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February 21, 2014 by · Leave a Comment 

The last days of Pompeii will likely come quickly, if audiences’ reactions turn out to bear any resemblance to the overwhelming majority of critics’. Assessing its box office potential, Variety critic Peter Debruge commented that it “certainly recognizes what mass audiences want from a Game of Thrones-style sword-and-scandal saga, delivering especially high marks as either a sudsy indulgence for teenage girls or beefcake offering to gay men.” Apparently older women will appreciate the actors’ muscles as well. Stephanie Merry in the Washington Post remarked that star Kit “Harington transformed his body for the role, but here’s the real disaster: His startlingly defined six-pack abs are the most memorable part of his character.” A few critics excoriate the film’s plot. “The script is laughable, smothered in sword-and-sandal silliness until fireballs hurtle toward Pompeii,” writes Joe Neumaier in the New York Daily News. Mick LaSalle in the San Francisco Chronicle remarks that the audience simply is not allowed to develop any kind of sympathy for the poor Pompeiians who are about to be preserved forever in lava, “Although, if you think of “Pompeii” as a ride, a conveyance for special effects, and not anything resembling an emotional experience, indifference can almost be a good thing.” But many critics simply have concluded that the film, directed by Paul S. W. Anderson, is simply one of those good bad movies. “A campy guilty pleasure,” Lou Lumenick calls it in the New York Post. And Peter Howell in the Toronto Star asks forgiveness for a pretty good pun: “At least we get to watch a lot of people make an ash of themselves.”