Entertaining But Somewhat Sappy
Release Date: February 21, 2014
Audience: Teenagers and adults
Runtime: 102 minutes
Distributor: TriStar Pictures/Sony Pictures Entertainment
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Executive Producer: Peter Schlessel
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Under Roman rule, the very young Milo saw his entire family and village slaughtered by soldiers. Pretending to be dead himself, Milo barely makes it out alive, but he’s subsequently captured by slave traders. Years pass and Milo becomes a valiant slave gladiator. Eventually, he distinguishes himself enough so that he’s transferred to fight in the arena at Pompeii.
Pompeii is a smaller Roman city resting between Mount Vesuvius and the harbor that’s largely controlled by the prominent and wealthy Lucretius (Jared Harris) and his wife, Aurelia. Lucretius plans to turn Pompeii into a great city. He invites Senator Corvis (Kiefer Sutherland) to Pompeii so that he might convince him to invest in his business ventures, but Corvis has his eyes on a bigger prize, Lucretius’s daughter, Cassia.
The smart and kind Cassia, who shared a few stolen glances with the slave Milo, refuses Corvis’s proposal. Later that night, Cassia and the slave Milo ride a horse to the hills. Cassia offers him the opportunity to escape his captors, but Milo decides that would be too dangerous for Cassia, and they return. Cassia is able to save Milo from being punished by death for their ride, but he’s stilled condemned to be beaten.
The next day, the gladiatorial games begins. With the “games” set against Milo and his fellow gladiator competitor Bridgageous, survival seems unlikely, especially since Senator Corvis wants Milo’s head for his rebelliousness. Little do they realize that the real danger lies in the active volcano behind them. When Mount Vesuvius erupts, a dash for survival begins. Milo must save Cassia from Corvis and the impending doom from the mountain.
POMPEII is wildly entertaining and has stellar visual effects. For the most part, the story holds strong and builds tension, but for a disaster movie, it lacks the eeriness of a much better movie, DANTE’S PEAK. While entertaining, the movie’s ending is so disappointing, so cliché, and utterly pointless, all romantics will likely hate the movie. For those who go for pure visual spectacle, however, you’re in for a treat.
Not surprisingly, Romanticism plagues the story of POMPEII and false religious paganism is present in the characters lives. There are some strong moral elements though. For example, several characters sacrificing themselves for the safety of others even though death is nearly guaranteed. Also, the Roman Empire is seen as debauched, cruel, and tyrannical.
In conclusion, the entertaining, yet flawed POMPEI warrants a strong caution due to its mixed worldview content and strong action violence.
POMPEII is wildly entertaining and has stellar visual effects. However, the ending is a bit disappointing and clichéd. Not surprisingly, Romanticism plagues the movie’s story, and false religious paganism is present in the characters lives. There are some strong moral elements, however. For example, several characters sacrifice themselves for the safety of others even though death is nearly guaranteed. Also, the Roman Empire is seen as debauched, cruel, and tyrannical. The entertaining, yet flawed, POMPEI warrants strong caution due to its mixed worldview and heavy action violence.