What do you get when you combine the sword-and-sandal battles of
In one of the more positive reviews, Gary Goldstein writes in The Times, "'Pompeii' accomplishes its ambitious agenda to largely engrossing effect. Sure, it's not the brainiest of outings, but director
"Pompeii" stars "Game of Thrones'"
USA Today's Claudia Puig is less impressed, calling "Pompeii" "a 'Titanic' wannabe with a romance between a rich girl and a poor boy set against a natural disaster. Besides 'Gladiator' and 'Titanic,' the film borrows from '300,' 'Troy,' 'Spartacus,'
She adds, "A movie that focused solely on lava showers would quickly grow tepid. But how did it take a team of writers to come up with a bland story cobbled together from previous historical epics?"
NPR's Ian Buckwalter, meanwhile, writes that "Anderson seems to want us to see his film and its hackneyed romance — basically 'Titanic' with swords and sandals — as a serious-minded historical epic. If there were a hint of a sense of play or humor in the filmmaking, beyond a briefly amusing moment of comeuppance for a foppish slaveowner, 'Pompeii' might be a fun February diversion instead of a dull, eye-rolling slog."
Buckwalter also finds the film unintentionally funny, quipping, "The only person in the entire cast who seems remotely aware of the ridiculousness of the whole thing is [Kiefer] Sutherland, who chews scenery like a starving man handed a turkey leg. He certainly had more laughs making it than anyone will watching it; if only he'd let the rest of the cast and crew in on the joke."
The Wrap's Alonso Duralde likewise commends Sutherland's antics, though not much else. He writes, "there aren't enough sacrifice-able virgins in the world to make 'Pompeii' an appeasing offering to the disaster-movie gods. This team-up between the director of 'AVP: Alien vs. Predator' (Paul W.S. Anderson) and the star of
Finally, the San Francisco Chronicle's Mick LaSalle grouses that "Pompeii" lacks compelling characters, and as a result, "you start to root for Mount Vesuvius. In fact, compared to the audience, Vesuvius begins to seem really patient."
That said, "if you want to see disaster effects, 'Pompeii' is the ultimate in one-stop shopping, a combination of the floods in