Sunday, November 29, 2015

Movie Review: Pompeii (2014)

TriStar Pictures, FilmDistrict, Constantin Film International, Impact Pictures Pompeii, Don Carmody Productions, Canada, Germany, USA, 2014. 
Pompeii (2014) title
In Northern Britannia 62 A.D. Celtic tribes are rebelling. Roman legionnaires led by Tribune Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland, from "24") and officer Proculus (Sasha Roiz, from "Grimm") kill young Milo's (Dylan Schombing) family. Milo is sold as slave and he is sent to gladiator training. 
Kit Harington
Sasha Roiz and Kiefer Sutherland
Proculus and Corvus
In 79 A.D. Milo (Kit Harington, from "Game of Thrones") is a popular fighter and he is sent to Pompeii. On the way there he makes an impression to Roman noblewoman Cassia (Emily Browning). In Pompeii Milo becomes the eyesore of fellow gladiators. However he gains some respect from champion Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje from "Oz") who has only one fight left to win his freedom.
Cassia and Ariadne (Jessica Lucas)
Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje
Corvus who is now Senator arrives to Pompeii. Cassia's father (Jared Harris) plans to get his funding to improve the infrastructure of the city. Naughty Corvus plans to marry Cassia. In the arena Milo and Atticus must fight for their lives. As Cassia is in love with Milo, Corvus makes Milo to fight against impossible odds.
Milo and Atticus must fight for their lives
The choir
When Vesuvius erupts all the best-laid plans of mice and men go awry as the pyroclastic flow does not care who is good or evil. As the disaster movie formula goes the first half is about introducing the characters and their motives and the second half is all about the disaster.
Pompeii before...
...and after.
I wonder how much of the movie were leftovers from the project that was cancelled in 2007. Roman Polanski was supposed to direct film adaptation of Robert Harris' novel "Pompeii." In April 2011 Ridley Scott was producing mini-series and first news about Paul W.S. Anderson's film version were announced May 2011. It smells like the fate of Jodorowsky's "Dune" here. 

Although the plots are different (in the book Roman engineer comes to take care of aqueduct, exposes corruption of a Roman land speculator and tries to escape with the daughter of the mentioned land speculator) there are couple of similarities. In the book engineer named Marcus Attilius Primus had a scornful boss named Corax (combined with movie's Corvus that means raven). In the book land speculator's daughter is unwillingly engaged to one of the city's magistrates and the hero must save her from the villa before it is destroyed. 

The movie is a mix of peplum adventure and disaster film, kind of "Gladiator" and "Titanic" combined. Although the story is basically of a Hollywood popcorn flick, it still has guts to avoid syrupy happy Hollywood ending. The depiction of the architecture of Pompeii (although not necessary of Roman society) and the volcanic eruption have been praised for accuracy (except for lava bombs and tidal waves). As a disaster film it is spectacular, just don't expect any groundbreaking or original plot.

The characters are quite typical, but interesting enough to care about their fates. Still much was left on the cutting room floor, some DVD/Blu-ray releases contain over 20 minutes of deleted scenes which are missing from the bareboned Scandinavian DVD. Kiefer Sutherland is the sneeringly evil villain and Kit Harington and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje the brave heroes. Carrie-Anne Moss has a small role as Cassia's mother. 

Rating: Good

Starring: Kit Harington, Carrie-Anne Moss, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Joe Pingue, Kiefer Sutherland, Currie Graham, Dylan Schombing, Maxime Savaria, Ron Kennell, Tom Bishop Sr., Rebecca Eady, Sasha Roiz, Jean-Francois Lachapelle, Jean Frenette, Dalmar Abuzeid, Emmanuel Kabongo, Brock Johnson, Kristina Nicoll, Janine Theriault, Mark Whelan, Anaïs Frenette, Donna Christo, Thomas Stumpo 
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson


  1. Kovasti nuoro kuoronaamarit näyttävät samanlaisilta kuin Zardozin kivipää (ja metsästäjien naamiot). Pohjautunevatko samaan lähteeseen, vai olisiko tässä viittaus Zardoziin?

    1. No kas, niinpäs näyttävätkin. Kreikan ja Rooman teatterinaamareista ja veistoksista kummatkin ovat innoituksensa saaneet. Jos en väärin muista niin Särkänniemessä tai Linnanmäellä oli joskus samanhenkinen ennustusautomaatti jonka suuhun piti työntää käsi.

      Joku oli löytänyt Zardoz-kivipään kaksoisolennon elokuvasta "Ulysses Against Hercules" (1962) (Luulen että se on sama kuin Mill Creekin Warriors boksin "Ulysses Against the Son of Hercules", näitäkin pitäisi taas katsoa joskus)


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