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Pop-Break Film Review: Pompeii

Originally posted here (Feb. 22, 2014): 

Move over Jack and Rose, Milo and Cassia are the new couple of tragic love stories. A gladiator (Kit Harington of Game of Thrones fame) falls for the daughter (played by Emily Browning – Sucker Punch) of Pompeii’s richest merchant who saves him from death, but the daughter, Cassia, is forced to marry Roman senator Corvus (Keifer Sutherland – 24) to prevent a Roman invasion. Milo battles Roman forces in the midst of Mount Vesuvius’ reign of terror to save his love and savior.
Milo and Cassia’s love story is nothing new. A good-looking peasant impresses an upper class young woman with his caring nature and might, they fall in love,but then there’s a wealthy obsessive man who wants Cassia all to himself so he sets out to kill Milo. Their love “triangle” gets taken up a notch when a natural disaster enters the game.
Pompeii isn’t an ideal romance movie with the end of an entire city being the inevitable finale, but its visuals leading to that legendary point keeps the film action packed and provides a nice break from the sappy cliche drama in the forefront. Watching a the city ignore the earthquake warning signs was like watching someone walk into the dark scenery of a thriller, it leaves you wanting to warn the people to run!
I enjoyed the computer generated effects far better than the drama. Director Paul W.S. Anderson is known for having great imagery in his previous films like Resident Evil (2002 and 2010), Death Race and Alien vs. Predator (2004). The drama could have been deeper had the film explored Pompeii’s culture more and not just alluded to it. We saw blood and guts in the fighting den with the slaves/gladiators and a groping old lady, but then the rest of Pompeii was as modest as can be.
Pompeii has a nice love story and the CG imagery of Mount Vesuvius’ as angry gods is really spectacular. But I wish the drama and the history had more richness to match it. It had the ingredients to be just a good as Titanic, but it needed a better recipe.

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