Eruptions & Stuff…
A Film Review by Akash Singh
NOTE: SPOILERS OCCUR!!!!!!!
Yes, this movie is about the volcano. Unfortunately, this movie is not just about the volcano. If the film was just Vesuvius erupting for ninety minutes in glorious 3-D, I would have been okay with it. Kit Harrington took a break from Game of Thrones to do more swordplay, but even the worst episode of the show is so strongly written that this just instantly pales in comparison. There’s a love story between him and Emily Browning that I didn’t buy for a single second. Adewale Akinnouye-Agbaje is easily the star of the film even though Kit Harrington has a monopoly on the promotional material. He’s expressive, emotional, and characterized in a way none of his co-stars are. Paul W. S. Anderson directs, which immediately lowers expectations and that’s equally true here. He doesn’t really bring anything to the table.
Kit’s character arc is basically his people getting killed and then being sold into slavery to eventually become a gladiator! If you think you’ve seen this movie, you have. It’s basically screaming Conan the Barbarian and Gladiator at the top of its lungs. Kit’s not a bad actor in Thrones, but he doesn’t bring anything except his abs to this entire movie. It’s a remarkably dull and stoic performance. Emily Browning gives what might be her most uninspired performance yet, with a singular expression espousing most of her visage for the entirety of the film. Their romance is typical poor boy and rich girl tale and the movie never bother to even try and add something new to the formula. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje gets the best performance out of the entire ensemble, bringing a nuance and depth to a character that could have been one-note considering his whole “last fight for freedom” cliché. Kiefer Sutherland chews so much scenery that it goes from entertaining to annoying incredibly quickly.
Once the explosion kicks into gear, the entirety of the movie before it is called into question. It’s sort of exciting to see Mount Vesuvius so thoroughly crush everything underneath it, which made me feel a little terrible but then again I didn’t give a damn about any of the characters, so there’s that. The movie does try to spend a ton of time to get you to care about the characters before Vesuvius erupts, but it doesn’t work. The ending, however, is easily the best part of the movie. I felt an ostensible dread that the movie was going in one direction. And then when it doesn’t, it’s an absolute relief. The final image is more haunting than everything before it. But it’s not enough to save the film.
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Director: Paul W. S. Anderson
Produced by: Jeremy Bolt, Paul W. S. Anderson, Robert Kulzer, Don Carmody
Screenplay by: Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler, Michael Robert Johnson
Starring: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Carrie-Anne Moss, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jessica Lucas, Jared Harris, Kiefer Sutherland
Music: Clinton Shorter
Cinematography: Glen MacPherson
Editing: Michelle Conroy
Production Company: Constantin Film, Impact Pictures, Don Carmody Productions
Distributor: United States: TriStar Pictures, FilmDistrict; Germany: Constantin Film; International sales: Summit Entertainment, Lionsgate Films
Running Time: 104 minutes
Release Dates: February 18, 2014 (Buenos Aires). February 21, 2014 (Canada & United States), February 27, 2014 (Germany)
Image Courtesy: Wikipedia