Courtesy of Netflix, we are in the process of watching Ben-Hur.
I remember being totally swept away by the movie the one and only time I saw it, on the silver screen in Malaysia when I was, what, 8? 10? The chariot race in all its bloody glory. The oarsmen rubbing their legs raw trying to escape their chains as a barge approached at ramming speed. The horror of leprosy (I had no idea what it was but boy you knew it was certainly not something you wanted for yourself!). And that faceless young man with nice hair who gave Judah water as the procession of slaves headed for the galleys were marched through Nazareth... ;)
I remember not figuring out the lead's real name. I tacked "-ton" to the end of a name I did know, so ended up referring to him as Charleston Heston (hey, it, ummm, not alliterates, but same idea mah!), much to the amusement of a parent who would always laugh and say he's not the name of a dance, which of course didn't mean a thing to me, so it didn't help... heck, even at this day and age, I still by default think of him as Charleston, although at least now I (kinda) know what dance I am attributing his name to, LoL!
Anyways.... I've only seen Disc One so far today (ends where Ester has told Judah that his mother & sister were dead, while in reality they were off to the Valley of Lepers), but already I am reminded, not just of the scenes mentioned above, but of how engrossing the tale is, how you get sucked into the story, how you feel the injustice meted out by Mesalla, how you yourself rail against cruel fate that caused the falling of the tile that started it all...
But there's one thing that makes me wonder.... There are bits of this movie that seem utterly new to me. You know, maybe, all those scenes that relate to the secondary title of the film: "A Tale of the Christ"? (Another surprise to me, LoL, only ever knew it as Ben-Hur!). Okay, so I can attribute it to perhaps not understanding the allusions as a very ignorant 8/10-yo. After all, I don't think I'd have gotten that comment about "that crazy man John who goes about drowning people", for example. Then again, I wouldn't put it past the thought police to have censored as much as possible of the non-essential Jesus-related stuff, like the entire opening sequence including the Star of Bethlehem shining a spotlight down on the manger, and the three wise men visiting a newborn baby in aforementioned manger, for example, in fear of the masses somehow losing their faith after watching this (and so many others - their job, it seems, is never done). Their lack of faith in their own flock never ceases to amaze me.
Anyways. Ben-Hur. Good stuff. If you've been wanting a good movie to (re)watch, how 'bout this one? Yes it's long and has lots of dialogue, yet it's a totally gripping tale, and its Christian foundation shouldn't detract anyone from a magnificent 3+ hours :-)