The eruption of Mount Vesuvius that decimated the Roman city Pompeii in 79 A.D. was a fairly predictable event in hindsight; one does not simply build a city alongside of a volcano and expect peace and quiet. Just as predictable as the volcanic catastrophe two millennia ago was the plot and acting of the film version of “Pompeii,” opened Feb. 21.
Directed by Paul S.W. Ander- son, “Pompeii” is visually appealing due to the state-of-the-art 3-D graphics, but the graphics cannot account for the unoriginal plot and over-dramatic acting. This film will have you asking, “Haven’t I seen this before?” as this semi-historical account seems to borrow elements from other Roman-set films such as “Gladiator” and “Ben-Hur.”
“Pompeii” is the story of gladiator and slave Milo, played by Kit Harrington (“Game of Thrones”) who falls in love with Cassia, played by Emily Browning (“Sleeping Beauty”), the beautiful fianc?© of a corrupt Roman senator. Their forbidden love is the oldest story in the book and has been played out so many times, especially in these historic circumstances, it leaves the audience longing for more creative story lines.
The warning rumbles of an upcoming volcanic eruption recur throughout the film, but the warnings are largely ignored, save by a handful of slaves and gladiators. Milo decides he will attempt a daring escape from the city on horseback with Cassia in tow, since at this point he has no choice but to leave or die.
Before he can scoop up Cassia as her knight in shining armor, he must fight his way out of the gladiator’s arena before the mountain is blown to smithereens. Either by death or by escape, Milo and the other gladiators will find their freedom.
It is never easy for Hollywood to do justice to historic events of such magnitude as this volcanic eruption, but the actors and writers were reaching too high in this film.
Brett Montana can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.