Pompeii Movie Review
Kidzworld reviews the combo love story, sword and sandal epic and disaster film that is Pompeii. Would you survive?
By: Lynn Barker
She’s a rich girl with an evil older guy after her bigtime. He is a slave turned gladiator seeking revenge for the murder of his parents. They’re in love. Bad situation, right? Oh yeah, and the giant mountain above them is about to blow up and fry their whole world…and you thought your relationships were complicated.
In ancient Britannia, tiny Milo (later “Game of Thrones” hotster Kit Harington) watches evil Roman General Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) slaughter his parents and his whole Celtic tribe. Milo alone escapes and lives in the woods but is captured by slave traders and, as he gets older, is turned into a gladiator to fight to the death for the pleasure of Romans.
Called “The Celt”, now young-adult Milo is a big winner in the gladiator games and gains public popularity. Noticed as an up-and-comer, Milo is sold in Londinium (later to become London) to a gladiator owner to fight in Pompeii. On the way, when he is able to gently put her crippled horse out of its misery, he wins the heart of passing rich girl Cassia (Emily Browning) on her way home from Rome to Pompeii, and mutual, forbidden sparks fly.
On returning home from Rome, Cassia learns that her ambitious parents (Jared Harris and Carrie-Anne Moss) want to marry her off and looking good to them, for greed and political reasons, is a new Senator visiting from Rome, no less than the Celt-killer Corvus! Dad is hoping the Roman bigshot will invest in his scheme to improve Pompeii, making it a tourist haven a la our current “Vegas”. Cassia explains that Corvus was after her in Rome and that’s a big reason she left!
As small-ish earthquakes rumble through the area, Milo rumbles with and reluctantly befriends local champion older gladiator Atticus (“Lost’s” Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who saves him from getting backstabbed by a jealous gladiator. When both Milo and Atticus are brought to Cassia’s villa for a party (in case rich women want to “party” with them), a bad quake hits, Cassia’s horse freaks and horseman Milo calms him down. He and Cassia go for a forbidden ride but Milo takes the blame and is punished.
Promises and Battles
In order to save Milo from the wrath of Corvus, Cassia has to promise to marry him. It later becomes clear that if she doesn’t, he will both disgrace and kill her and her parents. Despite Corvus’ scheming efforts, Milo continues to win in the games and make Pompeii proud. During a huge arena fight in which Atticus, Milo and other gladiators are ambushed by Corvus’s troops, Mount Vesuvius blows! A huge earthquake tears down the arena killing many. Corvus has already locked rebellious Cassia into a room in her villa.
The Final Big Bang
After discovering where Cassia is, Milo fights through giant fiery boulders, smoke and ash to free her. Corvus gives up and runs for the harbor where his ship awaits and Atticus battles with Corvus’ second-in-command. As their world explodes around them, will Cassia and Milo escape? Will there be more trouble from Corvus before the volcano destroys everything?
Borrowing from Titanic and a lot of other epics, Pompeii features a rich girl/poor boy love story with a mean guy would-be lover in the way all while the world falls apart… but it looks good! The filmmakers spent lots of time and research re-creating ancient Pompeii and getting as many facts straight as possible. In 3D, the destruction is an eye-full. Also eye candy is hunky, super-abs Kit Harington and Emily Browning makes a gorgeous love object…but one with some spunk and fire as well.
Supporting actors, especially Adewale as Atticus, are well-cast. Kiefer Sutherland echoes his own movie past back when he played baddies and the talents of his dad (Donald Sutherland) who plays the evil President Snow in The Hunger Games. Jared Harris and Carrie-Anne Moss make ideal ambitious parents.
Be warned that there is tons of gladiator fight violence andthere are many fiery deaths but the fights are well-choreographed and the volcano deaths are mostly computer-generated as teens are well aware of by now.
If you are up for a PG-13 love story, lots of fight action with a huge, eye-popping destructo ending, go check out Pompeii. It’s a campy, fiery blast! For pure popcorn-munching fun we’d almost go 4 stars but with the corny, predictable story, we settle on 3.
Pompeii Movie Rating:
Pompeii is in theaters February 21st!