Down Pompeii!

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I love a big Roman Epic and although I didn’t expect Pompeii to be a blockbuster I was looking forward to seeing it. I also find it interesting that so many Game of Thrones actors are involved in some of the latest releases. Pompeii has kit Harrington Aka Jon Snow who although plays a slightly more sensitive fellow in Game of Thrones he plays pretty much the same role in Pompeii. Pompeii is an amazing city, which throughout its history has tried to hold its own identity and separate itself from Rome. The city has a spectacular arena and is in the midst of a giant monster of a volcano. It was estimated that 20,000 people lived there which by today’s standards is relatively small, but the city’s streets were filled with people and Romans treated Pompeii as a holiday retreat. The city had known earthquakes and tremors before, on one occasion it is believed that an earthquake reaching 5-6 on the Richter scale hit the almost dream like city. It is a time in history that interests me with some amazing invention and architecture to blow you away. The Romans were often barbaric, but were an incredible race of people.
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The film starts off with the Roman demolition of the Celts in England where Milo (kit Harrington) sees his parents put to the sword, by the ruthless Roman soldiers. He survives and grows up to be the last Celt and a skilled warrior, which leads him to Pompeii as a gladiator slave. Not a great time to be in the city. The film follows his battles, love, his skill with horses and friendship with the best Gladiator in Pompeii. There are rumblings from the ground for a number of days, but these were just passed off as small tremors. We of course know what is to come and it is mother earth at its most destructive and scariest.
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The Roman Corvus a successful man in battle and soon to be a major investor in Pompeii arrives for the local festival and disjoints a few noses along the way. Severus being one of the unfortunate to cross his path and more unfortunate is the fact that he has a beautiful daughter who had caught Corvus’ eye. Keifer Sutherland an actor I have never really rated plays Corvus, who is disgustingly evil and this really comes through in a very hammy way. He is the pantomime villain, but is still a great deal of fun. It was really a performance for “Up Pompeii” rather than a Roman epic. I think this type of film definitely falls short compared to those of the 50’s and 60’s.
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The city itself is remarkable and I guess it was mainly created by CGI as it is on such a large scale. The amphitheatre is enormous and full of drama and chorus from those wanting blood as entertainment. The aerial shots are brilliant and give you a feel for the size of the city. The effects for the Volcano were amazing and it really felt real as the hot lava bombed down on the city. The large crowds scrambling over everyone to get to safety reminded me of many other tragedies throughout history. This is an ancient Deep Impact or 2012 and the acting is very similar.
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There is of course a love affair, which is created by just one look which brings about a very strong bond. Milo has caught the eye of Severus’ daughter due to his gentle touch with horses. The feelings are not particularly believable and its hard to believe that the strength of their love Is so strong in such a short time. The good thing is that the romance is quite a small part of the story and doesn’t end up too mushy. The friendship between Milo and the champion gladiator Aticus is the best part of the film as are the sword play and fighting scenes which I truly enjoyed. Why did they call him Aticus? You’ll make sense of my question if you see the film.
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It’s not an awful film and there are some good performances, but on the whole Pompeii didn’t get what it deserved. This could have been a real epic with the right storyline and some better performances. Kit has been selected due to his role in Game of Thrones, but he performs far better in the HBO series then in this film. Keiffer Sutherland will not win me over with this performance and this role will in no way outshine Jack Bauer from 24. I think they both would be better off sticking to Tv for the foreseeable future. The film is enjoyable for the drama, the amazing eruption and the great view of the city, but do not expect an epic.
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6/10

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