Set in 79 A.D., POMPEII tells the epic story of Milo, a slave turned invincible gladiator who finds himself in a race against time to save his true love Cassia, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been unwillingly betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts in a torrent of blazing lava, Milo must fight his way out of the arena in order to save his beloved as the once magnificent Pompeii crumbles around him.
Genre : Action/Adventure/Drama
Country : Canada/Germany
Emily Browning : Cassia
Kit Harington : Milo
Carrie-Anne Moss : Aurelia
Paul W.S. Anderson
“Only death is freedom for a gladiator.”
The movie “Pompeii” isn’t really a disaster. Of course, it’s not in favor of this film that the unraveling is already known in advance. So it’s not so that you are going to look up surprised as the end credits are scrolling over the screen and you look stunned at the screen, stammering and muttering in yourself “Damn, I really didn’t see this coming !”. If you are going to enumerate the disaster movies, you get a long list . Of course, the content of such films is already known in advance. In “The Poseidon Adventure” and “Titanic” the ships in the respective films run into some trouble. In “Twister“, the twisters made a mess. “2012” was about the year 2012 when the world is experiencing a major flood. “Earthquake” was, you’ll never believe it, about a huge earthquake and the aftermath. And recently, “The Impossible” shows a realistic picture of the 2004 tsunami that flooded Thailand. There is in other words not a disaster in the world where there is no film about .
I suppose that anybody who reads the title and looks at the movie poster immediately realizes that the main subject of this film is the eruption of Vesuvius in the year 79. An eruption that caused the city of Pompeii, a prosperous town with all the utilities , infrastructures and wealth, was covered with a meter thick layer of ash. This fact alone is not much to fill a 100-minute film. The success of this film depends on the ancillary stories that are spun around it. But in the end the perception of a disaster movie such as “Pompeii” is like a porn movie. Nobody cares about a decent storyline in such a movie. Usually, it absolutely makes no sense at all. About performances we won’t make a fuss. The important thing is that it has an attractive and appetizing appearance. It’s just waiting for the action to start and we witness a discharge in ecstasy where each slit,cavern and hole is filled with a hot substance. This movie is “almost” similar.
The side story is twofold. The story of the surviving Celtic Milo (Kit Harington) who lives as a slave in London, where he fights in kind of arena battles in the slums and finally ends up in Pompeii to deliver a heroic battle against the giant gladiator, Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). The second part comprises a romantic theme. Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of a wealthy developer in Pompeii, falls in love with this muscled barbarian. She finds herself also in a difficult situation because she might be forced into a marriage with the cruel, corrupt senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) who arrived with a regiment in Pompeii to inspect the building plans.
Eventually, it wasn’t the storyline I disliked. It’s not that bad. Even the corny love story. It’s an impossible love since the gap between their origin is so unbridgeable. The gladiator part and the eruption of the Vesuvius guarantees this being an action packed film and was quite enjoyable to watch. What really bothered me were sometimes the terribly exaggerated situations that arose. Pompeii wasn’t founded at the foot of Vesuvius. It was miles away from it. That‘s also the reason why it was excavated in such good condition. There were no lava floods and there weren’t rocks catapulted on it. Pompeii was covered by a layer of ash caused by a pyroclastic cloud. But then again, it looked damn spectacular in this way.
I suppose Milo also has well-developed calf muscles, because the distance between the arena and the villa where Cassia was imprisoned was huge. The tsunami that followed the eruption, was abruptly stopped after a boat was crammed into the gate of the city wall. So ridiculous. And it‘s totally stupid to assume that you can escape a pyroclastic cloud riding a horse.
“Pompeii“ still was an action-packed and sparkling sandals movie where the graphics of the catastrophe were sometimes excellent but not realistic visualized. A mix of “Gladiator“ and any known love story about an impossible love, finished with a bit of “The horse whisperer” and “Dante’s Peak“. The love story didn’t quite appeal to me. The gladiator/action/disaster part did. From the opening scene of the massacre of a tribe of Celts by the Romans and the fights between gladiators in the arena, to the devastating eruption of Vesuvius with a mass hysteria as a result. The feeling that I had however, was as going to look at a grand fireworks : it ends with a huge, impressive blast that resonates for a long time in your ears, and the next day you already forgot what color and shape it was. A storm in a teacup. BOOM!
My rating 6/10
Links : IMDB