The 1959 version of the movie Ben Hur is in the list of "great films" which the Vatican included on the occasion of the 100th anniversary of cinema according to the USCCB website:
It's one of my all time favorites as well regardless of its length, I have watched it many, many times.
When I saw that there was a new version of a movie based on the novel by Lew Wallace coming up this year I thought that it would not necessary after the epic film of 1959 which was so good.
I saw this new film and, as expected, it was definitely not as good as the previous version. The cinematography, music and direction are average level. The director tends to allow movements (or shakings of) the camera too much when people are talking which bothered me while watching this film. The acting is good, but the casting for the characters, especially for Messala is not good. I would have preferred another actor with more screen presence. The most interesting part of this film are the battle of the galleys with the Greek rebels and the horse race, other than that what this movie actually did for me is wanting to see the Charlton Heston version once again which I did, and what a difference!
Should I recommend you this 2016 version?, not if you are not fan of this story, otherwise, renting it should be fine.