Trailer Tuesday: Pompeii

First things first: This Pompeii is not a big screen adaptation of Robert Harris's novel of the same name. Despite featuring the same name, Roman Polanski's planned film was cancelled during the Writers' Strike a few years' back, and is unlikely to ever happen...

Which is a pity because instead of a well-considered Ancient World tale of political corruption in the shadow of the soon-to-erupt Mount Vesuvius, this 3D Pompeii comes across as basically Spartacus meets Gladiator meets Titanic meets Dante's Peak. It comes from Paul WS Anderson, the writer-director-producer who has delivered many video game adaptations to the big screen (including the Resident Evil franchise), and was also responsible for 2011's WTF?! Steampunk take on The Three Musketeers. Oh, and Event Horizon to be fair.

Kit (Jon Snow) Harington stars as Milo, a slave who must save his love, noble-born Cassia (Emily Browning) and gladiator best friend as the ash begins to fall in 79AD. Kiefer Sutherland is evidently the film's Big Bad, a senator who killed Milo's family - thereby forcing him into a life of slavery. The villain also has designs on Cassia, naturally. The film also stars Carrie-Anne Moss, Jared Harris and Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje.

I love Ancient World-set films and TV series. Sadly though, Hollywood seems to fluff them more often than not. CGI-saturated Pompeii looks like decent enough blockbuster escapism, if you leave your brain at home, and if you don't expect any effort in credibly depicting 1st Century Roman society. Still, I do wish filmmakers would try something different, and break from the"class-conflict romance in the midst of disaster" formula. That's really not the only way you'll get both guys and girls in the cinema.

Pompeii opens in North America on 21 February 2014. The film's South African release date is a week later - the 28 February.


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