Pompeii Review

Posted 3 years ago by myetvmedia

“Pompeii” is the type of movie you see when you’re really not interested in thinking. “Pompeii” may seem at first glance a wannabe epic but really it’s just an entertaining action flick and it’s well aware of that. Filmed at Cinespace Studios here in Toronto, Ontario, star power includes Kit Harington (Game of Thrones), Carrie Anne-Moss (The Matrix Trilogy), Emily Browning (Sucker Punch) and Kiefer Sutherland (24). It is directed by Paul W.S. Anderson and produced by Don Carmody, the dynamic duo who brought you the Resident Evil Franchise.

This is a movie born in a blender. It apes Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” almost entirely until the halfway point and to be honest, the parts in which it get too original are when it’s at its worst. The stars of the picture, Kit Harington and Emily Browning do exactly as they are told, pose and look distressed, but they really can’t be faulted when the script gives them, as it frequently does, something ridiculous to say. Overall, they brought a star quality without which “Pompeii” would have been just another bad genre movie. As we are introduced more wholly to the setting (90 percent of which is visually impressive CGI) we are slowly eased into the second film that “Pompeii” will liberally borrow from: James Cameron’s “Titanic”. Yes, this movie about forbidden love is half “Gladiator”, half “Titanic” and a whole lot “Dante’s Peak”. Yes, “Dante’s Peak”, after all, the historical Pompeii was destroyed by a volcano and this is another opportunity for Hollywood to blow stuff up. And blow it up it does.

So with our starcrossed lovers, Kit Harington and Emily Brown, doomed to suffer the struggle of the day, how does the rest of the cast fair? Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje (Lost) portrays a fellow gladiator and, as well as fitting the bill physically, also gets the best lines of the script. Carrie Anne-Moss is here too, but her role is entirely pointless and almost forgettable. Jared Harris and Kiefer Sutherland round out the cast. This is Kiefer Sutherland playing the cheesiest villain ever. This guy starts his day eating a baby with a rusty spoon, spends his afternoon lighting orphanages on fire and his evenings punching kittens. There is a reason for evil; always a flaw in the character or a misguided intention and when the audience is denied that, the villain is cartoonish and shallow. However, sometimes you just want Skeletor rather than Colonel Kurtz, and Sutherland does handle this ridiculousness well and at the very least allows for the action to reach a high point.

Just as the Gladiator and rip offs are starting to overstay their welcome, the volcano starts destroying Pompeii and things become pretty interesting again. The visuals provide for an exciting verve to the film and I was actually excited to see the movie get destroyed piece by piece. “Pompeii” might sound terrible based on this review but its not. Turn your brain off, sit back and watch it burn. You could do worse on a Saturday night with twelve bucks.

– Max Romano

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