There’s no better way to say this: “Pompeii” is so bad it buries itself. In fact, complaining about it – at some point – just starts feeling like piling on.
So, just how bad is it? Let’s quickly count the ways.
It’s cheesy. It’s cliché. It’s heavy-handed and obvious. It’s ridiculous. It’s corny. It’s tiresome, belabored, and unbelievable. And in the end, it’s literally laughable.
At the preview screening I attended, the audience let out laughs of derision at the preposterously melodramatic conclusion. This movie is a joke, in all the wrong ways. Not even the extensive computer-generated imagery and special effects can save it.
OK, so, enough with the piling on. Here at least is the story line.
A Celtic tribe far up north is wiped out by a sadistic Roman general played by Keifer Sutherland. The only survivor is a little boy who is enslaved and eventually grows up to be a gladiator played by Game of Throne’s Kit Harrington.
On his way to Pompeii as part of a chain gang of slave gladiators, this hunky Celtic gladiator catches the eye of a beautiful young aristocratic woman who just happens to be fleeing Rome in order to escape the clutches of a sadistic Roman senator, played by, yes, Keifer Sutherland.
Bound by their hatred of the same man, they fall in love, despite the fact that he’s stuck in gladiator prison and she’s ensnared inside her family’s upscale Pompeii villa.
When the sadistic Roman decides to marry our heroine and kill our hero, all hell breaks loose – and so does Mount Vesuvius. Cue 30 minutes of special effects, occasionally interrupted with “dramatic” dialogue.
Here’s just one of countless movie clips I could have pulled that illustrates the generic quality of the writing:
As Pompeii is falling all around him, our gladiator hero tells his best friend that he can’t escape with him to the harbor because he must go back and rescue his beloved.
Atticus: Milo this is madness. We have to get to the harbor and find a boat. The mountain is going to kill us all.
Milo: She risked her life for me Atticus, risked everything for me.
Atticus: Then we will go together.
Milo: No you have your freedom my friend, now she is mine.
Like I said, this movie buries itself and I feel no need to linger at its grave.
And at least there won’t be a sequel.