OK, I know movie reviews aren’t really thematically appropriate for this blog. But I just saw Pompei and I have to share my reaction.
Just some background: I don’t have easy access to English language films. So when I have a night free in a city where English cinema is available, I’m there. Sadly, tonight’s sole offering was Pompei. So me and a colleague bought a ticket.
That’s several hours of our lives we will never get back.
Basically, there’s this kid from Britain (Milo), and he wakes up one night to find the Romans are sweeping through and slaughtering his horse-loving, Celtic tribe. In the flicker of the fire, he sees the commanding officer’s face. It is a face he will never forget.
Even though he’s about five years old when he first sees it and he only sees it by firelight, and he won’t see the chap again for another 30 years.
Fortunately, the Roman officer’s face does not change one little bit in that whole time. It looks the same, whether in firelight or sunlight, from any angle, no matter how much time passes. Which is handy, because it lets Milo recognise him immediately when he comes across his many decades later.
Milo is sold into slavery. He turns out to be an exceptional fighter when he grows up, so he is taken to Pompei to fight in the arena there. On the way, he helps out the beautiful daughter of Pompei’s head honcho.
Poor Milo. If having your whole tribe slaughtered and being sold into slavery wasn’t bad enough (especially when the Roman overlords keep referring to their valuable, prestigious, money-making gladiator slaves as “scum” while giving them only porridge to eat), he arrives in Pompei just a day or so before it erupts.
Meanwhile, beautiful daughter’s dad is busy trying to convince a Roman senator to invest in his new stadium project. Baddie Roman senator only agrees to do so if daughter is thrown in to the deal as well.
Stop right there.
Nobody is your friend when it comes to money.
No investor, no matter how much they fancied a girl, would put millions into a bad project. Not now, not back in Roman times. And what Roman senator had the money to finance a major sports facility anyway?
And how did this man rise to the highest offices of imperial Rome when every word that comes out of his mouth is so wooden and unbelievable?
Anyhoo, you all know what happens next. Pompei erupts, everybody dies, including the romantic leads.
Which is handy, to be honest, because it saved them killing themselves from the embarrassment of appearing in this truly awful film.