Rated: PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content. Reviewed by: Frank Release date: February 21, 2014 Released by: TriStar Pictures
Pompeii disappoints by following a gladiator from England to Pompeii and spends the vast majority of its time following him fighting in and out of the arena. If Pompeii is to reach what is expected of its understood place in history it must be a disaster film. Director Paul Anderson spends too much time on Milo (Kit Arrington) and the functions of his life rather than the explosive power of Mount Vesuvius.
To its credit the settings are close enough to the real lay of the land to look real to those who have seen Pompeii. The time spent preparing the population for the big blast is withered away in a soap opera battle between Kiefer Sutherland who brings bad news from Rome who kills Milo's family in the early scenes and with perfect timing shows up in the destructive stages of Pompeii just as Milo hits the gladiator circuit in the city. More than that Cassia (Emily Browning) falls in love withe lowly Milo and Sutherland's Corvus wants her for his wife.
To get all that extra stuff in along with many sword, spear and arrow battles we are never exposed to the life of the folks that lived in the city, it's how they survive or die in the great explosion of black dust. That could have been interesting both visually and emotionally. Following just a few characters in an over the top romance and power grab rob us of the factor of caring for the people of Pompeii.
Early on and in the last scenes we see the dust clogged preserved bodies of the citizens in what was a very well organized and technically functioning city in its time. But that is not enough to bring us into the emotion and crushing effect of the volcano delivered to the people living in the city. That is what we expect in a disaster film and here we do not.
The 3D is OK but not necessary.