Full Review:One would think that if a movie producer can come up with a gazillion dollars for special effects, they might also be able to scrape up just a little extra cash for a half decent script. Evidently not.
On the bright side, you pretty much get two movies for the price of one. The first half is a bad version of Gladiator. Slaves made to fight to the death, while the rebellious young Lady of the court falls in love with a brooding new slave (think Orlando Bloom look-alike) who woos her by showing her his ability to mind-meld with her horse. It’s like he’s a Horse Whiperer, without the whispering. Nope, I didn’t make that up. Oh, and the second half of the movie is about Mt. Vesuvius blowing up.
The acting is actually OK. The leads are attractive and deliver their lines well. The one notable exception is the villain of the film – the Roman ruler played by Kiefer Sutherland. He is absolutely horrible. I don’t know if he just mailed it in, or whether he really can’t act. If Saturday Night Live did a parody of this movie, I’m not sure how they would do his role, because he WAS a parody. I loved him on 24, but maybe that’s all he can do?
But again, the real cuprit is the script. The writing has more cliches than not. And while I know we have to go with accepting that they somehow spoke English in Pompeii, I laughed out loud when Sutherland’s character yelled out “You Bitch!” to the leading lady. C’mon, Janet Scott Batchler (writer), make a little effort.
In the end, the movie was actually a little enjoyable on three fronts. The volcano stuff was pretty cool. Seeing what Pompeii may have looked like was interesting. And finally, watching it while I was imagining what Mystery Science Theater 3000 would do with it was pretty fun.
Final Grade: D+