Pompeii is a drama about the tragedy that befell the ancient Roman city and the film stars Emily Browning, Jared Harris, Carrie Anne Moss and Kiefer Sutherland who is apparently playing a villain in the movie. The story is set a few days before the disaster when Mt. Vesuvius erupted wiping out the city and its inhabitants. Newcomer Kit Harrington plays a Roman gladiator called Milo who tries to rescue the woman he loves and his best friend, played by Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje when all hell breaks loose. Emily Browning plays Cassia, the object of Milo’s affection and a woman who is also involved with a nasty Senator (Kiefer Sutherland’s character.) The plot sets up a basic love-triangle as the volcano looms in the background preparing to spill its guts.
The trailer starts well as a narrator talks about the tragedy in Pompeii as charred remains of some of the victims are shown, it’s a dramatic opening and it sets up the story fairly well. Milo and Cassia are then shown together for a brief moment followed by some typical Hollywood style action shots that are not very interesting or dramatic. The opening scene has the style and tone of a compelling drama, the action scenes make Pompeii look like a typical action movie complete with slow motion fighting that resembles 300 or Spartacus: Blood and Sand. It’s an uneven trailer with a great beginning and a not so great ending.
Paul W.S. Anderson is well known for directing Event Horizon which is a pretty good horror film, he also directed the Resident Evil movies which made lot of money but were fairly mediocre and they failed to make the most of their source material. Anderson has a tendency to direct films with non-stop mediocre action scenes, poor narratives and one-dimensional characters, hopefully Pompeii will be different otherwise it will be a waste of good material. There are two possibilities here, either the director will use the project to up his game and make something different or he and the studio will simply mould the film into another dumb action flick. The trailer gives the impression that the film is going for the action heavy, spectacle over substance approach but hopefully that’s not the case.
If the director can avoid overdoing it with action and spectacle then Pompeii could turn out to be a decent film, the cast is good and the story of Pompeii is both tragic and intriguing. Good storytelling and interesting characters are elements Anderson doesn’t really handle very well so it will be interesting to see how he tackles the material he has been given here. Unfortunately, the trailer doesn’t do enough to convince the viewer that Pompeii will be more than just another action flick with style over substance.
The film will be released on February 28th 2014, check out the trailer and share your thoughts.