There’s some good news here, and some bad news.
Paul W.S. Anderson, the filmmaker behind the "Resident Evil" movies, is giving the story of Pompeii the big-screen treatment.

 He will direct "Pompeii," an adventure movie recounting the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius and the destruction of the Roman city in 79 A.D. Like "Titanic," the Pompeii film will be anchored by a strong love story. So far, no cast has been announced.

“Anchored” might not be the best word to use for “Titanic,” and the movies have nothing in common at all except that lots of people die, but okay, we get the point. Just as long as no one stands on the lip of Vesuvius as says “I’m Caesar of the World!” Continuing:

"Pompeii" revolves around the slave of a shipping tycoon who dreams of the day he can buy his freedom and marry his master's daughter. What the slave What the slave doesn't know is that she's already been promised to a corrupt Roman senator, while he's been sold to another owner.


Just when things can't get any worse, Mt. Vesuvius erupts with the power of 40 nuclear bombs.

So it’s going to be utter rubbish, then. Slaves could buy their freedom, eventually, but the idea that he would marry a rich man’s daughter is the sort of twaddle you get from people who have no idea how much more interesting actual history can be. The “Titanic” reference is telling - why, just as Jack was poor and Rose was upper-class and promised to a rich bastiche who did everything but twirl his mustache and shout YOU MUST PAY THE RENT, the slave is poor and his beloved is seemingly unobtainable, but really a honest lively gal who enjoys going down to the slave quarters for lively dancing.


There’s an excellent novel about Pompeii, called, well, “Pompeii,” by Robert Harris. Check it out. There were plans to make a movie version, one of the most expensive European productions ever; Harris wrote a script for Roman Polanski, Europe’s most celebrated moral authority, but it collapsed because of a writer’s strike. If you have Netflix streaming, take a look at the dramatized documentary called, er, “Pompeii,” which drives home what a nightmare it was. Or you could put baking soda in a glass of vinegar and watch the thing erupt while you play Celine Dion, because I guarantee that’ll be better than whatever Paul W. S. Anderson directs.


PS - Forty nuclear bombs? Really? First of all, I wasn’t aware there was an iron-clad unvarying standard called “the nuclear bomb,” since they tend to vary in explosive force. But 40 seems a bit much. If you packed forty Fat Men or Little Boys into Vesuvius and let them off at once, Italy would have broken in two. The volcano didn’t just go BOOM and kill everyone; it erupted, kept erupting, threw up tons of pumice and ash, killed people with poison fumes, collapsed buildings with showers of rock, and so on. Put it this way: if you were in Pompeii when it went off, you could escape. If you saw it blow, made for the sea, rowed like hell, you had a chance. Forty nuclear bombs go off at once outside of town, you don’t have much of a head start.


All the more reason to wish they’d many more seasons of “Rome.”

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