Tuesday, August 30, 2016
When I first read Cal Thomas' review of the 2016 film version of Ben Hur, I was sadly resigned to the thought that it would probably not make it's way to the theater in Dumaguete. I watched the 1959 version as a child - haven't seen it in ages - and though I remember enjoying the movie, I didn't recall too many specific details.
It was Thomas' review of the film which prompted me to download a copy of the novel from Project Gutenberg. I came to learn that the book, written by Lew Wallace in the 1880s, was one of the top best sellers of the 19th century. When I wrote my previous post on Ben Hur, I was 15% into the ebook and remarked that I was more impressed with it than I was with the book which knocked it out of top selling novels, Gone With The Wind.
Now, two weeks later, I'm less impressed with the novel. It's really been a grind reading it. It started out interesting, but now I'm wondering why the 19th century reader was so enamored with Wallace's book. I've told myself that once I've begun reading a book, I'd do my best to finish reading it - no matter how boring it becomes. If I had continued to find Ben Hur worth reading, I would have finished it within a few days. Instead, I'm only 40% through after two weeks. I can't imagine continuing with this for another two weeks. Surely, it will pick up again.
After the release of the 2016 version, reviews for the film have been less than positive. The Wall Street Journal says the film not only bombed, but bombed big, even accusing the filmmakers of portraying "watered down Christianity". Perhaps it's just as well that the film probably won't make it to my local theater.