Sometimes cool CGI effects and an epic natural disaster are not enough to save a movie from boring audiences. ‘Pompeii’ features Kit Harington from ‘Game of Thrones’ and Emily Browning as star-crossed lovers doomed by more than just their class differences. Milo (Harington) is a young slave turned champion gladiator. He is tragically in love with Cassia (Browning), the young merchant’s daughter who is betrothed to a corrupt senator from Rome. Milo is stuck in an epic coliseum fight to the death when the volcano begins to erupt, and he must battle his way out to save his life and the life of the woman he loves.
Right off the bat, ‘Pompeii’ defines itself one of those period pieces that will wind up in a $5 bargain bin after it’s DVD release. The love story intertwined with the disaster is modeled after ‘Titanic’, but the execution is poor and boring. The inconsistent accents and demeanor taken on by the actors to create an “ancient” vibe make it difficult to take anything seriously. However, the worst part of the ‘Pompeii’ is how long it takes for Mt. Vesuvius to erupt. The film spends so much time on a boring and unoriginal plot, leaving only the last half hour for the death and destruction that would have made the movie more exciting. Once the volcano begins erupting, the characters lose all sense of natural human urgency. Instead of fleeing the city as soon as fire and ash start raining in the streets, Milo and the evil senator spend most of their last moments in over the top fight scenes to defend their true love, Cassia. The ending is tragic as expected, but it is hard to feel remorse for the characters when they wasted so much time with petty plot points.
Though it doesn’t make up for the whole movie, ‘Pompeii’ features some great CGI animation and is especially commendable in 3D. It is very apparent where most of the budget was spent, so audiences will definitely have something pretty to look at (and I’m not just talking about Kit Harington).
‘Pompeii’ falls into the tragic category of forgetful February action movies, coming in third at the box office with only $10.3 million. At least we know there won’t be a sequel. This film is rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action, and brief sexual content.