Many, many, many years ago, Mt. Vesuvius erupted. The explosion destroyed the nearby city of Pompeii and preserved many citizens in a ghastly tableau of death-by-natural-disaster. And now, in 2014, director Paul W. S. Anderson brings us his cinematic vision of that natural disaster starring Kit Harington (Game of Thrones) and Emily Browning (Sucker Punch, Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, Sleeping Beauty) as star-crossed lovers who have a series of adventures before the inevitable end.
I suppose Hollywood’s need to anchor their movies in some form of existing property could extend all the way back to a centuries-old natural disaster. But putting that film in the hands of the man who has directed a few Resident Evil movies is probably a quick fix to a disaster of a new kind–a financial one, for the folks that funded this movie.
Pompeii, the movie, is more Pearl Harbor than Titanic and I am aware that I am splitting overblown hairs here. What I mean is simply that Mr. Anderson’s new movie is not very entertaining. Perhaps this has something to do with the fact that a cursory Google search tells us how it all ended. Or maybe it has to do with the fact that every player in this piece, that includes Kiefer Sutherland as the villain, is either overacting, or hanging around looking pretty (and I’m actually talking about Mr. Harington here, rather than Ms. Browning).
A terrible tragedy that destroyed a way of life deserves to be marked by cinema with grander aspirations than those exhibited by the players involved in Pompeii.
Final Analysis: Unimpressive effects work, thoroughly unnecessary 3D, and melodramatic acting coupled with uninventive fight choreography is what you can expect if you venture towards a theatre playing Pompeii this weekend.
My Advice: Wait for my review of the new 300 movie.