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Bad Movie Tuesday: Pompeii and the Explosion of Dumb

March 4, 2014

Pompeii movie poster

Spoilers Abound! 

Pompeii tells the age old story of love in the time of ash and lava. This sweeping love story from the director of Mortal Kombat, Resident Evil and Three Musketeers is as subtle as Vesuvius and as intelligent as the rocks spewing from it. Pompeii is a dumbed down Titanic that totally redeems itself via odd directing choices and accidental hilarity.

Pompeii is a quirky little thing that is loaded with unintentional laughs, wonky accents (British? Irish? Italian? I think Sutherland made up an accent) and the greatest bro-hug ever. Imagine if  2012, Gladiator, Bloodrayne, Titanic, Romeo & Juliet, Tristan & Isolde, Centurion, In the Name of the King and The Three Musketeers were mixed together then rewritten by Paul W.S. Anderson. Pompeii is an amalgamation of illogical weirdness and irrelevant fluff.

The plot is all happenstance and features a meet cute via horse neck snapping. The two lovers rarely spend time together and the only moment they are alone results in painful yet quick healing lashes. Eventually, things go boom, revenge is had, peasants get crunched and only Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje seems to know he is in a bad movie.

Take a look at the above poster. The two leads are having a smooching session amid chaos. I understand they are a tragic couple. However, I 100% believe they could’ve survived had they not sauntered so much. If they would have jogged away we could have enjoyed Pompeii 2: Why did we vacation near Mount St. Helens? Other characters in similar films survived by hightailing it to safety. In the photos for Dante’s Peak and Volcano the characters are running or looking concerned while walking away from the deadly fire.


Now, take another look at Pompeii’s couple as they look relaxed in the chaos.

Pompeii standing around

These people survived by running!

Twister run

Cusack 2012

These two weren’t lucky enough to have running in the script.


Paul W.S. Anderson has had a fruitful career in Hollywood by directing money making hokum (I’ve watched them all and keep coming back). His highest rated film on Rotten Tomatoes is the 43% Death Race. His other films The Three Musketeers, Resident Evil, Event Horizon, Mortal Kombat, Soldier, AVP and now Pompeii have all felt like other better films. There are moments of creative talent (Horizon hell scenes, Orlando Bloom’s hair in Musketeers, light grid scene in Resident)  but for the most part Anderson has simultaneously  annoyed and captured the nerd zeitgeist.

Sidenote: Gotta love Bloom’s hair.

Orlando Bloom Buckingham

Pompeii feels like a step in the wrong direction. Never before have Anderson’s films felt so unintelligible or unintentionally hilarious. It felt more like In the Name of the King (Never a good thing to be compared to a Uwe Boll film) then Tristan & Isolde. I am going out on a limb here but I’d wager Kit Harrington wins the hair battle between he and James Franco.

James Franco Tristan

 Pompeii Kit

Pompeii is pure dumb that is punctuated by really bad decisions. It is an enjoyable romp that will make perfect FX foder for insomniacs and college students for years to come. It was never meant to be good. It was only meant to entertain. It may be a step back for Anderson but at least we now have the visual of peasants being clunked on the heads by tiny rocks in the canon of film. 

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