February 20th, 2014 - 12:03 pm


Photo: Screen Gems


Oh, to have been a fly on the wall at the Screen Gems pitch session when they hatched the idea for Pompeii.

“It’ll be like Gladiator…but with volcanoes!” one producer would enthuse. "It's . . . Gladcanoes!"

“And in 3D!” another would chime in.

Yep, not since SyFy’s Sharknado has a high concept been so, well, high. Pompeii is ridiculous, but at least it knows it’s ridiculous. I mean, it’s got to know it’s ridiculous. . .right?

The gladiator parts are so generic, they might as well have been assembled in a lab:

  1. Bored slave master eating grapes? Check
  2. Studly slave gladiator seeking to avenge the evil Romans who slayed his family? Check
  3. Beautiful noblewoman who loves him? Check
  4. Brave fellow gladiator who goes from enemy to frenemy? Check.

And so on.

Kit Harington, of Game of Thrones fame, plays our hero Milo, complete with CGI-enhanced abs. I love Harington as Jon Snow—he’s a world-class pouter. But let’s just say his range is…limited. Here, he’s less gladiator than boy toy. For those about to die…here’s my Blue Steel.

Kiefer Sutherland is on hand—counting the days until the 24 movie, no doubt—as the dastardly Roman senator Corvus, who wants to marry the beautiful and free-spirited Cassia (Emily Browning.) She’s the one who loves Milo. Meanwhile, as Milo plots his revenge against Corvus and prepares to fight his former foe/new ally Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), things start a-rumblin’ and a-shakin’.

“Did you feel that?” Milo asks.

Oh yes, we did.

Bored grape eating slave owner knows the lava is about to hit the fan—although, like everyone else, he’s thinking less meteorological phenomenon and more “wrath of gods”— and he tries to hightail it out of Pompeii. But it’s too late. Giant tidal waves swallow up the land. Statues crumble. Arenas collapse. Everyone strap on your sandals and run for your lives!!

Here’s my dilemma: I can’t, in good conscience, suggest that you shell out $12 for this silliness. And yet, if you’re going to see Pompeii, you should see it in the movies. Lava coming straight at you is a pretty great use of 3D, all things considered. It also helps to enhance Harington’s painted-on abs.



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