The first thing to say is that if you like a moderately okay action film then go see Pompeii. Now for the ‘however’ part.
This is partially a spoiler so don’t read on if you want to remain oblivious to certain points before seeing the film.
The film has no specific connection with previous Pompeii films, such as The Last Days of Pompeii – which has been remade more than once. So don’t expect a particularly solid plot. The male lead, Milo (Kit Harrington), has a background story of Conan the Barbarian mashed with Gladiator. Yes, it’s partially a revenge story. Like Gladiator, Milo has an African gladiator friend Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) and they support each other and fight side by side. The female lead, Cassia (Emily Browning), is caught up in a ‘the bad guy wants to marry her’ plot that has been used in thousands of previous films – and this one doesn’t fail to use the majority of clichéd moments associated with such a plot device. As to Vesuvius, the build up to the disaster is slightly along the lines a la Dante’s Peak.
If all that doesn’t seem very promising then consider that the review ratings for the film given on sites such as Rotten Tomatoes and IMDB are not exactly positive.
What the film boils down to is moments of action in spectacular 3D. This is not the first film recently in which grand visuals appear to have been given more thought than plot and dialogue. It’s a shame really considering that talented actors have been cast in these films and if they were given decent dialogue and a more substantial (and less clichéd) plot, then that alone would have made these films far better than any 3D action scenes.
I’m not against 3D films, I’m all for them – but a balance has to be struck in making them. Filmmakers appear to making the same mistake that was during the previous incarnations of 3D films. They’re concentrating on the novelty of 3D to the point of neglecting the quality of storytelling in a film.
If they would put as much money into the script as they do the special effects…