Pompeii movie poster


In theaters February 21, 2014

As you may or may not know, the city of Pompeii was destroyed in 79 A.D. by an epic volcanic eruption. The volcano, Mount Vesuvius, is currently the only active volcano on mainland Europe thus the threat remains for history to repeat itself. Pompeii is rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content. Does this attempt to retell the story have a strong enough foundation to stand tall or will it be leveled like the ancient city it’s based upon?

Pompeii stars Kit Harington as Milo who is a slave-turned-gladiator. He falls instantly for Cassia (Emily Browning) and will not allow anything, not even an erupting volcano, get in their way of being together. Mount Vesuvius plays a largest part in the hurdle of “love ever after” but there are other factors that attempt to come between Milo and Cassia. Rounding out the cast are Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Sasha Roiz, Jessica Lucas, Carrie-Anne Moss and a rare big screen appearance by Kiefer Sutherland.

Pompeii starts off like many movies/television shows that feature a slave who ends up becoming a gladiator. The movie starts with a short but important look into Milo’s childhood which forms him into the adult that introduced 17 years later. The first hour or so deals with the slave/gladiator side of things and actually goes by pretty quickly. From that point comes the shift in focus to the volcano thus becoming less of a gladiator movie and more of a disaster movie. With that comes some over the top special effects and the city starts its decent into destruction. Pompeii is essentially a mash-up of Gladiator and The Day After Tomorrow.

By opening up against weaker competition Pompeii should have SOME box office success but by no means will it be a smash hit. There’s enough going on that makes it an entertaining movie for the most part. It does start to drag eventually and as the destruction mounts it becomes increasingly hokey. Don’t go into this expecting to get an accurate historical representation of the natural calamity. The 3D effects where underwhelming therefore it may be wise to take a pass on forking out extra dollars. It’s unfortunate because there were many instances where proper 3D usage would have been very beneficial to the overall enjoyment of the film. So if you’re looking for a halfway decent historical action flick to enjoy on the screen Pompeii just might scratch that itch as long as you can forgive some of the plot’s shortcomings.

Pompeii is streaming now on the following services:
Movie Reelist Contributor: Carl Wheeler

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