Sunday, May 18, 2014




We have seen few movies based on and inspired by true historical disasters before. Among them Titanic and The Impossible had successfully captured love, horror, greediness, and fear of those moments that we almost felt we were living in the middle of the disaster in those few hours of journey through those movies. Jack and Rose still live in the depth of our hearts, and the Henry family who survived from the Tsunami still gives tears to our eyes. After watching all those disaster movies, could Milo and Cassia be able to imprint their love in our heart? Could Pompeii be able to give the horror and the glimpse of the real disaster of the eruption of Vesuvius?

Pompeii starts with a scene of Romans murdering a whole tribe of Celtic horsemen, and the only survivor of this massacre is a little boy named Milo. Later this little boy, Milo, becomes a slave and end up in Pompeii to fight with gladiators. On his way to Pompeii he meets Cassia, the daughter of the Pompeii’s ruler, and they both fall in love with each other at first sight. A corrupted Roman senate, Corvus who is responsible for the death of Milo’s tribe, forces Cassia to be his wife. In the middle of all these dramas there is a life-or-death battle and eruption of a great volcano.

The script is neither surprising nor appealing. The two parallel stories of love and gladiator battles are a stereotype of any other gladiator or ancient Roman movies. The love story, rich-girl-loves-poor-boy, is cliché and there is no time to build a relationship between Milo and Cassia. The love story lacks the strong depth feelings, dialogs and characteristics of tragic love story. Instead the movie has given more time to build a relationship between two gladiators, Milo and Atticus. That relationship is somewhat interesting thanks to the character of Atticus.

There are so many mistakes, plus inaccurate data in this movie. The rain of lava bombs which destroyed almost all the city when the volcano exploded is like a meteor shower. The effect is a bit tempting though it’s not how it happened. There were no lava bombs when the Vesuvius erupted but an ash and pumice rain and it was very hard to breath because of the air was thick with ash. But the Pompeii has not captured how hard people tried to survive through this rain of ash and how they escaped from the city. Instead, it gives you nice visual effects of a volcano explosion with lava bombs. Also there was no evidence for a massive tsunami which brought ships into the city, the arena wasn’t destroyed during the eruption, there were no cracking grounds in the middle of the Pompeii city, and list goes on. There were so many inaccuracies in this movie, but it captured the ancient Pompeii city, buildings, costumes, and the culture fairly impressively though I doubt women in this ancient time wore slits up dresses. After all this is not a documentary about Pompeii, this is a historical fiction with good visual effects.

That being said, the acting is just good enough but not impressive. There are no memorable lines except for the repeated lines of previous movies of this genre. But the cinematography is really good. The Pompeii city which has buried nearly for 2000 years was pretty much alive with a magnificent view. The graphics and visual effects of the volcano and the disaster are excellent but not realistically visualized.

So the answer for those two questions I asked early in this post is, NO. Milo and Cassia couldn’t dive into my heart and I didn’t feel the horrific feeling of death through this movie. Pompeii failed in almost every aspect, the writing, acting, characters, and historical aspects. If you are a fan of good visual effects you’d be able to enjoy this film without massive complaints. But if you are a fan of history, especially about Roman history, you might have to switch off your brain if you want at least slightly to enjoy this film. And for the fan of disaster love stories, you’d be disappointed too.

My Rating: 2 out of 5


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