105 Min | Action – Adventure – Drama | February 2014
IMDB Rating: 6.3
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland
Pompeii Review: It’s pretty much impossible to say that “Pompeii” is a flawless film. It’s love story is clichéd and and its lighting at times leaves much to be desired. On the other hand, I believe the term “guilty pleasure” fits perfectly here, as I certainly enjoyed this movie enough to recommend it. “Pompeii” tells the story of the legendary natural disaster that covered the Italian city of Pompeii and its residents in ashes, preserving their bodies for eternity. Like “Titanic,” “Pompeii” mixes in a star-crossed lovers story into the disaster genre. Following the rich- girl-loves-poor-boy trope, a wealthy woman named Cassia (played by Emily Browning of “Sucker Punch”) falls in love with an enslaved gladiator named Milo (played by Kit Harrington of “Game of Thrones”).
When Pompeii’s volcano erupts, it is up to Milo to save Cassia from being left to die in the eruption (there is more to the story but I don’t want to give anything away). Admittedly, the love story is by far less convincing than the one in Titanic. The two leads Cassia and Milo spend a bare minimum of time getting to know each other and their relationship lacks development. However, in a disaster movie that focuses more on providing audience- pleasing thrills, this is much less of a problem than it could have been. On the contrary, Milo’s relationship with a fellow slave named Atticus (played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje of “Thor: The Dark World”) is surprisingly well developed throughout the film. In the first act, Milo learns that he must face Atticus, a man who has been promised freedom after one more battle.
One scene involving gladiators fighting soldiers chained to a spiked pillar made full use of its environment, and will likely have audiences entertained. Something else worth nothing are the special effects; they are very well done and it is clear that the VFX team put a lot of effort into bringing the legendary eruption of Mt. Vesuvias to the big screen. What’s even better is the 3D; lately 3D has been sorely mediocre in Hollywood films, but in this case it is very effective. From volcanic ashes to falling beams of wood, “Pompeii” succeeds in taking full advantage of the 3D technology with stunning results. The movie is nowhere near a high-quality film, nor is it free from typical Hollywood clichés. However, this was not a film that left me feeling insulted or just jaded.
Links to Download ‘Pompeii’ in the excellent SQ print: