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2014-02-21 08:59
What it's about:

Set in 79 A.D., this action thriller tells the epic story of Milo (Kit Harrington), a slave turned invincible gladiator who finds himself in a race against time to save his true love Cassia (Emily Browning), the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been unwillingly betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator.

As Mount Vesuvius erupts in a torrent of blazing lava, Milo must fight his way out of the arena in order to save his beloved as the once magnificent Pompeii crumbles around him.

What we thought:

Forget about watching this movie for its story-line or likeable lead characters. What you really want to see is Pompeii’s real leading man – Mount Vesuvius. Unlike superhero and sci-fi movies, who over-saturate themselves with CGI that you wonder if anything is real, the complete Hollywoodisation of one of history’s most devastating natural disasters is a feast for the eyes. A red, fiery, molten lava feast.

Up until the city’s impending doom, you’re kinda stuck with a Gladiator meets Hidalgo meets Twilight story line – without the vampires.  Slave seeks revenge for the murder of his family as a boy, becomes a god gladiator, falls in love with a rich man’s daughter, then fights for revenge and love. All while ol’ Mount Vesuvius gives off a few rumblings and no one seems to care about the BIG MASSIVE CRACKS that start forming. But this really happened though, so how did people not see the signs?

Besides historical accuracy, the cast didn’t seem that sold on the story line and it shows through their acting. Kit Harrington is pretty much the same as his brooding Jon Snow persona on Game of Thrones (but a damn fine man) and Emily Browning is just okay. Kiefer Sutherland, who plays the bad guy, was the only one who seemed to be enjoying it, loving it while the evil Roman whose attentions towards Browning’s character seems almost paedophilic.

But just before you get too bored, something amazing happens. The volcano erupts. And in 3D it just destroys everything, including your senses. In some parts I actually felt like I was in the city, fleeing futilely from the ash and spewing rock and other awesomeness. At one point you’re rooting for the volcano, although you do find yourself also rooting for the lovers to make it out.

And I’m very happy they did the ending they did. Anything else and all the magic put into the eruption would have fizzled out and given you a bleh ending. Volcanoes aren’t bleh, and movies about them shouldn’t be either. Of all the other ones out there, this is definitely top of the volcano films. Dante’s Peak looks like a chilled braai in comparison.

I guess Pompeii has a bit of drama and romance for the more faint at heart -  and then lots of gladiator kill moves and spewing lava for the violent at heart. But what did you expect from the guy who directed Death Race, many Resident Evil movies and Alien vs. Predator? 

A serving of an awesome volcano eruption with a story of revenge, freedom and love on the side.
Read more on:    pompeii  |  movies

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