It's hard to try to describe this...
First off, the film is absolutely gorgeous. The opening shots are outstanding, the chariot race is amazing, and every color sequence is stunning in every sense of the word (Ramón Novarro riding victoriously into the city in moving Technicolor sure is something).
Still, I've always had issues with the story. I tried sitting through the 1959 remake a couple years ago and was bored to tears (I will try it again after this) with the length and overstuffed plot, and while this version suffers from some of the same problems, it was actually much easier to follow --maybe now that I'm older and had titles to help concentration.
And, in the end, it is incredibly emotionally moving.