Glenn Beck Raves About 'Ben-Hur' as Critics Jeer

Paramount Pictures
'Ben-Hur'

"This is the movie we hoped 'Noah' would be, which was an abomination," Beck said of 'Ben-Hur,' which is so far bombing at the box office.

As Ben-Hur bombs at the box office, Glenn Beck and some other conservatives have been telling their audiences to see the film because, in part, it is so much better than was Noah and some other faith-based under-performers of late.

"I love Ben-Hur ... it is great," Beck said Friday on The Glenn Beck Program after attending a screening. Paramount and MGM opened the movie, directed by Timur Bekmambetov and executive produced by Mark Burnett, on Friday.

The right-leaning political pundit has been panning and promoting movies much more lately than he has in the past — especially those that target a Christian audience — and his opinions matter to the roughly 10 million people who tune in each week.

Beck's harsh comments about Noah (both before and after he saw the film) likely helped to derail that big-budget film, but it remains to be seen if his enthusiastic endorsement of Ben-Hur can salvage the epic, given the nearly $100 million production is on track to earn just $12 million in its opening weekend

"This is the movie we hoped Noah would be, which was an abomination," Beck said of Ben-Hur. "This one was done right."

Beck's assessment of Ben-Hur is the opposite of most critics who have been unmercifully panning the film, even the climactic chariot race, which Beck raved about while The Hollywood Reporter called it "the worst scene in the picture." Rotten Tomatoes gives the film a critics score of 30 percent and an audience score of 65 percent.

Beck said he's a huge fan of the 1959 version and its star, Charlton Heston, but Friday's new version was so good that he temporarily forgot it was even a remake.

"It's just a great movie," he reiterated several times about Ben-Hur, which tells the fictional story of Judah Ben-Hur, a Jewish prince who is betrayed by his best friend in the time of Jesus Christ.

While mainstream critics have generally been hostile to the film, Christian reviewers are tending to agree with Beck. Brian Godawa, who couldn't find much positive to say about Noah or Exodus: Gods and Kings, called Ben-Hur "an epic movie of Christian forgiveness."

Meanwhile, Faith Driven Entertainment gave Ben-Hur a four-star rating, the first time the organization gave a Hollywood tentpole film a positive review. "Without being preachy, Ben-Hur shows enough biblical truth to satisfy faith-driven audiences — yet should resonate well with secular moviegoers as well," the Christian organization said in its review.

Ed Morrissey of HotAir.com, a conservative blog and news site, called it "a watchable, entertaining film, although not without its own issues apart from the remake dynamic."

Comparing the new version to the 1959 version, conservative reviewer Christian Toto wrote: "The new Ben-Hur can't measure up to that standard. What's amazing is how comfortable in its own cinematic skin the remake appears."

And Movieguide.org, also a Christian outlet, wrote: "The good news is that the movie's ending sets viewers up for a possible sequel, where Judah and his family and friends go to Rome and meet with Christ's disciples, as they do in the original novel. Overall, audiences will enjoy Ben-Hur."

The bit about a sequel, though, is likely wishful thinking, given the difficulty MGM and Paramount will have in turning a profit on the film.

Listen to Glenn Beck's comments on the film below.

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