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Movie Breakdown: Pompeii (Noah)

February 21, 2014

Film

People are doing traditional-style reviews all over the web, so we decided to try something different.  In each “breakdown” we’ll take a look at what a film’s marketing lead us to believe, how the movie actually played, and then what we learned from it all.  Read on!

The Impression:

It’s the middle of February, the final twilight before the “Road to Summer Blockbusters” kicks off, and a film by Paul WS Anderson about a love affair amongst the devastation of Pompeii seems pretty ripe to be well, awful.

The Reality:

I can’t honestly say if Paul WS Anderson is intentionally trying to make b-movies. I don’t know if the man has the knowledge or capability as a filmmaker to actually shoot to pay homage to any film that has ever come before it (though Pompeii certainly swipes more than a few scenes from some of the bigger, more A-List blockbusters of the last 20 years). And I don’t know if Paul WS Anderson is intending for his films to be the future fodder of stoners and b-movie cinephiles, but let’s be extremely frank, they will be. And as is the way with b-movies some are outstanding because they’re good, some are outstanding because they’re bad and some are just terrible. If you see Pompeii as a b-movie (which it certainly is), this is a pretty good flick. A Celtic slave and a Roman, uh, rich person, fall in love in Pompeii just days before the volcano explodes and sends 180 degree ash clouds over everything and everyone. Things get complicated. Kiefer Sutherland shows up as a pervy Senator who just wants to kill and fuck. Jared Harris and Carrie Anne-Moss show up as well as nervous parents trying to secure a future for the town. Things explode, there’s some sweet, if not horribly shoot, gladitorial action and a lot of horses jumping over things. This is not a good movie, at all, but it’s fun in the worst kind of way. Sure, Kit Harrington and Emily Browning have about as much acting chops and chemistry as a pile of Roman horse dung, and sure the movie looks like it was entirely filmed in one hallway, and the computer graphics are sub-par video game quality, but regardless if you’re coming to see this film because you want high art, well, you’ve got bigger problems. Instead, why don’t you wait two or three months, pack your portable vaporizer with a frosty nug (I just learned that word from Snoop Dogg’s Instagram) and then watch this movie at 3:30 in the morning when you’ve got nothing better to do. Then you’ll like it, I promise.

The Lesson:

A film that combines Titanic, Gladiator, and Dante’s Peak is actually better then it sounds.

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