BULLSEYE OR MISFIRE: Pompeii Reviews
By Drax Largo on February 21st, 2014
Critic Reviews for Pompeii
Narrative has never been Anderson’s strength; the story here is a corny overhaul of James Cameron’s already-corny Titanic.
A mindless but watchable fondue pot of high-calorie visuals and ready-made plotting …
Pompeii, the new historical-kitsch disaster movie, raises the question: Is there something about ancient classical settings that inspires actors to act badly?
It’s a spectacle all right – but mostly just of a lot of people, some of whom should know better, making an utter ash of themselves.
If there were a hint of a sense of play or humor in the filmmaking, beyond a briefly amusing moment of comeuppance for a foppish slaveowner, Pompeii might be a fun February diversion instead of a dull, eye-rolling slog.
One of history’s worst calamity’s becomes a movie mashup of Titanic’s doomed love and Gladiator’s sword-and-sandal arena combat, with an erupting volcano as the central — and most interesting — character.
The visual effects, which only become more important as the film progresses, vary in quality.
There are few other action filmmakers who can bring such enthusiasm to wanton destruction, racking up a massive body count and yet ensuring that the carnage goes down as smoothly as an overly buttered piece of popcorn.
At the risk of sacrificing my critical integrity, I am forced to admit that Pompeii is a blast.
No matter how much lava is afoot, there’s always time to impale one more person with a sword.
Sutherland is the best thing in the film, with his sad eyes and ruthless attitude. He is stuck with clichéd lines, the which he delivers in that glorious, rumbly voice that adds gravitas where it didn’t previously exist.
The movie gives off a vibe as if it were written in reverse. After all, Anderson and his screenwriters had a slam-bang finale. They just didn’t pay much attention to the first three-fourths of the film leading up to the apocalyptic climax.
The closing images-of a self-annihilating, all-consuming passion that will be preserved for centuries-[obliterate] the line between the ridiculous and the sublime.
It’s Titanic meets Gladiator, but not as good as either. If you don’t have time to read the rest of the review, that should do you just fine.
By the time the inevitable eruption occurs, you may be on Team Vesuvius.
More fun than any civilization’s fiery extinction should ever be, Paul W.S. Anderson’s Pompeii 3-D is gloriously exciting kitsch – a poor man’s Titanic crossed with an even poorer man’s Gladiator.
With characters this drippy and dramatics this deadly, you’ll end up rooting for the volcano to win.
It’s all as ridiculous as you’d expect, but the special effects are pretty decent and the sword fights are all moderately exciting, so that counts as a good day at the office for a film like ‘Pompeii.’
The thinking seems to be that when you already know that everyone is going to die at the end it makes it kind of hard to make any plot interesting so why not try them all out and see if any stick.
If you find yourself sucked into a showing of Pompeii, take the sage wisdom of the band Pompeii and just close your eyes. Some ear plugs wouldn’t hurt either.