The “bad” Ben-Hur (Paramount, 8.19) had its world premiere last night (8.1) inside the Cinepolis JK in Sao Paulo, Brazil. Not Rio de Janeiro, where the 2016 Olympics will begin on Friday, 8.5 and where thousands of major-media types are congregated, but in corporate Sao Paulo. (Why?) I can’t find any Twitter reactions to Timur Bekmambetov‘s Christian-angled remake, but one can at least compared the musical scores between the two films to get a sense of things.
Miklos Rosza composed the Oscar-winning score to William Wyler’s 1959 film. To my ears Rosza’s music was a character, a voice, a force unto itself. The newbie’s score, obviously a lesser thing, was written by Marco Beltrami (3:10 to Yuma, The Hurt Locker, Hellboy, The Wolverine).
Above is a passage from Beltrami’s Ben-Hur channellings — a mildly dreamy, keyboard-synth thing. The main-title section of Rosza’s score, performed in 2013 by the John Wilson Orchestra inside London’s Royal Albert Hall, is below. A second Rosza composition (“Parade of the Charioteers”, performed by an all-brass band conducted by André Rieu) is after the jump, followed by a special Ben-Hur related performance of “Ceasefire,” performed by For King & Country, a Christian pop duo composed of Australian-American brothers Joel and Luke Smallbone. Please compare and assess.