Friday, February 21, 2014


It's a well known fact (at least by film critics) that movies released in the first quarter of the year are, on average, worse than those released in the last three quarters.  They're too late to be eligible for awards from the prior calendar year and too early to be remembered by voters for the current year, so studios release their weakest products in January through March, preferring to save their best blockbuster "tent-pole" films for summer because they don't believe people will come out for them in winter.  (I fail to understand this antiquated logic, but statistically it's true.)  But the fact is, if a mainstream, big budget, action film comes out in the first quarter, chances are it's not good.  And if it's in 3D, it's even more likely to be bad.  And this year, there seems to be a trend towards gladiator/shirtless-men-with-six-packs-and-swords films.  Last month I suffered through The Legend of Hercules.  Next month I will have to endure '300: Rise of an Empire' (which has a ":" in the title, and therefore I believe it to be even more likely to be bad.)  And now we have 'Pompeii'.  And yes, much like in 'Titanic', we know where this one is going.  And much like in 'Titanic' there is human conflict as well as a romance to try to make us care about the characters before the historic disaster inevitably occurs.  But, unlike 'Titanic', I didn't care.  I wasn't pulled in at all by the characters, and frankly I couldn't wait for the volcano to finally erupt and get that molten lava rolling.  It's not that this movie is terrible.  It just doesn't have anything in it to make it worth seeing.  In fact, the best thing I can say about it is that it's better than 'The Legend of Hercules' and probably better than the upcoming '300: Rise of an Empire'.

Grade: D+

Who is this movie for?   Got me.  I don't think it's worth anyone's time.  You're much better off revisiting 'Gladiator', followed by either 'Volcano' or 'Dante's Peak' (which weren't all that great either.)

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