(March 20, 2016) Original
(July 3, 2016) New Trailer (#2) / New Poster (#2)
(August 7, 2016) New Trailer (#3) / New Posters (#3-#13)
August 12, 2016
From IMDb: “A falsely accused Jewish nobleman survives years of slavery to take vengeance on his Roman best friend, who betrayed him.”
Poster Rating: C+ / B- / C+ (5) / C / C (5)
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Review: (#1) A charioteer hanging perilously out of his chariot. If you’re already familiar with the concept and story of Ben-Hur, that might be enough. Is everyone still familiar with it, though?
(#2) This is just the first design with the visual effects finally added to the background. It’s certainly more exciting and more detailed, but it’s not that much more compelling.
(#3-#7) This first set of 5 character posters each differ sufficiently to make them appealing, but have so little extra detail and look so visually bland that they aren’t nearly interesting enough. (#8) This looks like a part of a separate series of character posters based on the type font, location and information provided. It is perhaps too close up. (#9-#13) This second set of character posters have differing backgrounds, but are close-ups, which doesn’t give them gravitas or intrigue.
Trailer Rating: C / C / C
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Review: (#1) I may not be the biggest fan of William Wyler’s 1959 version of Ben-Hur, but it has plenty of elements worthy of applause. It was a huge hit, a big Oscar player and has become something of a legend. Absolutely nothing in this trailer explains what necessity there is of re-adapting the story. Except for money. It becomes readily apparent that this is little more than a cash grab and, I suspect, it might hamper the film’s chances.
(#2) If there was any doubt that this production was designed primarily to appeal to religious audiences, this trailer goes full throated in its extolling of those connections. The trailer is no more or less interesting than the first one, but it showcases that little has changed since the original, nor was it really necessary in the first place.
(#3) Fewer religious references this time around, suggesting they are hoping to use the hefty action sequences and rise-from-obscurity narrative to sell tickets to those who have never heard of Charlton Heston’s Ben-Hur, a very small number of people, mostly younger. The precise audience they would hope to lure in.
There’s no possibility that this film will come even remotely close to the 1959 film’s twelve nominations and record-holding eleven Oscars. Matter of fact, I suspect this August release will come up empty-handed at the Oscars, though a handful of tech and creative nominations aren’t out of the realm of possibility.