Release Date: February 21, 2014
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Writer: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler, Michael Robert Johnson
Cast: Kit Harington, Carrie Anne Moss, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Joe Pingue, Kiefer Sutherland, Currie Graham, Dylan Schombing, Maxime Savaria, Ron Kennell, Tom Bishop Sr.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Runtime: 105 minutes
Studio: Film District
Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
Country: USA, Germany, Canada
This is the perfect example of knowing what you’re getting into beforehand. It can save the feeling of sadness if walking out the theatre disappointed. I knew exactly that while walking in, and it definitely helped. Director Paul W.S. Anderson took the helm with Pompeii and I got everything that I expected. He was behind popular titles like the original Mortal Kombat, Death Race, and a handful of the Resident Evil titles just to name a few. While some may look at this short list, burst out into laughter, and ask am I serious, my answer would be “Yes! I am”. In my opinion all these flicks are great and I had fun with everyone. Some may say they’re so bad their good and that’s a fair assessment. I may not always want something serious or view a film hoping it takes the next Oscar, but I may just want to turn my brain off, watch some decent to bad CGI, and have a good time. Walking in I had a smile on my face because for some reason I knew I was in for a good time and I’m proud to report that I was correct. At least for me that is. As simplistic as the story may be, all I wanted was destruction on account of an erupting volcano, decent action, with a decent story and plot to follow. Was this executed with perfect precision? No! Was the ending a bit of a disappointment? Yes! Did I walk out satisfied with the mindset of watching again in the near future? Yes and that’s all that really matters. Pompeii is set in 79 A.D. and tells another tell of a gladiator named Milo (Kit Harington) fighting for his freedom to save his true love, all before the daunting Mount Vesuvius erupts and destroys everything in and around Pompeii. The love story presented may feel a little premature to most, and it would to me if it wasn’t for one particular scene. Before I was convinced I was supposed to believe our main characters fell in love by long blank stares. It could be considered laughable, but when one character was forced with the decision to save another one’s life it was believable. Out of all the characters my favorite was Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje). He was another gladiator that in my opinion stole the show every time he was on screen. Even when Milo was present he owned it. As all gladiators want freedom, he was so remotely close to it you could taste it. So when his freedom was challenged, he dished out some honorable dialogue making his mission more interesting. It also served him to be a worthy opponent in the arena. Besides his great presence he’s pretty damn good with a sword too. My least favorite character was Severus (Jared Harris). I thought he was extremely weak not fighting hard enough for his family when needed. All the others characters fit well within the middle. Kiefer Sutherland played the villain, and I thought it was a perfect fit with that eerie raspy voice of his. I picked out some deep routed issues of his and deserved what was giving to him. On a negative note, when chaos was all around there was no sense of urgency to escape to freedom. Yes people where running for their lives and the story (while simple and no complaint) did set up an dangerous obstacles to overcome, there was a great amount of wasted time. Instead of getting up and running some characters deciding to stare deeply into each others eyes as fire and brimstone fell from the skies. This happened a few times and became quite frustrating. There were a few bits of corniness, especially with slow motion and showing a characters demise but it wasn’t unexpected. At some portions (specifically the volcano) of the CGI were great at others time they were laughably bad. Some shots that used green screen were so blatantly obvious with the characters and the arena in the background. On the other hand there were so many beautiful aerial shots that I began to loose count. Those shots were some of the highlights of the film. The 3D was mediocre only showing it’s true form when ashes came down or the volcano erupting. Most of the action was well choreographed especially the fighting. Even though at some points all the destruction seemed to cease just to give the characters enough time to chit chat while everyone else is dying around them. Overall I did enjoy Pompeii, even though I thought its ending was a complete waste and unnecessary. I enjoyed all the characters except for one, even the villains. They did pose a fair threat to the characters we’re supposed to route for. The action/fighting was well paced with the story, and for the most part the characters had enough motivation to carry out their duties on screen. Some of the CGI was terrible (which I did expect), but then some of it was a pleasure on the eyes. While I don’t recommend this in the slightest as a must see, I definitely wouldn’t mind owning a copy of mine to enjoy at home or having playing in the background when friends are over. I knew what I was getting into and had lots of fun. Turn you brain off and you will too.