Hollywood will make a movie out of anything nowadays. Childrens’ shows, board games, historical events…. Wait, they’ve been doing that last one for a while, haven’t they? Anyway, strap yourself in for Pompeii, and don’t forget to leave absolutely all of your history books at home. Having any sort of peripheral knowledge of historical events is also discouraged. This movie spreads itself quite thin trying to please everyone, and it succeeds in some categories more than others. But where to start? Picking this film apart is like trying to put someone else’s bra on – it’s all backwards and awkward. Pompeii can easily be described as Titanic + Volcano (Volcanic?), with a few minor differences — like the fact that instead of starring Leonardo DiCaprio as the romantic lead, it stars Kit Harington‘s abs. I mentioned that this movie spreads itself thin, and I’d like to touch down on that first. What Pompeii presents itself as, and what it actually is, are two very, very different things. What it presents itself as (backed up by a few legitimately-cool fight scenes) is an action movie not unlike the Spartacus TV show, and it borrows a lot of tricks from the gladiator series. But after about the fifth “smoldering gaze” from our stoic hero, and the way our heroine fawns over him (I actually think this movie manages to fail the Bechdel Test despite having three female characters that interact with each other), I started to realize that this wasn’t an actual action film. It wasn’t even a disaster film. It was a romance novel. And… that’s okay. If you’re into that, you’ll love this (my mom, apparently, loved it). It throws in aspects of other types of films to flesh things out, and it does help to disguise a bit of the plot’s cheesiness. The movie’s strongest point is probably its scenery. While there’s the occasional instance of a setting looking like it may not be, uh, entirely real, most of the interior and exterior shots both are truly stunning, with verdant countrysides and lavish roman decorations. Sadly, its beauty doesn’t last long. I’m not talking about the volcano by the way. I’m talking about Kiefer Sutherland. Man, you remember when Kiefer Sutherland was actually good? The days of Young Guns? Dark City? …Other movies Kiefer Sutherland was in? Those were great times. Too bad they seem to be over – he plays the hammiest, most scenery-gobblingly sinister dork in existence. He bobbles his head, arches his brows, wildly gesticulates, all the good stuff we expect from an overactor. He even does a bizarre sort of voice that sounds like Eddie Izzard trying to do an American accent (before he got sort of good at it). He plays the villain in this, and by the time the volcano finally comes around to destroy what’s left of Pompeii, he’s so bloated from his scenery-feast he looks like Violet from Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. Contrast this with the lead romantic heroine, played by Emily Browning, who clearly just barely bothered to get out of bed to show up on the set. Even her impassioned protests or yearning glances seem wholly half-assed, which is boring enough on its own without trying to stand out in the scenery-less void created by Sutherland. Overall, the movie is watchable. When the volcano comes along there are a few really inspired shots (like the boat sailing through the city streets), even if the whole thing is completely historically inaccurate. Crash course history lesson: When Mt. Vesuvius erupted, the pyroclastic flow was so fast, massive, and sudden that corpses were found drawing water from the well – people were living out their daily lives when the volcano completely eradicated them from existence. There was no tsunami, no fireballs, no earthquakes, no nothing, just a massive flow of superheated ash that devoured everything within miles. Pompeii decided that it preferred tsunamis, fireballs, and earthquakes, and the eruption of the volcano ended up being a large event with an untold amount of people escaping the city before it all went south. It’s better for a disaster movie, of course – if it ended like it did in history then the end would have been quite abrupt indeed. But why name the movie after a historical event if you choose not to follow those events? Why not just call it “Big Roman Volcano Movie?” It would have annoyed a lot less people, probably. Anyway, that’s a nitpick. As a movie it does well for itself, with some good fight scenes, some great scenery, and a few really visually-inspired shots. The acting tends to fall very flat, and it also severely underutilizes its better actors (why were Carrie-Anne Moss and Jared Harris even in this?), but if you’re in the mood to watch a romantic Spartacus-lite that involves a volcano, I really can’t see where you could go wrong. See larger image Pompeii Blu-ray 3D + Blu_ray + digital HD Ultra violet. New From: $8.25 USD In Stock Pompeii (2014)3.5Overall ScoreShare this:TweetShare on TumblrLike this:Like Loading... Related Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.