The UHF of the film world.
Latest news

Marina Antunes [Celluloid 02.21.14] apocalyptic action adventure



Pompeii is problematic from the get go because everyone knows how it ends. Vesuvius erupts in ash and lava and there's no way anyone can outrun it. Even Roland Emmerich couldn't save these guys and that's really a good thing; the last thing anyone wants is the re-writing of history or the ridiculous survival of two lovers however, with Hollywood anything is possible. So what we're left with in Paul W.S. Anderson's period disaster porn is a threadbare romance of star crossed lovers and action. Ridiculous amounts of CG action.

"Game of Thrones" star Kit Harington stars as Milo, a gladiator with a sad past that includes him watching his entire tribe be butchered by the Romans in Britannia. He's since slaved it out in the arena of the outlying Roman territory before being discovered and sent to Pompeii to entertain the masses. When nearly at the City, he has a chance encounter with Lady Cassia (the always pouty faced Emily Browning - she's certainly beautiful but I haven't seen her do anything besides pout) and the two fall in love at first sight. Or at least we're led to believe that's what happens because he risks his life for her when they next meet.


Things get mildly interesting when Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland is an awesome bad guy and he's better here than he has been in years), a Roman Senator, arrives in Pompeii to do business on behalf of the newly minted Emperor. Corvus also happens to be a corrupt asshole who will do almost anything to manipulate his way into Cassia's bed. Oh, and he happens to be the guy who killed Milo's entire family so the young gladiator with perfect physique is looking for an opportunity for vengeance.

If you're familiar with Anderson's rules of moviemaking (or seen any of his previous movies), you'll know that there's a barrage of action. I'm not sure he meets his rule of every 12 minutes something blows up or someone gets killed but there and some impressive fight sequences and of course, the exploding volcano. But where as I could get behind the ridiculous action of Anderson's previous period actioner The Three Musketeers (review), Pompeii lacks the charm of that movie or the wackiness of the Resident Evil franchise. This feels even more paint by numbers than his previous movies and the result is even more lacklustre than usual.

The one thing Pompeii has going for it is Vesuvius. From the arrival in Pompeii the mountain is captured as this dangerous thing that is ready to explode at any moment. It takes a while to get there but once the eruption starts, Pompeii gets a little more interesting. It's clear the technical team did their research on the way in which a volcano erupts and in 3D, it's a pretty impressive bit of CG rendering but it's intercut with our lovers attempting a brave escape and a final showdown between Milo and Corvus which is more distracting than interesting.

Though I enjoyed bits and pieces of Pompeii, namely the eruption and the arena sequences, the movie feels long and it's just not that interesting. At least Emmerich knows his disaster movies are ridiculous and he doesn't take them too seriously but Anderson just tries too damned hard and when he enters ultimate cheese territory (Harrington on a horse with awesome hair jumping through rubble and smoke in slow motion) it's just eye rolling rather than amusing.

I like a good disaster movie as much as the next girl but I need one that is entertaining and fun throughout and Pompeii doesn't fully live up to the challenge. I've often poked fun at the ridiculousness of Emmerich's movies but now that I've seen the alternative, it's obvious no one does them like he does.

You might also like

avatar

loco73 (5 years ago) Reply

Another overwrought and messy GCI bore fest, with more destruction, explosions...as if "Captain America: The Winter Soldier". "The Amazing Spiderman 2", "Godzilla", "Transformers"...movies which give us more of the same, is not enough...These movies are becoming tiresome!


Leave a comment