Friday, April 04, 2014

Pompeii




Why I Saw This Movie
The old: I was meeting a friend at the cinema, and this was the only thing playing.

Negatives
* Shamelessly rips off the exact same formula and story from Titanic
* The formulaic nature of this movie makes it incredibly predictable.
* Awful….AWFUL…dialogue
* Another one of these Hollywood romances where the writers couldn’t be bothered to give us a reason why the lovers are in love, and we just have to accept that the whole romance started because they liked the look of each other.

Positive
* The visuals
* A great spectacle
* Good special effects
* Decent action scenes
* Good acting
* Good editing and a quick pace which keeps the story moving at a fast clip, and keeps you from getting bored.

The Review
          I went into this movie simply because it was the only thing playing at my local cinema, and I had low expectations.  I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s not a good “film”, but it’s a great popcorn flick to see up on the big screen for all its spectacle and special effects glory.  Just make sure to turn off your brain at the door.

Other Things I Would Talk About If I Wasn’t Limiting Myself to 100 Words
* Since Titanic, which this film is blatantly ripping off, put in the trouble to bring in cameos from historical figures, I’m going to lament that neither Pliny the Elder nor Pliny the Younger got a walk on scene in this film.
* Other historical accuracy issues.

6 out of 10 stars (based purely on entertainment value)

Links
This is not a film you would go to for historical accuracy, although as ever wikipedia is a good place to check for which details came from history, and which didn't.
The quote from Pliny the Younger which opens the film is particularly good. "You could hear the shrieks of women, the wailing of infants, and the shouting of men; some were calling their parents, others their children or their wives, trying to recognize them by their voices. People bewailed their own fate or that of their relatives, and there were some who prayed for death in their terror of dying. Many besought the aid of the gods, but still more imagined there were no gods left, and that the universe was plunged into eternal darkness for evermore."
 Pliny's first hand account of the Pompeii disaster is fascinating reading.  I used to have, until my ipod erased it, Eyewitness to History (A) as one of my favorite audiobooks, which included Pliny's eyewitness account of the Pompeii disaster.  But the entire account is of course viewable online, and makes for fascinating reading.

On a completely different note, this article here attempts to analyze this movie in terms of what it says about our current cultural beliefs. (Article via Whisky Prajer).  The article is a bit over my head, and I suspect the author is over analyzing some stuff but don't listen to me, go read it and make your own decision.

Link(s) of the Day 
Noam Chomsky (March, 2014) "From Hiroshima to Fukushima" 

And From the Washington Post:
CIA misled on interrogation program, Senate report says A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques. (Rest of the article here).

And on a completely different note, from Salon.com
“Cosmic” meltdown! Neil deGrasse Tyson under siege from Christian right:  Evangelicals complain "Cosmos'" excludes creationism -- as if it were the only creation myth worth exploring 
Conservative Christians are really mad about the reboot of the legendary science series Cosmos, starring Neil deGrasse Tyson. The complaint? That an ancient myth about creation invented by Hebrews thousands of years ago is not being included in a show that is there to teach science.  (The rest of the article here)

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