Saturday, April 25, 2015

Do you like movies about gladiators?

We rented the "movie" Pompeii from the library. When it was over The Wife turned to me and asked, "Why did you do that to me?"

It wasn't even 'so bad it's good'. Sometimes you can really feel when a movie has been over produced and audience tested. Any sense of tension, sex or blood has been bleached completely away, which isn't the best way to go in a film about gladiators in ancient Rome against the backdrop of one of the most infamous volcanic eruptions of all time.

Kit, "you know nothing' Harignton plays Milo who, despite his Conan-like origin and reported skill as a gladiator, still grows up to look more like your sister's emo boyfriend.
He really gets 'Vampire Weekend', you know?  
Through an unlikely series of coincidences, he is forced to fight in the arena of Pompeii - at exactly the same time as the Roman Senator/General who wiped out Milo's childhood village just happens to be in town to ... buy the arena? I think that is his plan. Anyway, all of this happens during the same week as Pompeii's fateful eruption. A game but wasted Keefer Sutherland chews the scenery as best he can, but it mostly falls flat and a little fey. The love interest played by Emily Browning isn't given much to do except consistently look like a bland, confused baby bird.
Cheep! Save me! Cheep!
The whole thing is as boring as trying to come up with yet another simile for boredom. The gladiator fight scenes are rote and not nearly as exciting as any given fight in Game of Thrones, and by the time they actually get to the eruption, most of the CGI budget was spent on arenas and fireballs falling from the sky, that there clearly wasn't enough to make the actual eruption in any way spectacular.

So how much of the film is useful in a gaming setting?

Mostly this guy. Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaj plays the improbably named gladiator, Atticus (which means, 'man from Attica, or the Athens peninsula'. Does he look like he comes from Athens? That fact check me 30 seconds on Google. Professional screenwriting producers are morons).

He happens to be one of my favourite 'hey that guy!' actors, and he's great for character or NPC portraits.
This is is from a much better movie! Use this instead
And there are maybe a couple of screen shots of the city or area might help if you need something like that in a game, but there are lots of better films and even real life images you could use instead.
Definitely use this instead.
The most useful thing about the movie, game-wise, is the concept. As far as I know, there is no adventure module out there that involves a mission during some sort of destructive, city wide calamity, but there probably should be.

Final Recommendation?
Watch the Doctor Who episode 'The Fires of Pompeii' instead. Its much more fun, has a lot more ideas and it is considerably shorter.
Just watch this instead.

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