Watch again the new Ben-Hur trailer and pay attention to the scene when Jack Huston‘s Judah Ben-Hur, unjustly accused by Messala of plotting to kill a Roman Judean governor, is told that his mother and sister may be crucified. Huston’s response is to scream “Nooo!!” Here’s an mp3 of that moment. I’m sorry but any time a movie character so bellows it’s almost always a tip-off that the film will be mediocre.
Face-punching is another indication of trouble in an ancient-period film. Nobody punched anyone in William Wyler’s 1959 version — lashings and crucifixions but no knuckle sandwiches. But there’s a whole lotta sluggin’ — jabs, right crosses, uppercuts — in Timur Bekmambetov’s film.
And lastly, please pay attention to the moment when Morgan Freeman‘s Sheik Ilderim asks Jack Huston‘s Judean prince for his name, and Huston answers “Ben-Hur.” Who self-announces or self-identifies by their last name? When Charlton Heston was asked the same question by Jack Hawkins in the ’59 version, he answered “Judah Ben-Hur.”
If TheWrap‘s Jeff Sneider had endured the same ordeal (i.e., washed up on a beach after escaping three years of servitude as an oar slave) and then was asked his name by Sheik Ilderim, would he answer “Sneider?” No, he would give his first and last name.
Who was the last movie character to self-identify with a last name? Randy Quaid in The Last Detail. When a Nichiren Shoshu follower (Luana Anders) asks him his name, he says “Meadows.” Right away Otis Young (a.k.a. “Mule”) corrects him: “Your first name.” Quaid: “Larry.”
Again, the “noooo!” mp3.