Awh right, ancient disaster movie! Unless the Final Destination franchise counts as disaster movies, (which if they don’t then what the bleedin’ hell are they), then I don’t believe I have actually seen a disaster movie before. I remember just always knowing about Pompeii – I must’ve been taught about it at some point. It’s such a tragic story and so interesting, that when I first saw the poster for it with only Kit Harrington on it, I only really had one opinion about it – this movie will probably be awful. I had previously read about it in Empire, where they had spent the day on the set and some of the process of the production sounded pretty awesome, so I wanted to give this one ago. I somehow managed to see this film twice. The first time, I was having a movie day to myself, accidentally saw the film in 3D and came out thinking that it wasn’t all that bad, but it still wasn’t great. The second time, I was actually with people. I accidentally saw it in 3D again and came out thinking that the movie was pretty tragic, and not because of the natural disaster.
If you are unaware, Pompeii is a city in Italy that was part of the Roman Empire that suffered a cataclysmic volcano eruption that wiped out the whole city. You are able to visit it now and see the casts of peoples bodies from the ash and lava that fell upon them that shows you the exact positions they died in as the events took place.
The main problem with Pompeii is that it’s the love child of a gladiator film and a disaster movie. Really, it could be said that for the first half of the film, that this is just a representation of the way the people of Pompeii lived on lives – apart from the fact that we are focusing on Milo, a man who’s family were brutally butchered by the Romans during a rebellion of Celtic horse tribes, and so a man who is only brought to Pompeii to fight as a Gladiator and Cassia, who is the daughter of the ruler of the city, and so is highborn. Thus – we are unable to get a fair representation of day to day life. That’s only if you want to be really picky about the film. The problem with this film, as many other disaster movies, is that as soon as things start to turn nasty, its just so convenient how a huge tidal wave manages to miss half the city, or how a rock shot from the volcano lands a perfect shot on a particular boat, or how characters don’t die when a whole freaking building calapses on them. I get that these are supposed to be the protagonists that we are rooting for, but it gets tiring to watch them survive after a while, however morbid that sounds. Maybe its because I don’t get disaster movies. Perhaps its why I like Final Destination because of the ridiculous situations the characters get in that leads to their bloody death. I’m not blood thirsty, I promise…
This film is basically Jon Snow porn, for those of you who are family of Kit Harington’s role as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones. He is absolutely stunning. He fits the role of a gladiator perfectly. However, I have to admit, no matter how beautiful his face is, his acting just isn’t up to scratch. I’m kind of used to him looking like a stroppy team half the time in GOT considering his characters woes, but I’m starting to think that its the only facial expression that he has. Though, in this film, he does have just cause to look like this, so it does fit. I’m just afraid that he will get type-cast as these kinds of characters all the time. Plus, it’s kinda boring after a while. I’d love to see Kit crack a smile, it would surely make angels weep.
There was a LOT of fight scenes in these movie. And definitely more than was necessary. The first time that I came out of this, I couldn’t stop thinking that all of the fight scenes, which I may add was whilst a huge bloody volcano was erupting about to kill everything in its path, reminded me of Peter Griffin and the Chicken fights in Family Guy and it made me giggle. Like I say briefly, it’s like all of the characters care so much more about reeking revenge as opposed to getting the hell out of a city that is about to encased in lava. The fight scenes that did make sense though, meaning those in the gladiator arena, were fairly good though. Harington is in good shape and carries the moves well, as does his counter-part Atticus, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. Though this doesn’t help this blood thirsty persona I seemed to have built up over this review, I do think that the film could do with a little more blood, or at least much less cartoony blood. There were points where the swords looked like they had literally just been dipped in red paint, it looked ridiculous.
A technical point, now. It was incredibly frustrating to sit through a film where there were slo-mo shots, half of them being really well executed, smooth, and obviously shot with the intention of them being slow motion, i.e. at a higher frame rate. But then there were times where it just seemed like the editor thought a particular shot would look better in slow motion and it ended up being jittery, and amateur looking. I would understand a little more if all of the slo-mo shots in the film looked like this, but the fact that there were some really beautiful looking shots filmed for slow-motion, it just didn’t make sense as to why they would have shot all of them like this.
This film was probably quite enjoyable for some, and on the first watching didn’t seem to bad. But the second time, which isn’t always overkill despite popular opinion, it was kind of embarrassing to sit through considering that I had admitted to thinking ‘it wasn’t that bad’. To me, it’s just a gladiator movie disguised as a disaster movie, and will serve to educate no-one about the events of Pompeii really.