Thursday, August 14, 2014


***DISCLAIMER*** The following review is entirely my opinion. If you comment (which I encourage you to do) be respectful. If you don't agree with my opinion, that's fine. To each their own. These reviews are not meant to be statements of facts or endorsements, I am just sharing my opinions and my perspective when watching the film and is not meant to reflect how these films should be viewed. Finally, the reviews are given on a scale of 0-5. 0, of course, being unwatchable. 1, being terrible. 2, being not great. 3, being okay. 4, being great and 5, being epic! And if you enjoy these reviews feel free to share them and follow the blog or follow me on Twitter (@RevRonster) for links to my reviews and the occasional live-Tweet session of the movie I'm watching! How many people on the internet cried out "Spoilers!" when they found out Vesuvius erupts at the end?

Pompeii – 2 out of 5

Wait…Mount Vesuvius erupts and kills everyone in Pompeii?!? Thanks for ruining the ending, History Books!

Carrie-Anne Moss is in the film but, once the credits hit, I literally could not
remember if she actually had any lines or not.

Wait, he's walking away and not asking them if they
are entertained or not?
Just like how Titanic added a fictitious love story to a real-life historical tragedy, Pompeii adds a fictitious love story to a real-life tragedy…and rips off Gladiator along the way. After seeing his family murdered by the power-hunger Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland), Milo (Kit Harington) grows up to become a slave and a gladiator (geez, he can’t catch a break). He soon forms a rivalry with fellow gladiator Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) but he also ends up getting smitten with Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of Pompeii’s ruler. While political intrigue and gladiator fights take place a-plenty in the story, the Roman shit hits the fan when Mount Vesuvius decides it’s time to rain fiery death on the world and black out the sky like it’s getting ready to be the cover of a death metal album. Now Milo must try to escape the raging lava flow with just a quick pit-stop that involves extracting revenge on Jack Bauer Corvus.

"Fuck yo city!"

"Nah, you know nothing Jon Snow!"
(Read that caption in your best Mr. Ed impression.  It'll
make the moment a lot funnier.)
I shouldn’t really be surprised that a film from Paul W.S. Anderson has no real defining features to it and just comes off as a faux-dramatic piece of work that, at its core, is really just a dog and pony show for the volcanic eruption—actually, I wasn’t surprised. I sat down fully understanding that I was going to watch a film with no real character development or tension and drama that would lack the hooks to be anything more than just an obvious attempt at stretching out the running time so that the movie isn’t just a short film about a volcano erupting and killing people. Remember, this is the guy who directed Death Race, the Resident Evil films and Alien vs. Predator.

"Hmmm, that slave with the flawless skin, somehow washed and conditioned
hair and meticulously trimmed beard has made my loins quiver."

If nothing else, Harington could really stare the fuck
out of everything in this film.
There’s nothing really special about Pompeii that really kept my interest. The characters are one-dimensional and boring and a lot of the performances are just going through the motions. While I love Kit Harington on Game of Thrones, I saw nothing unique in his character or performance that even made him worth watching. The only real stand out in the cast was Kiefer Sutherland—and I’m not saying he was great in the film. I’m just saying that he clearly was having fun in his role and really enjoyed playing the character of Corvus. Aside from this, everyone is just doing what is the bare minimum of requirements for them. This, actually, sums up the entire film, as well.

Sutherland was clearly having such a good time in this role that it is not hard
to imagine him high-fiving everyone on the production after every freakin' take.

"Come, let us form a bond of brotherhood in the arena...
It's not like some natural disaster is going to kill
us anytime soon."
While the story has a forbidden love angle, some drama and some political intrigue going on in it, none of it feels like it is really given any consideration beyond eating up screen time. It was obvious, from the moment the story hits the city of Pompeii that Mount Vesuvius was the real star and everything happening was just something to build anticipation towards the eruption. The entire story feels like really bad, by-the-book foreplay before the climax of a exploding peak (man, this metaphor is gross). The love story, the drama, the political tension, none of them really feel that heavy or important to the story and the lackluster performances that everyone but Sutherland is bringing to these moments with their characters only highlight that this film was made for one reason only: To see a volcano explode and have a historical disaster porn.

Those aren't masks, their faces froze like that when they saw the eruption.

I won’t lie here, Vesuvius erupting and the madness that follows its explosive wrath was great fun to watch. Even with all the disaster movie clich├ęs like the daughter getting separated from her mother and is saved only seconds before the surrounding havoc consumes and nearly destroys her or how the one guy who was a dick to our story’s protagonist gets singled out for death by the chaos like Mount Vesuvius itself grew rocky hands and pointed directly at them and said, “You…you’re next!” Even with all that, it was still visceral and fun to watch. Additionally, the special effects on the volcano itself were spectacular and looked fantastic! However, aside from this, Pompeii didn’t really offer much that made it worth a viewing beyond just seeing if someone uploaded the eruption to YouTube.

Honestly, it was the curly-Q's in the beard and the hair on the man on the right
that made Vesuvius single him out.

Seriously, this looks cool.
While the end is definitely cool and looks great, the rest of the movie offers up nothing but boredom. The lack of energy placed in everything that wasn’t the total fucking chaos at the end (and Sutherland’s performance—seriously, he really looked like he was having a ball!) only makes the film look like the only reason Anderson made the movie was to do a big explosion. If everything else didn’t feel like one giant afterthought, there might have been something decent to Pompeii. But, since it did, I think I will just stay with the Doctor Who episode “The Fires of Pompeii” for my doomed tale about the people of Pompeii fix.

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