Director Paul W.S. Anderson and Producer Jeremy Bolt deliver a stunning 3D production in their latest movie entitled Pompeii. This is an epic movie that has everything: Visually breathtaking, a touching love story, adrenalizing gladiator combat with historical details that are unmatched.
Anderson's outstanding recreation of one of the ancient world's most compelling tragedies.
On August 24, 79 AD the city of Pompeii, an exquisite international resort on Italy's Bay of Naples, was buried by the colossal eruption of Mount Vesuvius and its deadly and inescapable pyroclastic flow. Within 24 hours this city and its inhabitants were annihilated in one of the most ferocious natural disasters in history.
This story intrigued Anderson as a schoolboy and after 6 years of planning he and Bolt turned it into a classic action movie with a gladiator competition fraught with corrupt politics enmeshed in a tragic love story.
Milo (Kit Harrington) is a Celt slave turned invincible gladiator and a horse whisperer. Orphaned at the age of 6, he is a survivor who learned to fight exceptionally well. Milo is a cunning character out to avenge Romans for his parent's murder.
"I knew this would be a terrific project to be part of. I love action. Milo's tragic backstory and quest for vengeance appealed to me," said an enthusiastic Harington. Photography "Courtesy of Tri-Star Pictures."
Cassia (Emily Browning) is the daughter of one of Pompeii's most powerful families. Her father Lucretius (Jared Harris) and her mother Aurelia (Carrie-Anne Moss) are an affluent and very ambitious power couple at the forefront of Pompeian society. They are very well cast for their respective parts.
Cassia is returning from her studies in Rome where she met a slave caravan bringing Milo to Pompeii. It's an excellent scene where her carriage hit a pothole and one of the magnificent horse's become lame. She selects Milo to assist the writhing beast. He calms the majestic animal, asks Cassia to turn her head, and quickly euthanizes the horse. The aristocrat and slave lock eyes, it is indeed love at first sight.
Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland) is a duplicitous, powerful Roman Senator who asks Cassia for her hand in marriage for which she refuses. He is without a doubt one of the best scary villains I have seen in more than three decades since Jack Torrance (Jack Nicholson) in the 1980 psychological horror film The Shining.
"I thought it would be interesting to take a familiar actor, known for playing a hero, flip that by having him play the bad guy," said Bolt. "Kiefer has the confidence to be a really delcious villain, and also be believable." Photography "Courtesy of Tri-Star Pictures."
Milo's fiercest opponent Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje), an African gladiator on the verge of freedom, becomes his strongest ally outside the arena. These two characters develop a terrific rapport on screen.
Atticus and Milo find real friendship as well as mutual respect, knowing that it is inevitable thay they will enventually face each other in a fight to the death. Photography "Courtesy of Tri-Star Pictures."
The last 48 hours before the explosive eruption of Vesuvius the audience is treated to a torrid love affair between Cassia and Milo. Although they only meet a few times their chemistry on screen is absolutely electrifying.
The digital effects by Mr. X Inc. of lava bombs, blizzards of ash, a river of pyroclastic boiling steam traveling at a high speed incinerating everything in its pathway, along with an earthquake and a massive wall of water from the ensuing tsunami are amongst the best I have ever seen in Hollywood.
The entire passionate love affair between the aristocrat and the slave spans just 48 hours. They defied the odds and Romans to at last be together, yet they could not escape the wrath of Mount Vesuvius. Photography "Courtesy of Tri-Star Pictures."
The final scene with Cassia and Milo makes this a huge love story enhanced with tremendous music by Clinton Shorter. Go and experience Pompeii! It is also being shown in 3D at select theatres.
Earth Dr Reese Halter is a broadcaster, biologist and educator.