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Movie Review

Pompeii

MPAA Rating: PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action and brief sexual content.

Reviewed by: Alexander Malsan
CONTRIBUTOR

Very Offensive
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Moviemaking Quality:

Primary Audience:
Adults
Genre:
Action Adventure Romance History Drama 3D
Length:
1 hr. 45 min.
Year of Release:
2014
USA Release:
February 21, 2014 (wide—2,500+ theaters)
DVD: May 20, 2014
Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved. click photos to ENLARGE Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved. Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved.
Relevant Issues
Photo by Courtesy of Sony Pictures Entertainment. © 2014 Constantin Film International GmbH and Impact Pictures (Pompeii) Inc. All rights reserved.

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Pain and suffering

Why does God allow innocent people to suffer? Answer

What about the issue of suffering? Doesn’t this prove that there is no God and that we are on our own? Answer

ORIGIN OF BAD—How did bad things come about? Answer

Did God make the world the way it is now? What kind of world would you create? Answer


ancient city of Pompeii

Mount Vesuvius eruption in 79 A.D.

brimstone in the Bible

slaves

Does the Bible condone slavery? Answer

Roman Empire / Rome in the Bible

gladiators

unwillingly betrothal

corrupt Roman Senator

Featuring: Kit Harington … Milo
Emily BrowningCassia
Kiefer SutherlandCorvus
Carrie-Anne MossAurelia
Jared HarrisSeverus
more »
Director: Paul W.S. Anderson
Producer: FilmDistrict
Constantin Film Produktion
more »
Distributor: TriStar Pictures, Sony Pictures

Romance, politics, and destruction. These are the three themes that surround the movie “Pompeii.” The story follows Milo, a young man whose family is brutally butchered at a young age, sold into slavery and sent to Pompeii. There he meets the lovely Lady Cassia. But the love he has for her is a forbidden love, due to the interest Senator Corvus of Rome has for her. Will he be successful in his quest for freedom and win the heart of his beloved Cassia? Or will everything crumble around him?

I’m going to get straight to the point with “Pompeii.” I am a huge fan of the events surrounding the ancient city’s destruction. I saw the trailers for the movie and became undeniably excited about its release in theaters. However, as time progressed and critics started weighing in, little seeds of doubt started forming on whether this movie was going to be worth the price of admission.

Unfortunately, my expectations for this movie were crushed. I expected a movie that focused more on the events surrounding Pompeii (even perhaps a historical background focus to be incorporated into the movie). Though there was some, what I received was a movie that tried to become everything: a love story, an action movie, and a hint of politics thrown in as a subplot (which even now still makes me question why this was necessary).

The thing that surprised me the most though was the violence. This should have received an R rating. No question about that. The violence was extreme, and there were moments where even I couldn’t handle it (I can handle violence. I’ve handled “Elysium”.), to the point where I was shaking as I walked out and couldn’t believe what I had seen (I will address this more in the content section below)

The plot was poorly developed and the performances were really not that good (Kiefer Sutherland’s accent made me laugh). However, I will say the scenery was pretty good. There were some beautiful shots of Pompeii and the mountains (even though they were CGI based). The destruction of Pompeii was also pretty impressive (in a sense it reminded me of the movie “Titanic”—it’s duration, the peril, the screams). But CGI alone does not make the movie. Impressive? Yes. Did it help the movie that much? Well no, not really.

Violence: Extreme! This area serves as the basis for the moral rating I have given this movie. Like I said, “Pompeii” could have and should have gotten an R-rating. This movie is very inappropriate for children under 13. There are multiple stabbings (including all the members of Milo’s family), hangings, multiple heavy sword fights, arrows shot, fist fights, a scene involving Milo being severely whipped 15 times (we watch this), the destruction of the city and the buildings crushing people. We also witness heavy tsunamis. There’s also a scene where we see Milo snap a horse’s head to end its suffering. There is probably other violent content I am forgetting, but what I have described pretty much sums it up.

FILM VIOLENCE—How does viewing violence in movies affect families? Answer

Profanity: Virtually non-existent. God’s name was not profaned. I heard one instance of b**ch and one b**tard.

Sex/Nudity: Not much caught my attention. There is one kiss between Milo and Cassia. A brothel is mentioned. Slaves are displayed before women, with comments seemingly indicating the male slaves may be used for sexual purposes. There are bare-chested men and some female cleavage.

Certainly there are themes of bravery, courage, and comradery. However, these themes are overshadowed by over-abundant violence.

My girlfriend and I were really interested in seeing this movie, because we are fascinated by the events surrounding Pompeii. We walked in expecting a little more than what we received. Even if the violence wasn’t the primary detraction, this still wouldn’t be a film to see in theaters or as a DVD rental. In my opinion, this movie is not appropriate for Christians or for anyone under the age of 17. Save your money on this one! Perhaps head to the library, or the Internet, and research the real events of Pompeii. This movie can wait.

Violence: Extreme / Profanity: Minor / Sex/Nudity: Moderate

See list of Relevant Issues—questions-and-answers.


Viewer CommentsSend your comments
Positive
Positive—I don’t dispute much of what the reviewer had to say, but, overall, I found the movie more entertaining than he did. The special effects and action sequences are at least adequate, and the characters by and large engaging. Yes, lots of violence, but the sex quotient was gratifyingly low, by typical Hollywood standards. ***SPOILER*** I didn’t like the ending, because I prefer “Hollywood” happy endings, but that’s a personal quibble.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Offensive / Moviemaking quality: 3
—Jeremy Klein, age 58 (USA)
Positive—I watched it in 3D—like it a lot because of it. Despite of 3D, I liked it too. It shows the moral degradation of the civilized society. What can you expect if Christianity wasn’t widespread yet in 79AD? I showed the movie to my teenage kids for the purpose of demonstrating that all reasonable morality can only come from a Christian God. This is one movie that can be used for this purpose since it doesn’t display profanity and sexuality as it actually was. Obviously, the purpose of the movie wasn’t to show the reason God destroyed Pompeii (and the whole Roman Empire), but it does show the scope of His fury. Now, imagine the movie about global flood with the same effects…
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 3½
—Vladislav, age 37 (USA)
Neutral
Neutral—This movie has a laudable lack of sex and profanity, great themes of forbidden love, heroes, friendship and sacrifice for others, plus an impressively accurate depiction of the nuee ardente that destroyed Pompeii. However, it wallows in mediocrity—the script is lacklustre, the CGI backgrounds are ambitious but soft focus, and the violence is omnipresent, to the detriment of good story-telling. To its credit, the camera never shows gore or severed body parts, and the violence is no worse than that found in the Bible.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 2½
—Brian Schacht, age 67 (Canada)
Neutral—I wasn’t sure about this movie, however, for its genre, I thought it was good. Sure, I didn’t like how they referred to the “gods” many times, but that is how they did things back then, even in the Old Testament of those that weren’t serving the only true God. It was violent, but like others said, it wasn’t as bad as it could have been. And that is how they did things back then, fighting and killing people for sport in front others. That is crazy.

It is more of a romance movie then I thought it would be. Although there was not sex in it, there was a focus on buff guys with no shirts on and cleavage shots of the other main female actress.

Although I am giving it a neutral, I thought it was a good movie for its kind, and the animation was pretty good, I just can’t give something a “good” rating that does have a lot of blood and killing in it and showing off men’s bodies. So I am sensitive to those things, but since it was representing a time in life that was actually like that, the violence didn’t bother me as much.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Stephanie Smith, age 39 (USA)
Neutral—…Change the costumes, dresses, horses and it’s just another modern day big city with crowded streets, rich are rich and poor are poor and oh yeah, the government lies to the public. The movie depicts the year 79, and it is currently 2014. We have not learned anything. The rich are still rich, the poor are still poor, greed, blackmail, slavery (as in white slavery today, run by many “respectable citizens”) still exists and from an aerial view, we still look like ants. If we humans can crush little ants, how much more so can our beloved Creator do the same to us? We have all failed Him.
My Ratings: Moral rating: Average / Moviemaking quality: 4
—Jarred Caro-shatzberger [Jew], age 33 (Israel)

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