Movie Review #944
Another remake, this time of the swords-and-sandals epic from 1959 that had Charlton Heston in the role of Jewish prince hard done by & ending up as a Roman slave before coming good & finally living happily ever after.
The difficulty with remakes is that there is always a yardstick to measure against & even though the original was executed with a certain amount of cheesy 50s panache, it still rates as one of the most successful movies of all time, which is a pretty hard act to follow. This one doesn't do too badly however. It follows the original storyline reasonably closely albeit with a few little tweaks. The original story ran parallel with and was actually written to intertwine with the crucifixion of Jesus although in this count, the latest offering is a bit lame. The message of redemption does get a bit lost but the rest of the outplay is pretty engrossing.
Seeing Morgan Freeman in long grey deadlocks is a sight to behold. It’s all as epic as epic is gonna be in this day and age of CGI trickery with the legendary chariot race as gripping as the original. Although there are no real star performances as such, the dreadlocked Mr Freeman does stand head and shoulders above the rest.
Interestingly enough the original novel was written by Lew Wallace who amongst other things was a Union Army General in the Civil War and later became Governor of New Mexico, crossing paths with none other than Billy the Kid. It was also turned into a silent movie in 1925 so this effort is actually version trios.
Movie Review #597 STAR TREK BEYOND.
Beyond what I'm not sure however the latest episode in the latter day Star Trek franchise is another exercise in usual trekkie thrills & spills with James Tiberius & crew locked in another round of mortal combat against an alien life form hell bent on destroying the Federation (it's life Jim but not as we know it).
The Enterprise is attacked early in the piece & her crew sprinkled across various parts of the customary uncharted planet where they are forced into deploying usual resourcefulnesses to overcome adversity, turn the predicament to the positive & finally defeat the bad guys.
Standard feel-good camaraderies between the mainstays of James T/Spock/Bones/Scotty are abound with the Sulu/Chekov sidekick pairing getting equal airtime. In addition the Spock/Uhura dalliance proceeds along plus there's a new chum in the form of the spray-painted Jayla, long ago stranded on aforementioned uncharted planet.
Story is predictable with nothing that hasn't been done before yet it makes for a couple of hours of reasonable entertainment & an escape from the Sunday afternoon low-end wind chill factor of a Palmerston North winter's day. I suspect in a year or two there will another Star Trek movie to squeeze even more out of this egg that believe it or not began with a budget TV show that ran only 3yrs from 1966 through 1969.
For this slice of the reinvention, it's a 7.5/10.
I'm a movie nut from way back with my first ever being The Hallelujah Trail from 1964. Ever since, I've been mesmerized by the giant screen, and the darkness that went on forever. Despite the infernally uncomfortable seats, (plus having to stand for God Save the Queen), I've been enticed ever since to duck into a theatre whenever I can for a few hours of escapism.