Surprisingly not based on a video game
Paul W.S. Anderson is a director that everyone loves to hate, his Resident Evil cash cow has produced five movies at this point none of them being any good mind you. Pompeii is Alice free but does that mean this movie is any good, yes and no. This movie tries to tell a lot of different stories between characters but never really develops any single one. In reality you have your standard disaster movie character fare here; lovers, bad guy, bad guy that turns out to be friend, and a bunch of sleaze ball types. The only real character I ended up liking was Sutherlands evil Roman senator which when he appears on screen becomes super hammy. Kit Harrington from Game of Thrones is Milo the kind of angry/kind if sad gladiator that wants to have his revenge on the man who killed his people. Emily Browning plays a girl who you can never tell if she loves him or is just plain bored, Browning doesn't have much range as an actor unfortunately her performance felt way to rigid throughout the whole picture.
Lets be realistic here you don't go to watch these movies for the plot, you go for the carnage, mayhem, and destruction of what ever apocalyptic event is portrayed. Which is actually really well done in this picture, the eruption is great and the following carnage is presented really well. From the destruction of the city to the final moments of our two love birds it is actually really well executed given the fact that Mr. Anderson can't really direct a movie to save his life. The whole aesthetic of the movie feels good, from the props to the costumes they all look fairly accurate for the time. The biggest problem with this movie is the beginning and middle the characters are not likeable, hell Volcano with Tommy Lee Jones had more likeable characters.
The other thing that seemed jarring to me about this film was its pacing, for 2/3 of the movie everything is slow not a lot of significant things happen, I guess that is more of a criticism of the genre and not just this movie as this apparent flaw can be found in many other disaster movies. There is one scene however when Milo and the other gladiator are talking at night, the scene cuts out to the girl talking to her mother during the day and then it cuts back the the gladiators at night. For some this may not be a problem but I found it to irk me some at least for continuity reasons.
Overall Pompeii is just not good enough as a whole, the last half hour is a blast and should be watched on the big screen but the rest should have been left out entirely.
+The mountain erupting is really well done
+So is the 3D for the most part