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Pompeii Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by on May 20, 2014
Rating: 4 Star Rating

Kidzworld reviews the Blu-ray for a film version of one of the biggest real disasters in the ancient world. Throw in a love story and some baddies and you have epic, eye-popping adventure in Pompeii!

By: Lynn Barker

Milo is a slave/gladiator, a prisoner of the Romans his whole life. Cassia is an aristocrat from Pompeii, the “Vegas’ of the ancient world. Studying in Rome, she returns to Pompeii to escape a sleazy, evil senator on her trail 24/7. On the way home, Milo catches her eye bigtime. Can things get more complicated for these star-crossed lovers? Uh, how about throwing in earthquakes, a tidal wave and a giant volcanic eruption?

Pompeii before the eruptionPompeii before the eruption

Story Goes

In ancient Britannia, tiny Milo (later “Game of Thrones” hunk Kit Harington) watches evil Roman General Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) murder his parents and his whole Celtic tribe. Milo alone escapes but is captured by slave traders and later, turned into a gladiator to fight to the death for the pleasure of Romans. Known as “the Celt” young-adult Milo is a winner and is brought to Londinium (later London) then to Pompeii to fight during a big festival there. On the way, he meets beautiful Cassia (Emily Browning) and sparks fly.

Milo (Kit Harington) sees Cassia (Emily Browning) for the first timeMilo (Kit Harington) sees Cassia (Emily Browning) for the first time

On returning home from Rome, Cassia learns that her dad (Jared Harris) has agreed to marry her off to a big investor in his plans for revamping Pompeii; none other than evil Celt-killing Corvus. Small, then larger earthquakes strike the area and Milo, summoned to attend Cassia’s dad’s party as rich lady bait, is the only one who can calm down Cassia’s earthquake-spooked horse.

Cassia's parents (Jared Harris and Carrie-Anne Moss) discuss Corvus and CassiaCassia's parents (Jared Harris and Carrie-Anne Moss) discuss Corvus and Cassia

Milo and Cassia take a tandem horse ride but Milo takes the blame and is punished. To save his life, Cassia has to agree to marry Corvus who secretly arranges for Milo to be murdered during a gladiator fight. When Mt. Vesuvius decides to start blowing, all bets are off.  Many locals, gladiators and visiting Romans are killed.

Cassia and Milo see the city destroyedCassia and Milo see the city destroyedCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

After discovering where Cassia is, Milo fights through giant fiery airborne boulders, smoke, fire and ash to free her. Corvus gives up and runs for the harbor where his ship awaits. As their world explodes around them, will Cassia and Milo escape? Will there be more trouble from Corvus before the volcano destroys their entire world?

Is this the end for the young couple?Is this the end for the young couple?

Special Features

Since we don’t have 3-D TV capability yet, we watched the Blu-ray and it looks and sounds amazing!

Filmmakers’ Commentary – Director Paul W.D. Anderson and producer Jeremy Bolt give a busy and lively exchange that talks actors, locations, Paul’s early obsession with Roman history and Pompeii and throws in some insider info like, believe it or not, Kit Harington’s abs are real!  He really worked out that hard!  Not boring for a change.

Deleted and Alternate Scenes -  most don’t add anything to the movie but there are some nifty added scenes in which Mom and Dad seek the services of a female soothsayer who is supposed to predict the future for a price. She sees horrible danger and tragedy coming, including a big flock of crows that just falls dead from the air. She tells Dad to tell the people to run for their lives! Kind of neat to see this extra storytelling.

Milo and Senator Corvus fight for their livesMilo and Senator Corvus fight for their lives

There are more details on evil Corvus making back alley deals with Cassia’s dad that are also interesting. You hate the guy even more! There is a hot kissing scene with Milo and Cassia that was omitted.

The Assembly: Cast and Characters -  Director Paul talks casting and chemistry between Emily and Kit. Both actors talk about their characters as does Keifer Sutherland who loved playing a baddie for a change. Carrie-Anne Moss and Jared Harris talk about the story and how awful being in the real Pompeii during this event must have been. Other main actors chime in. Interesting.

The Journey -  Filmmakers talk about the real Pompeii and the research they did for the film. They shot many stills there to base their sets on. We see the props recreated from real murals found on the walls there etc.

The Costume Shop – Continues with Costume Designer Wendy Partridge who copied many costumes from the Pompeii murals and stresses that purple was an expensive dye, thus was “royal” in 79 A.D. Peasants wore natural colors. Costumes were made of silk and brocade etc. The actors talk about how the costumes made them feel etc. Very cool extra!

Milo is ready to fight to the death in the gamesMilo is ready to fight to the death in the games

The Volcanic Eruption – discusses on set effects and magic done in computer. The effects wizards used the writings of eye witnesses to the horrible event and photographed the real Vesuvius, adding 2000 feet to it. That is how much of the mountain was blown away by the eruption. Very worth a watch.

The Gladiators -  This extra discusses fights and stunts.. going for a reality look. We see actors in training. Kit talks about how hard he worked and Keifer talks of his love for riding horses. He did all of his horseback work and also drove a 4 horse-drawn chariot. Neat!

Senator Corvus opens the gladiator gamesSenator Corvus opens the gladiator games

Pompeii: Buried in Time – This is the longest featurette first covering more about the disaster; earthquakes, tidal wave and volcanic eruption. More about citizens being fried so fast they “froze” as they were to be covered by feet of ash for centuries! Pompeii was the resort town of the Roman Empire, the “Vegas” so to speak.

The 2nd half of this extra features the actors on story, characters, why they took and liked their roles etc. Emily says she was jealous of the guys in the movie because she loves doing action and sword work since her feisty role in the movie Sucker Punch and she got no chance in this film. 

More on Production Design, shooting in 3-D etc. (some info is repetitive but worth a watch).

Wrapping Up

As we mentioned in our initial review of the film, Pompeii borrows heavily from Titanic and a lot of other epics. It 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! 

Mt. Vesuvius blows!Mt. Vesuvius blows!Courtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

This Blu-ray looks and sounds great on your home system and the destruction is epic even without 3-D. Kit and Emily are convincing love birds and both look great. Can’t beat Kit’s mega-abs!  The rest of the cast is really great as well.

There are bloody but well-choreographed gladiator fights but you’ve seen that before. The destruction effects are all pretty awesome.

Cassia fears that Corvus has followed her homeCassia fears that Corvus has followed her home

The Blu-ray extras are all informative if not anything “new”. I liked the history info on Pompeii and the costume extra a lot. Actors had plenty to say. Could have used more coverage actually on set behind the scenes, and certainly a blooper reel would have been fun and would have lightened things up.

If you caught the film in theaters and wanted more, this Blu-ray is for you. If you didn’t see the movie, it holds up very well on the TV screen at home and is worth a popcorn-munching evening at home. With the extras provided, we are willing to go 4 stars.

Pompeii Blu-ray Rating: 4

Pompeii Blu-ray CoverPompeii Blu-ray CoverCourtesy of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

Pompeii is now available on Blu-ray + DVD!