Saturday, April 26, 2014


  • Released Internationally on 19/02/14
  • Released in Malta by KRS on 01/05/14
Review (26/04/14)
3-word review: Deus ex machina. 
The story of Pompeii, with an entire city frozen in time as it is covered in ash from the nearby volcano Vesuvius, is a wonderful one. Here it serves as a bookend and plot twist for a rather feeble tale of Roman-era slavery and romance. So, after Noah, here’s the second period disaster movie of the year so far. Director Paul W. S. Anderson is mostly famous for the Resident Evil films, and unfortunately this isn’t much better in terms of class or quality.
A hero bent on revenge
The film borrows heavily from various other films, with the most obvious influence being Gladiator. Lots of gladiatorial action, lots of coliseum drama, and a central hero with a score to settle. Kit Harington (Jon Snow, who knows nothing, from Game of Thrones) makes his main role debut sporting an impressive set of abdominals. As a young child he witnesses the brutal massacre of his entire family and village at the hands of a Roman senator, and many years later his exploits as a gladiator bring him to the arena of Pompeii, where said Senator is visiting, hoping to return to Rome with the lovely Cassia (Emily Browning). Her parents (Jared Harris and Carrie-Anne Moss) disapprove, but Roman senators have a way of getting what they want.
In the background
So ensues a lot of politics and romance under the shadow of the stirring volcano. Kiefer Sutherland is suitably nasty, but terribly one-dimensional, as the bad guy. With a certain inevitability we see the plot progress in such a way as to bring the lowly but manly hero into the life of the fair maiden. The details are not too important, because as expected, the volcano comes into play when necessary to throw the rest of the plot out of the window and wreak havoc on everything in sight. It is reasonably spectacular in terms of CGI and relentless destruction, and serves as the best Deux ex machina since the famous frog scene in Magnolia (from director Paul Thomas Anderson, not this one).
In the end
It’s entertaining enough, because you don’t need much story or acting when your third act has a volcano, an earthquake and a tsunami to keep everyone busy. But it feels unfortunate that what might endure as the main film about the events of Pompeii is hardly the classic that they deserve.




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