If you’re hoping for a story of the real people of Pompeii and the tragedy they experienced then think again, awash with pretty bad green screen and a body count higher than a Tarantino movie, Pompeii’s romp around 79 A.D is the latest in this years big budget disaster films. With reservations about the film from the start but a desperate longing for much needed screen time of Kit Harington’s abs, I ventured out regardless and decided to give it a shot.
Milo, or ‘The Celt’ as his Gladiator pals call him, came from a family of horsemen and seen all his people massacred by the Romans as a child. A Slave turned Gladiator with a notorious thirst for vengeance in the arena his winning streak takes him to Pompeii where he meets Cassia (Emily Browning), the daughter of a wealthy merchant. Hearts form in their eyes and Milo gives a brooding look every few minutes of screen time with her. As Mount Vesuvius erupts and sends the entirety of Pompeii into a frenzy, Milo must save Cassia from the crumbling city. It’s a relatively straightforward boy-meets-girl and everyone-hates-the-romans tale mixed in with a lil bit of 2012.
Harington, who has found success as Jon Snow rarely differs from his Game of Thrones character, a lovable rogue with eyes as dark as that cloud of ash looming over the city. His zero to hero tale has been done before, you can practically hear is muffled screams of ‘I WILL AVENGE YOU FATHER!’ ringing through the cinema. Saying that, there is nothing more satisfying than seeing a hero get their just desserts. His chemistry with Cassia is hardly electric but her character overall is much more developed than the rest of the cast. Her transition from pretty little rich girl to defiant intelligent woman is nothing short of inspiring in a genre that would too typically rely on a total damsel in distress trope. Her actions are wise, her statements sure and her hair so perfectly tousled throughout the entire 105 minutes I could weep.
The film also boasts the success of Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje as Atticus, notably the most exciting character on screen. Navigating each scene with the presence of a leading man the gladiator proves himself in not only action scenes but developmental dialogue too.
Similar to March’s 300: Rise of an Empire the action sequences alone are jaw dropping, heart racing affairs but flashy stunts and technical wizardry don’t always support a story lacking in character development, therefore giving you minimal people to root for. The sea of dead bodies evokes nothing in the pit of your stomach like a grand scale disaster romance should.