Jesus in Ben-Hur will be “is going to be consistent with people’s expectations” – Rob Moore, the vice-president of Paramount Pictures said these words after sharing that he feels the backlash of Noah was about expectations. Many people expected a faithful, direct interpretation of the character they know.  What they got was a fantasy story inspired by the Biblical story.  I think I would agree with that observation.  I would say though that the problem with the expectations was fueled by the fact that Paramount really pushed its marketing towards Christians while hiding the additional fantasy elements added to the story.  This quote is encouraging to me.  This tells me that the Jesus we get in Ben-Hur will be a more faithful version of Jesus.
  2. This Ben-Hur movie is not a “remake but a reinterpretation of the novel by Lew Wallace.” – At first glance this might concern any fan of the 1959 film. However, for someone like me who is absolutely in love with the novel I love this comment.  You see, I love the 1959 movie.  I also love (and possible a little more) the 1925 silent film of Ben Hur which was just as amazing… if not more amazing then the 1959 version when taken into account it was as big as the 1959 version but was 34 years before it. My main criticism with both films is that it drives toward the chariot race and then when it gets there it rushes to the end as if the chariot race is what it is all about anyway.  And if you are a fan of the film then it probably is… but in the novel most of the best parts happen after the race and are skipped by both films.  My hope is that by going back to the novel they feel inspired to enter those scenes in that have never been shown before!  For those of you who are fans of the movie and don’t think it should be remade, think of it in this sense… it is not a remake but a different interpretation of the same thing that inspired the 1959 movie.

Don’t get me wrong, am I nervous about this remake? YES! Is my nervousness in part because of the previous interpretations of Ben-Hur? YES! It can be terrifying if you think about it this way.  There have been two big screen interpretations of Ben-Hur (other adoptions but only two on movie screens) Both of these two films have been ground breaking.  Both of these two films have been described as masterpieces.  Both of these films have not just been good… they were as close to cinematic perfection as could have been achieved at the time they were made.  It is almost unfair the expectations on this remake.  Almost… but this is exactly what should be the goal.  This shouldn’t just be another movie but it should be awe inspiring.  Does this mean I will not like it if it doesn’t achieve this? NO! If the movie is high quality, well done, well directed, well acted and is faithful to the novel I will love it! If they use the scene at the garden of gethsemane I will shout, right in the theater “BONUS!” I cannot wait to see some footage from this film!