I'm a freelance writer living and studying in Sydney
Published February 25th 2014
2 out of 5 stars
When I saw the trailer for Paul Anderson's disaster-adventure film, Pompeii, I was sufficiently excited. The action scenes looked great and the cast were certainly desirable: who doesn't love Kit Harrington (Game of Thrones) and Emily Browning (Magic Magic)? But when I saw the film I have to say I was a little disappointed.
Pompeii is like a mash up of Gladiator, Titanic and 2012. And the problem lies in the fact that it tries to be all three instead of focussing on being just one. The majority of the film is the classic 'rich-girl-poor-boy' love story; a plot so done to death it is practically a sub-genre of romance literature. This is then coupled with a Gladiator-esque plot that leaves a consistent feeling of deja-vu. The film was, on the whole, quite clichéd.
The apocalyptic end-of-the-world section of the film (roughly the last twenty or so minutes) was the part I had been waiting for but, sadly, it was still overpowered by the love story and gladiator struggle going on amidst the rubble and catastrophe. Even the end of the film was dissatisfying in its predictability. The eruption of Mount Vesuvius was subtly present throughout the film but not paid enough attention. It was so overpowered by the gladiator romance that sufficient build-up was not obtained. It was almost as if the plot did not truly accommodate it...as if it were thrown in as an afterthought for when the love story began to run out of steam.
Pompeii's Kit Harrington and Emily Browning
The script was far too rigid for the actors in that there was not enough flexibility to build upon their characters. They were predictable and spoke in clichés to which no one could relate. During the screening people were actually laughing in the middle of serious scenes because the lines were so unnatural. This is always a bad sign. The serious scenes are meant to convey meaning not humour.
Yes, Pompeii is a violent action film people might enjoy without having to think too hard about it. But if you are like me and enjoy a bit of substance in your plot you might find yourselves walking away empty-handed. Keep this as your guilty pleasure for a mindless night of action-adventure-romance.