Okay, i’m starting this now, fresh after seeing the movie so that I can get all my thoughts down while their fresh. Hopefully I have time to go back and rework this before I post. 😉
Saturday night was my 30th Birthday Party, with a group of friends the plan was to go bowling and then out to dinner. Things didn’t work out that way. There was a St. Patty’s day tournament going on, which tied up half of the bowling lanes, causing us to either stay and twiddle our thumbs on the waiting list or try back later. So… Dinner came first, and we returned, an hour and a half later to no greater situation. An hour to an hour and half wait seemed rather long and I did not want my friends to get bored because I did not make a reservation or foresee this obstacle in my path. So, with the movie theatre down the road, I decided we’d go see what’s playing. (Which I have to say wasn’t a lot of good choices). Pompeii was one of two movies on the list I would put my friends through, so Pompeii it was.
Now, before I go into some of the details and issues I had with the movie, I have to tell you that for three years in High School I took Latin, and all of our Latin classes surrounded Pompeii. Now, i’m not expert, but amongst my friends… I could be. To me Pompeii was a chance to see the city whole, to see the lives of the citizens, the streets, the arena before Vesuvius erupted. (okay… seriously… the movie is about the volcano you should all know how it ends!) I have actually been to the remains of Pompeii as well, walked the streets, sat in the arena and even climbed the volcano in question. It was an amazing experience and because of that, the movie did not disappoint.
The scenery, the landscapes, the villas… they were done beautifully. I spent most of my time looking in the background rather than the actors. I wanted to see the city, the everyday lives, which was well done, well researched and fantastic!!!
The story lines… they could have used some work.
Now, I went into the movie completely blind. I knew nothing of the actors, or the plot line (other than the volcano erupting). I was therefore thrilled to see Jon Snow… sorry aka Kit Harington’s name come up. Followed by Carrie Ann Moss and Emily Browning. Not to mention Keiffer Sutherland, who is amazing as always. I was also pretty impressed with the diversity of the actors with Jessica Lucas and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje. (Seriously, Adweale was awesome and was my favourite character in the entire movie!)
The story surrounds Milo a slave turned Gladiator, who races to find and save his ‘true love’ as the volcano erupts. I put ‘true love’ in brackets as… well lets face it he’s only seen the girl twice, and spoken to her once. I’m not sure if ‘true love’ is the correct word for this. Other parts of the story surrounds Milo’s life as a Gladiator, and gaining his revenge towards the Senator (Sutherland) who had killed/murdered his entire family/tribe. To make the Senator even more evil, he is a corrupt politician who has a fixation on the love interest Cassia (Browning) who had left Rome recently to get away from him.
I feel that there were too many story lines in place in this movie, and they were all rushed through to get to the eruption stage of the movie. A basic race against time to escape an erupting volcano would have done well in itself, but they tried to incorporate political corruption, revenge, and love that didn’t all seem to mesh right. Sure the fight scenes were pretty amazing, it’s Gladiators after all! But, if you were going to add the love story, could you have at least done it more believable???
That I think is my biggest pet peeve of the movie. (Along with the thumps up and thumbs down, which they ALWAYS GET WRONG!)
There was a particular scene in the movie that just added to this confusion ‘true love’ subplot. Our hero, and Gladiator Milo is asked to see to a troubled horse at a villa (where the gladiators are being fawned and groped at by ladies of high standards lol). Calming the horse down, there is a brief conversation between Milo and Cassia, which lead them to climb onto the horse and ‘escape the villa’. Okay, sure, I get that, escape to freedom, Cassia’s head over heals for Milo, and you sort of get the feeling he’s attract to her too. But… they stop. They argue over who will say what, who would take the blame to save the other’s ‘reputation’ or life. They are then re-captured.
AHHH!! I don’t get this scene! It could have easily taken this bit out and the story would not have been affected at all!!!! It’s this sort of blind love that drives me up the wall and a reason why I try to avoid writing romance in my own stories. They seem fake, unreal, a plot device all in their own! I mean… if you want these two to be star crossed lovers, put some time into it! Nobody falls in love on the first sight… right? For both be willing to give up their lives for the other without even knowing their names seems downright lazy from the writer’s position. (Sorry guys).
Anyways. Vesuvius erupts (OOOO big surprise!!!) and the disaster part of the movie begins. The destruction scenes after that are amazing. The chaos in the streets, the destruction of the harbour, fire balls, gas clouds, rocks, and ash. I have nothing bad to say about the special effects department, they did a fantastic job on the entire movie.
I won’t give away anything else with the story lines. I’ll let you all make your own opinion on it if you see it. And I would be happy to hear back on your own thoughts. For a historical piece, Pompeii is well crafted and I can see this movie being played in high schools of other Latin classes, but to me at least there is no heart to it. I did not cry, I did not even care about the characters (besides Atticus), there was no time to make an emotional connection to anyone, which is a real shame as I’m sure that could have been achieved. (Maybe they need to have followed the Banker Cacellius instead 😉 )