Disastrous doesn’t begin to cover it | Cyn’s Movie Review of Pompeii (2014 Film)

By: Cynthia Ayala


Directed by: Paul W. S. Anderson

Screenplay by: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler & Michael Robert Johnson

Starring: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Sasha Roiz & Kiefer Sutherland

Genre: Action, Drama

Set in 79 A.D., ‘Pompeii’ tells the epic story of Milo (Kit Harington), 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.

Here you have a great concept: a fictional story about the jewel of the Roman empire, Pompeii, on it’s final day of life before it was destroyed by Mt. Vesuvius. This movie is supposed to be a historical, however fictional, to pose a what if question about what could have happened during the last night of Pompeii, and historical inaccuracies aside, it failed.

This movie had absolutely no story, which could be excused if it was at least told well.  The only constant within the movie that is the only thing holding it together is the fact that Vesuvius is awake and not very happy, making the only saving graces of the film the actors and the special effects.

See, there are movies out there with horrible stories that people find enjoyable due to the fact that the story is, at the very least, told well.  Now, the people who developed the story behind this movie (Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler & Michael Robert Johnson), failed to not only make a cohesive story but also failed in the way the story was told.  The only real context this movie has is that the volcano is acting funny, causing strange circumstances around the city of Pompeii.  But all the other stories within the rest of the film are half developed.  Take for instance that at first Cassia is wondering why her horse has returned without her servant who rode him, but then nothing is else is heard about that.  Then there is the story that something happened in Rome, except viewers never learn what, then there is Attitcus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who lost his family, another blurb the movie, followed by the love story that is additionally underdeveloped.  In a 98 minute movie, the writers were trying far too hard to create an amazing movie, combining action with a love story, making everything they threw into the fill underdeveloped and a blurb within the film.

It was a sadly put together combination of Gladiator and Titantic.  You have this amazing cast of actors who know who to make themselves shine and bring their characters to life, except they were given the most lackluster story that had a good script because the film itself had no actual content.  Had the cast been lesser, the movie would have been a complete disaster, the only saving grace being the special effects.

But because the actors and special effects were so phenomenal, along with good directing and a decent script, this movie is enjoyable to watch.  If it only had a story, it really could have been something great.  ★★☆☆ (C)

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