Pompeii is the story of Milo (Kit Harington), who as a young boy witnessed the slaughter of his family. This attack led to his capture and now, as a man, he fights as a gladiator in the city of Pompeii. Soon, however, Mount Vesuvius erupts, which will cause the destruction of the city and the death of all those who failed to flee. In the final moments prior to the town's destruction, Milo attempts to rescue his true love, Cassia (Emily Browning), who's being kidnapped and forced into a marriage with Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland).
Pompeii is a film from Paul W.S. Anderson, so you know what you're getting into. I'm not a fan of Paul W.S Anderson's work, his films are mindless rubbish, and it's worrying to know that I was hoping Pompeii would be different. Unfortunately, it's more of the same. It's another dull film that follows the story of a kick-ass lead character and features a variety of slow motion 3D shots of objects flying into the camera and a bunch of mostly decent special effects that make this film the tinniest bit watchable. The only thing missing from this film is Milla Jovovich, it's rare to find Anderson making a film without her.
Most of the film's budget appears to have been spent on the special effects. Pompeii is a special effect extravaganza, but even the effects are far from perfect. There are moments in here where the effects are even cringe worthy, but the same could be said for a few of Paul W.S. Anderson's other films. But what everybody, or at least me, came to see is the eruption of the volcano and the citizens of Pompeii fighting for survival. We sadly only get this for a brief amount of time. The film wastes over an hour setting up character and then only around twenty minutes of the volcano actually erupting. By the time we get to see where 95% of the budget ended up, we're already wishing we'd turned the movie off.
The characters are underdeveloped, suiting the quality of acting. One of the worst aspects of this movie is that it stars good actors, great actors even, yet all of them look like they're here for the cheque. The film has a great line up with the likes of Kiefer Sutherland, Carrie-Anne Moss and even Jared Harris, but they're all just reading idiotic lines for a brief period of time to earn a bit of cash. Kit Harington does phenomenal in Game of Thrones, and despite playing practically the same character here, he's sloppy. He seems incapable of making more than a single, bland facial expression, the same facial expression that the audience makes while watching the film.
The cinematography during the action sequences is unbearable. The fight scenes in Pompeii are a perfect example of cinematography and editing gone wrong. Within the span of a few seconds, there are literally dozens of interconnecting, fast paced shots. It's next to impossible to see what's going on. Every time that a character swings there sword a few centimetres, CUT! Every time a character takes a step, CUT! It's an excruciating viewing.
To sum up, Pompeii features a wasted budget that's spend entirely on special effects which, on multiple occasions, don't look that good. The actors are bored, the characters underdeveloped, the pacing slow and the cinematography sloppy.