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Pompeii (2014) bad movie
USA, 105 min, Rated PG (ON) G (QC)
Reviewed 03/14, © Stephen Bourne, moviequips.ca
www.ofrb.gov.on.ca | www.rcq.gouv.qc.ca

Paul W. S. Anderson - Director
Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler and Michael Robert Johnson - Screenplay
Glen MacPherson - Cinematography


"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." - pompeiimovie.tumblr.com


Kit Harington stars as Milo, a grimacing Celt orphaned by the cruel Roman conquest of Britain and later dragged miles from the bloody bowels of Londinium's gladiatorial arena as an undefeated fighting attraction at Pompeii's Festival of Vulcanalia, in director Paul W. S. Anderson's laughably half-baked Gladiator (2000) meets 2012 (2009) disaster-romance-actioner set against the volcanic eruption of Italy's Mount Vesuvius in 79 AD. Pompeii co-stars Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, and Kiefer Sutherland, as aristocratic Pompeian Celt tease Cassia, strikingly fit veteran gladiator Atticus, and serpentine Roman Senator Quintus Attius Corvus, respectively.

Brit-born Harington is likely best known for his small screen work on HBO's popular Game of Thrones TV series as Jon Snow. Before starring on the big screen in Pompeii, he co-starred in the three-time Genie Awards-nominated Canada-US-France co-pro horror sequel, Silent Hill: Revelation 3D (2012). Movie buffs might also remember Aussie native Emily Browning as precocious teen Violet in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events (2004) and later starring in the adult indie, Sleeping Beauty (2011), and the wildly empty Sucker Punch (2011). As for Pompeii's director, Paul W. S. Anderson is probably best blamed for, uh, known for such guilty pleasure gems as Event Horizon (1997), Resident Evil (2002), AVP: Alien Vs. Predator (2004), and The Three Musketeers (2011). It's safe to say Anderson more-or-less makes enjoyably goofy entertainment.

So, although Pompeii's premise isn't new - one of the earliest movies featuring the famed wrath of Mount Vesuvius, an Italian silent entitled The Last Days of Pompeii (1913), was a fictional romance-turned-disaster - I was more than a little hesitant to see what The Anderson Touch would do with this historically famous natural disaster that killed thousands within hours as cited by ancient Roman aristocrat Pliny the Younger's first-hand written account.

Found approximately 25 kilometres southeast of Naples, below Mount Vesuvius and near the southwest coast of Italy, the ancient port city of Pompeii was reportedly settled as Colonia Veneria Cornelia Pompeii in 6th century BC and later conquered by the Romans in 80 BC. It was apparently developed as a thriving colony resort and trading hub by Pompeii's Roman ruler, Publio Cornelio Silla. In 79 AD, 17 years after that city suffered major earthquake damage, molten rocks, mud and ash exploded from Mount Vesuvius high into the Earth's stratosphere before pummeling an area roughly the size of New York City that included Pompeii, the wealthier city of Herculaneum to the West, and the smaller nearby port resorts of Stabiae and Oplonti. Additionally, a toxic mix of gaseous fumes and lava flows brought instant death and further destruction to Pompeii and Herculaneum, entombing their dead and ruins under 25 metres of volcanic debris until serious excavation began around the mid-18th century. Mount Vesuvius is still considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in Europe, despite not having erupted since 1944, and the archaeological tourist destinations of Pompeii, Herculaneum and Torre Annunziata (aka Oplonti) were designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997.

Still, Pompeii is synonymous with tragic disaster. Much like the Titanic, or Gary Busey. (Read more)

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