Friday, February 21, 2014
Pompeii (PG-13/98 Min.)
Since I already knew the basic story of what happened to Pompeii, I didn’t bother with any of the trailers for the movie. Well, that and I try to avoid trailers at all costs because they just give too much away. I am so glad I didn’t see any. I think the anticipation made it that much better.
Pompeii is the story of Milo, a gladiator who is dragged to the city of Pompeii to provide entertainment in the arena for the masses. Along the way, he befriends, and grows quite fond of, a wealthy merchant’s daughter (Cassia) who has just returned home from Rome. Unbeknownst to them and anyone else in the town, Mt. Vesuvius has chosen to erupt soon. Bad timing all around.
I’ve decided that Pompeii is Gladiator meets Dante’s Peak meets The Perfect Storm meets most Disney movies. I could explain but it would give too much away. I liked so many things about this movie; the actors, the story, the scenery. Oh my goodness, the scenery. I loved Pompeii itself, especially the harbor. I would like to give a big shout out to whoever’s job it was to take care of the scenery. Wow! The volcano wasn’t too shabby either. Good job, special effects people. I did find it amusing that some of the disaster caused by the volcano was reacted to with laughter instead of shock. I admit I giggled too when a couple of people were bonked on the noggin by flying rocks. It was just so unexpected, I think.
Kit Harington was our hero, Milo. Poor Milo. He’s had a rough life. His village was massacred when he was a young boy and shortly after he was forced into slavery and then forced to fight. I liked Kit. I really did. The only thing I questioned was his size. He wasn’t that big compared to a few of the men he was pitted against but that didn’t seem to faze him much. He’s quick and that does count for something. Milo knows a bit about friendship and loyalty and it seems if you get those from him, you may count yourself fortunate.
Emily Browning was Cassia. She left Rome early due to unwanted advances and walks right back in to that when she returns to Pompeii. I’m usually pretty good about recognizing actors from their other roles but I’m gonna guess that she did so well here that it never even dawned on me that I’d seen her before. She was the lead in Sucker Punch. Loved that movie! Well, most of it. Anyway, Emily seems led to do movies in which she has a strong character. That holds true in Pompeii. She knows what she wants and what she doesn’t and doesn’t mind voicing her opinion when she is wronged. She is also willing to make sacrifices for her family and friends. This character was a joy to watch.
Carrie-Anne Moss and Jared Harris were Aurelia and Severus, Cassia’s parents. This was a happy family. Not only did they obviously love each other but Severus deferred to Aurelia in several instances. He did so out of respect and not because she was a controlling harridan. He trusted her opinions and acted upon them. When Cassia returned to Pompeii, Severus’ reaction was what any girl would like to receive from her parents.
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje was Atticus, Milo’s foe and then friend. I loved him from almost the first moment I heard him. Despite having to kill men for the entertainment of others and to one day earn his freedom, he is still an honest and good man. He was the veteran fighter but knew when to heed good advice from someone new to the arena. He also brought some of the brief comedy to the movie with his one-liners. I would not mind having a friend like this man.
Finally, the two men I couldn’t stand at all; Kiefer Sutherland as Senator Corvus and Sasha Roiz as Proculus. Oh, Kiefer, you wound me. Where is Athos when you need him? Senator Corvus wasn’t just mean, he was cruel. He delighted in the suffering of others and when he decided he wanted something he didn’t care what it took to get it. What did he want? Cassia. He even went so far as to tell her that once he had her, he’d break her. Well, what’s the point in that? I don’t get people like that. Moving on, Proculus is the Senator’s right hand man. He’s skilled with a sword and just as mean as Corvus. What bothered me most about him, besides the fact that he’s obviously a bad guy, was his arrogance. Romans are the elite race. Anyone else may as well not exist. How’d that work out for you, Proculus?
The break-down for Pompeii is fairly simple. It earned its PG-13 rating based solely on the violence. When you have Gladiators, someone is going to die. This is nowhere near the blood fest that was 300 so it was mainly the deaths themselves that did it. Wine was imbibed but that’s not really a surprise, is it? I don’t think they had many choices back then. I may have missed some but I only recall one cuss word in the entire movie and everyone managed to stay clothed and upright. Other than the killing, it was almost family friendly. And just in case you think this has a lot of romance in it, it doesn’t. So you don’t have to worry about mush ruining your death and destruction.
I recommend Pompeii for anyone who likes gladiator and end of the world type movies. I liked it and wouldn’t mind seeing it again. If you don’t like the killing that goes along with gladiator-type movies then this is not for you. But maybe you could shut your eyes through those parts. Just a suggestion. If you’re looking for a good action-y movie to go see this weekend, give Pompeii a chance.