I am trying to find the appropriate words to describe the first trailer for Paul W.S. Anderson’s Pompeii, but none are readily springing to mind. /Film described it as a mix of Titanic, Gladiator and Volcano, but I think that might be giving it too much credit. I would say that it looks like 300, only where the Persians are a volcano and the Spartans are attacking it with swords because that will totally work.
Is my reaction unkind? Maybe so, and we must bear in mind that this is only a teaser trailer. We should not judge a film based on its trailer. Then again, trailers often show the best bits, so this might not be the greatest way to sell the film.
What we see in the Pompeii teaser is pretty much what you expect: there’s an intense voiceover about the suffering at Pompeii, then we get Kit Harington (that’s Jon Snow from Game of Thrones) emerging from the ash looking very shirtless and serious. Harrington plays a slave who tries to save his girlfriend (Emily Browning) during the tragedy. There are some inexplicable shots of guys fighting in slow motion – I’m assuming that this is not a metaphor for the eruption – and fireballs descending and crushing ships. It’s all very serious.
Now, natural disasters are not always the best movie villains, and volcanos have a bad history in cinema. Remember Volcano, when the volcano attacked LA and Tommy Lee Jones really, really slowly? Or the marginally better Dante’s Peak, where Pierce Brosnan saved Linda Hamilton? Pompeii has the plus of not being made up, and there could very well be fodder in here for an excellent tragic love story. But this trailer is not selling me on it. It really does look like 300, only with fewer men in leather bikinis.
You can decide for yourself if I’m being completely unfair to the Pompeii teaser by watching it below.
Pompeii comes to theatres February 21, 2014.