Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Pompeii: An Eruption Of Mediocrity

    Reading the title makes you think seeing this film is a waste of time. I wouldn't go that far, but I think that it's billed to be a more epic movie than what you will get. If you went to school, you were told the story of Pompeii. A city of greed built at the base of a volcano. One day the volcano erupts and the city and it's people are destroyed. Not spoilers. Just the facts. It seems like a group of people were sitting around a table and said, "what if we put Spartacus in the middle of Pompeii?" They of course did this without the sex, gore, and character development that Spartacus offered. That being said, you get a toned down gladiator film.

     We are taken back to 79 A.D. and to a time of Roman dominance. Milo (Kit Harrington) watches his people massacred and is sold into slavery and eventually becomes a gladiator. He encounters the daughter of a wealthy merchant, Cassia (Emily Browning). She has been offered to a corrupt senator named Corvis (Kiefer Sutherland). He befriends another gladiator fights for his freedom and to save his love while the city literally comes down around him.

   It sounds good, but it just doesn't play as well on the screen. The love story is a little rushed. It doesn't have the epic feel that you would like. The friendship between the gladiators is fun, but in the end just doesn't come across as well as on Spartacus: Blood and Sand. I was never really swept away by Pompeii. It's a shame because I really liked all of the actors.

  Kiefer Sutherland was great as the conniving senator. He was charming and ruthless. He had a little John Kendrick mixed with Comonus and it really plays well. Sutherland is a great bad guy. He was a highlight for me. I wish the script was less rushed and we saw a bit more of his back story. He seemed like he was having fun with the movie and it was refreshing. Good villain is a requirement for me. 

  I am a fan of Game of Thrones and Kit Harrington. He doesn't do anything wrong per say. He is beyond believable as a gladiator. The fight scenes are very cool, but not quite as epic as the need to be. He is the one character who is completely understood. He lost his family, his people, and has nothing to live for. It's not a complex character, but we do see multiple sides of him.

  The destruction is there, but it wasn't as epic of a visual as I expected. I was more disturbed by the destruction of Metropolis in Man of Steel than here. The film tries to be historically accurate and while I appreciate that, I would have rather seen liberties taken. The movie borrows from Gladiator and Spartacus, but feels like a cable TV movie. It has some good moments, but it lacks enough depth to make it great. The 3D isn't necessary and in the the end Pompeii erupts with disappointment. 

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