FilmReview

Review: "Pompeii" is a Mediocre Blockbuster with Little Emotional Depth

Bridget Morawski ’16 / Emertainment Monthly Staff Writer

Kit Harington and Emily Browning in Pompeii. Photo Credit: Caitlin Cronenberg/Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc.
Kit Harington and Emily Browning in Pompeii. Photo Credit: Caitlin Cronenberg/Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc.

Director W.S. Anderson’s latest project, Pompeii, is a well-intentioned attempt to bring an element of romance to a historical-disaster movie. There’s love, there’s violence, there’s history, there’s culture; there’s simply too much that isn’t thoroughly explored.

The movie begins with a young Milo (Kit Harington) as he awakens in the night to the chaos of a Roman invasion in his Britannic horse tribe camp. His parents and entire village are slaughtered violently, though Milo escapes death. He is soon captured by slave traders.

Flash forward to Milo’s adulthood, where he is being passed around as a star gladiator until he eventually finds himself in Pompeii. He catches the eye of Lady Cassia (Emily Browning), and they immediately become smitten with one another from afar.

The love affair between the slave and the royal struggles to remain coy and mysterious as intended. It doesn’t deliver in terms of developing a true romantic or sexual relationship between the two. The pair refrain from kissing until their last moments on Earth, but that final moment wasn’t as gratifying as it was relieving. Finally! It’s over! We can go home!

Adewele Akinnouye-Agbaje and Kit Harington in Pompeii. Photo Credit: George Kraychyk/Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc.
Adewele Akinnouye-Agbaje and Kit Harington in Pompeii. Photo Credit: George Kraychyk/Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc.

The main characters themselves are as lacking in development as their relationship is. All characters remain static in their ways. Their personalities are flat. There’s no courage or cowardice behind Milo’s swings; he appears to simply be moving from one scene to another without any feeling.

This emotional depth is lacking throughout the entirety of the film. Few main characters express any sort of internal capacity for it, and a grand total of zero relationships are fully explored. In the short 105 minutes, there was little time to meander around developing real relationships between any of the characters. Yet this precious amount of time could have been better devoted to character development and building a real rapport between the headlining actors, instead of the B-grade, gratuitously violent fight scenes and unnecessary lesser characters.

Possibly the greatest compliment that can truthfully be paid to Pompeii is the fantastic implementation of 3D effects. It is common for 3D technology to distract audiences rather than enhance the viewing experience. Pompeii‘s usage was actually delicately used to complement each scene.

Generally, this movie wasn’t terrible. Pompeii wasn’t poor, but it wasn’t great. It won’t be on the top of any “must watch” lists, and it won’t earn much by way of critical acclaim.

Overall Grade: D

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