By Jack Rico
The “1-4-0″: @PompeiiMovie is both visually astonishing and a cinematic “disaster” concurrently. It takes itself so seriously that it makes you laugh.
The Gist: Pompeii is a mix between Gladiator, a natural disaster film and Games of Thrones. There are two stories here: one about a slave turned gladiator who falls in love with a princess and who he must save from a malevolent Roman Senator, and two, about a volcanic disaster which wipes out Pompeii.
The Highlights: I’ve seen a bevy of films in my life and I can tell you that Pompeii is as visually imposing a film as they come. The special effects are phenomenal, the panoramic shots are breathtaking and the set designs are impressive. Apart from that, there is nothing else to wax lyrical about.
The Lowlights: Where do I begin. The casting blunders were outrageous. Kiefer Sutherland played his villainous part with such histrionic zest that deriding him silently became a sport for me. I also almost choked on my popcorn when Jared Harris (of Mad Men fame) appeared on screen. He plays astute, perspicacious characters so well that the loving father role resulted in an unintentional comical treat. Then we have Kit Harington and his bountiful hair in the lead role. Director Paul W.S. Anderson had no shame whatsoever in basically plucking his “Game of Thrones” character, Jon Snow, from the lands of Winterfell to the humus of Pompeii. There was even mention of him being a “bastard”, which is what they almost always call him on the HBO show. These errors in judgement, along with silly dialogue, hilarious death scenes, a history of cliched action sequences and a stilted, labored romance, gave way to a profoundly pitiful cinematic experience.
To 3D or Not To 3D: I like gimmicky 3D effects where objects seemingly pierce through the screen. There was enough of those moments for me to recommend the investment, if you’re willing to watch the film.
Pay or Nay?: Nay. I know some critics have used the simile of “guilty pleasure” to describe this disaster of a film, but though it can be argued, I no of no one that would want to spend their hard earned cash and valuable time to waste it on an abysmal product such as Pompeii. Laugh at it when it’s released on DVD.
Rated: PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content.
Release Date: February 21, 2014
Screenplay: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler, Julian Fellowes, Michael Robert Johnson
Director(s): Paul W.S. Anderson
Starring: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland, Carrie-Anne Moss, Jessica Lucas, Sasha Roiz, Currie Graham, Joe Pingue
Distributor: Columbia Pictures
Film Genre: Action, Adventure, Drama
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