Movie #19: Don Jon by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, who plays a porn-addicted Guido and is still adorable.
Snow is coming, fan art by Bego
Mount Vesuvius destroyed the city of Pompeii and its neighbors when it erupted in 79 AD, annihilating the population with extreme heat and burying everything under twenty feet of ash. (This kept artifacts perfectly preserved and allowed archaeologists to make plaster casts of the citizens caught in the cataclysm.)
Kit Harington is gorgeous and his Celtic gladiator Milo kills nearly as many people as the eruption-earthquake-tsunami (Pompeii is directed by Paul—NOT Thomas—Anderson of the Resident Evil series, which specializes in this stuff), so we’ll call it a tie.
Kit shows greater range here than he does in Game of Thrones, and by “range” we mean abs, pecs, quads and glutes. Just about our only complaint Thrones-wise is that Jon Snow is always wrapped in furs when he’s with the Night Watch on The Wall or undercover in Mance Rayder’s army. (In the love scene, Ygritte took everything off and Jon Snow was still covered in fur. Booooo.) Kit Harington is so pretty, if he shaved his facial hair he could be the hero and the leading lady.
Yeah, the movie is stupid fun, but it was intended for stupid fun and not historical accuracy. There’s plenty of swordplay and carnage: nothing looks real so know they’re not really dead. Emily Browning plays the aristocratic young woman Cassia who falls in love with the gladiator, which is perfectly understandable because she has eyes. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje reprises the noble Woody Strode role in Spartacus, and speaking of Spartacus, we’re disappointed that there is no dialogue like this in Pompeii.
Our friend Ruthie always used to misquote this as “Antoninus, do you prefer oysters…or salami?”
Carrie Ann-Moss and Jared Harris play Cassia’s parents, and Harris always looks like his guilty embezzler in Mad Men. Kiefer Sutherland has some fun as the eevil Senator Corvus. In the tradition of Resident Evil, Pompeii plays like a video game in which the hero must battle other gladiators, then the Roman champion, then the eevil senator while rescuing the damsel AND escaping from the giant ash cloud and the earth opening up millimeters from his feet. The dirtier and more battered Kit gets, the lovelier he looks—if the war for the Iron Throne were a beauty pageant, Jon Snow would be King of the Andals and the First Men, Lord of the Seven Kingdoms, and Protector of the Realm and Daenerys would be first runner-up.
Verdict: Watch if you have nothing else to do and you can’t wait for GoT Season 4 to begin.
We suddenly remembered The Last Days of Pompeii, a book we borrowed from the St. Theresa’s library and devoured on the school bus. It’s available online at Project Gutenberg, and we just realized that it was written by Edward Bulwer-Lytton, author of the immortal opening line, “It was a dark and stormy night”.