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Film: Pompeii

Pompeii is a 2014 American disaster-adventure film produced and directed by Paul W.S. Anderson. It stars Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje, Jared Harris, Jessica Lucas and Kiefer Sutherland.

A young slave Gladiator, Milo, is the last surviving member of a village of Celts, escaping death only to find captivity. When he finds himself in Pompeii, he strikes up a romance with the Lady Cassia, and finds himself caught up tangentially in a whirlwind of politics, romance, and violence...only for it all to be interrupted with the eruption of the volcano Vesuvius.

This film contains the following tropes:

  • Apocalypse How: Class 0: Pompeii is wiped off the map, but the rest of the world continues on.
  • A Taste of the Lash: Milo is on the receiving end of this.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Senator Corvus does this to Cassia, putting her entire family at his mercy.
  • Artistic License - Geology: Volcanic eruptions can generate tsunamis, but they do so when the eruption causes part of the mountain to break off and slide into the ocean at high speed (creating a wave that moves away from the mountain). In the film, Vesuvius releases a blast of hot wind that pushes the ocean back, after which the water rushes back to shore as a tsunami.
  • Artistic License - History: For a start, the volcanic eruption as shown in the film in no way resembles what actually went down in real life, except at the very end. The mountain blew and covered everything in ash and rock so fast that people were caught while going about their daily (or nightly) activities. The eruption in the movie, by comparison, is rather slow (see Rule of Drama below).
    • Historical gladiators were essentially the rock-stars of their day; they were slaves, yes, but they weren't mistreated or killed off rather than let them go free. Also, rather than being slim and muscular, they were fat and muscular, so they could take more cuts, bleed more, put on a better show and generally last longer.
    • Pompeii by historical accounts was something of a Roman resort town, so it's very unlikely any who lived there harbored animosity towards Rome.
  • Badass: Milo and Atticus front and center. Corvus is no slouch either. Special mention should probably go to Proculus who defeats Milo, and manages to mortally wound Atticus.
  • Beauty Is Never Tarnished: Cassia looks great even covered in ash.
  • Black Dude Dies First: Atticus actually does a good job of surviving. He does die before Milo, but only by a little bit, by dint of being closer to Vesuvius.
    • A straighter example is Felix, who is the first named character to die when Vesuvius opens the earth from under him when he's taking Cassia's horse out.
  • But for Me, It Was Tuesday: Played with. Corvus and Proculus do remember destroying Milo's village (they even consider it their greatest achievement) but have no idea who Milo is. In their defense, he was a child when it happened and they think everyone was killed.
  • Chariot Race: There's a chase involving horses and a chariot near the climax of the movie.
  • Chekhov's Volcano: What story of Pompeii would be complete without the Volcano that buried it?
  • Clothing Damage: After the eruption of the Vesuvius, Cassia has a severe case of tactically ripped clothing, providing some Fanservice.
  • Curb-Stomp Battle: Milo, unarmed, versus three heavily-armed gladiators. Milo kills them all in under 10 seconds.
  • Died Standing Up: Atticus does a damn good impersonation of Raoh in the face of the ash cloud.
  • Damsel in Distress: Cassia gets kidnapped by Corvus and is chained to his carriage.
  • Defiant to the End: Both Atticus and Corvus. The first counterattacks, successfully killing his opponent, the latter revolts against his seemingly undeserved ending.
  • Disaster Porn: Once Vesuvius erupts, we get LOTS of shots of apocalyptic clouds, falling lava-rocks, earthquakes, tidal waves, and a pyroclastic cloud that annihilates everything it touches.
  • Do Not Go Gentle: Severus when he tries to kill Corvus, though there is a twist as he isn't actually mortally wounded up until his attempt.
  • Doomed Home Town: Duh!
    • Also, Milo's hometown. Everyone is executed in the opening scene.
  • Downer Ending: Fire and ash fall, everyone dies.
  • The Dragon: Proculus is this to Senator Corvus.
  • The Empire: Rome, obviously.
  • Face Death with Dignity: Milo, Cassia, and Atticus. Also, Atticus gives Proculus a lesson in what gladiators do NOT do.
  • Fat Bastard: Subverted with Graecus. He owns the gladiator slaves and buys his way into being one of the only people on an escaping ship, but he's actually one of the smarter characters in the movie; he knows to treat the slaves well because they're a source of income, he's the first to notice the coliseum's shaky state and warns Severus, and he's also the first to consider leaving town for a few days. Not that it saves him.
  • Fire-Forged Friends: Milo and Atticus start off as gladiators who are going to fight in a duel to death, but eventually become friends after saving each other in a coliseum battle.
  • First and Last Kiss: Milo and Cassia share one just as the ash cloud engulfs them.
  • Foregone Conclusion: Vesuvius is going to erupt, and Pompeii is going to be destroyed. The only question is who is going to survive. The answer is: no one.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: Proculus gets done in by a mortally wounded Atticus, who drives Proculus' broken sword into his neck.
    Atticus: Let's see if a Roman can die equal to a gladiator...A gladiator does not beg!
  • I Die Free: Atticus.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: Aurelia urges her husband to kill the Large Ham when the latter lies down, seemingly unconscious.
  • Instant Sedation: Cassia loses consciousness shortly after a shack in which she's locked up catches on fire.
  • Jerkass: There's quite a lot, but Corvus just takes it Up to Eleven
  • Kill 'em All: Milo and Cassia manage to get out of the city, but can't escape the pyroclastic flow. The only living thing that might have survived is the horse they were riding.
  • Large Ham: Kiefer Sutherland really wants us to know he's the bad guy.
  • Last Of His Tribe: Milo is the sole survivor of his Celtic Horse tribe, which Corvus had slaughtered.
  • London England Syndrome: A Roman version with 'Londinium, Capital of Britannia.'
  • Made a Slave: Milo ends up being enslaved at the very beginning of the movie.
  • Male Gaze: Cassia and Ariadne are granted cleavage and leg shots towards the end of the movie.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": All hell breaks loose when Vesuvius erupts.
  • Men Are Tough: Multiple examples of muscle advantage are shown, such as a bunch of men putting a carriage back on the road, kidnapping of a woman and males having battle advantage over female warriors.
  • Mercy Kill: Milo puts Cassia's horse out of its misery. With a Neck Snap, of all things.
  • Retirony: Vesuvius erupts on the last day of Atticus' slavery. (Not that they were actually going to let him live anyway...)
  • Money Is Not Power: Averted. Graecus is able to buy passage on board a ship fleeing the volcano. Not that it does him any good.
  • Recycled INSPACE: It's Titanic...BUT WITH A VOLCANO!
  • Rule of Cool: Admitted by the production staff. They knew volcanic bombs don't actually look like meteors and don't fly that far from the volcano, but it looked cool.
  • Rule of Drama: Why the eruption doesn't start with the pyroclastic flow (as it did in real life): the whole thing would have been over in less than three minutes.
  • Scenery Porn: Ancient Pompeii does look very impressive in this movie, especially the Arena, and the villa.
  • Smug Snake: Senator Corvus.
  • Shaggy Dog Story: Atticus and Milo are about to fight in the arena. Atticus fights for freedom, Milo fights for his own survival and a chance for revenge on the monster who massacred his home. There isn't any way both of them are leaving alive. And then their match is turned into a re-enactment of that same slaughter. Only for Mt. Vesuvius to erupt... and both die free men, with Cassia in Milo's arms.
  • Shown Their Work: To give them their due, the people making this film did tons of research to make the eruption of Vesuvius look as realistic as possible...but also admit that they added the fireballs so it would look cooler.
  • Tempting Fate: Severus (no, not that one) refuses to postpone the gladiator games after seeing cracks beneath the amphitheater.
  • The Queen's Latin: Almost everyone speaks with a British accent. Exceptions include Atticus for some reason, but this is perhaps explained by the fact that despite having an Estuary accent in real life, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje always performs with a Nigerian accent. Slightly odder is Carrie-Anne Moss, who doesn't even attempt an English accent, and uses her own American accent — which is quite jarring.
  • Trailers Always Spoil: the film's poster shows the movie's last scene.
  • Women Are Delicate: Ariadne is unable to free Cassia from the shack until a male hero appears.
  • X Meets Y: Peplum meets Disaster movie.
  • You Killed My Parents...and burned my village to the ground.

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