For the first time that I can remember, with the exception of Star Wars: The Force Awakens (2015) and in some respects, The Phantom Menace (1999/2012), last year’s epic flop, Ben-Hur, a remake of the classic 1959 remake of the 1925 adaptation of the 1880’s novel of the same name, is coming to Blu-ray and DVD on the January 16th, without a 3D Blu-ray release in sight.
At least with Star Wars, we know and knew that this was a ploy to release the titles again and again, as was the case with The Force Awakens’ second release and first in 3D, last October, but they will be coming to 3D Blu-ray one way or another. But Ben-Hur hardly qualifies, surely?
Paramount’s aim here must be to simply make back as much money as possible to off set their losses of this misjudged remake, which for all its faults, was not that bad and is perfectly watchable, if not enjoyable in parts. But there is no 3D release of this IMAX epic.
This is puzzling if not a bit worrying. What is more concerning, is that this seems to be happening without a single word of protest on the web. I know that 3D is an acquired taste and even though I do like it at times, it is far from my first choice but to me, if a film is made in a format it should be released in that format.
But with the rise in hype for the much more consumer palatable 4K format, Blu-ray 3D is on the decline but this is the first film that I have come across in years, which as it stands at the moment, will not receive a 3D release.
Or will it?
Are they trying it on? Are they planning to re-release this later in 3D, or possibly a director’s cut of some form? I would say no, at least to the director’s cut as the trend so far, has been to release these extended editions immediately to promote the release, but Ben-Hur has all the hallmarks of a cheap, possibly vanilla release, simply to get this out on DVD/Blu-ray as quickly and quietly a possible.
Plenty of movies have flopped and they still receive the proper treatment but let us face it, Paramount are hardly the best at releasing their movies. Look at Star Trek over the last decade? The lack of respect shown to this title is surprising if I am honest.
Though there is talk of 3D releases in other markets, such as Mexico and parts of Europe and if so, a master must surly exist. Hopefully these foreign releases will happen and even if 3D has been omitted from the English-speaking releases, there may be hope for the rest of the world.