As tremors start to rock the city of Pompeii on an increasingly regular basis the people of Pompeii are going about their business unaware that they are entering their last days. An unwilling gladiator finds himself in the midst of things as he is in love with a slave girl whilst a Roman princess desires his muscular body. And then there is Lucius Aquarius who has a fondness for a woman called Elena and will make her a Princess if she stays away from a religious sect which he fears.
Okay I apologise for that utterly terrible synopsis for the TV movie/ mini-series "Pompeii" but it is such a flawed production that it doesn't deserve anything better and I will say this now "Pompeii" at 180 minutes doesn't deserve your time either. Now I should clarify something as I am not a historian and I only knew the basics about what happened in Pompeii all those centuries ago and that throws up the first problem as this TV movie is made for those who already know what happened. I say that because it does such a poor job of establishing who is who and what is going on that you need a reasonable level of subject knowledge before you start watching to follow it.
That need of a prior knowledge confuses things because I am pretty sure that those with a fondness for history will still find "Pompeii" a struggle and a mess because whilst it delivers a look I would say the representation of Pompeii is more of a movie interpretation rather than a historically accurate one. In fact even if you have no historical knowledge there is many a scene which will make you smile or groan due to some obvious historical inaccuracies.
But things don't get better for "Pompeii" when watched as just a movie fan seeking entertainment. From this being one of those awkward Euro movies with dubbing which always sounds off to actors walking around, looking pretty and saying some lines but never really delivering their characters. And sadly when it comes to the special effects involved with the destruction of Pompeii well it lacks the sense of scale to make it exciting. To put it simply when Pompeii starts being hit by rocks thrown into the air by the erupting volcano you can imagine that off camera are a bunch of students tosses rubber rocks in to the air.
What this all boils down to is that this "Pompeii", as there are others, is not very good and has that sense of awkwardness about it which you frequently find with Euro productions which are trying to tell an old story.