Paul WS Anderson to Direct PompeiiThe Hollywood Reporter is saying that Paul WS Anderson will be making a film about the ill-fated city of Pompeii. For the uninititaaded Pompeii was an ancient Roman city which was completely wiped out by the eruption of the volcano Mt Vesuvius. According to The Hollywood Reporter the movie will like Titanic,"be anchored by a strong love story." Well if that doesn't sell you on this project then what will?! Am I right?!
In all seriousness I don't hate Paul WS Anderson. In fact I have to admit I have a bit of a weak spot for his junky, wafer thin, paint by numbers action movies. They are strongly in the guilty pleasure category but that's okay. Sometimes you just get a craving for fast food and as long as you don't live on the stuff you'll be fine. My problem with this particular announcement is that i feel like this property could be so much more.
Roman Polanski was circling his own Pompeii project for years and was only stymied by the writers strike. Say what you will about Roman Polanski but he certainly wouldn't be making a predictable disaster flick. I'm concerned that with Paul WS Anderson at the helm we could be headed for Volcano II-This time with togas!
Ancient Rome is such a fascinating place that I would love to see it explored in a straight forward character driven way. There have been alot of cool ancient Rome properties released in the last couple of years from 300 to Spartacus and Rome on HBO, but they all skew towards genre filmaking. I feel like there is alot can still be explored.
I don't want to watch people run from CG lava for two hours. I want to discover this ancient city that was wiped out. Pompeii is a real life Atlantis, a city that just disappeared one night. Who were these people? How did they live? What business did they leave undone?
To me the best way to handle this story would be to use a Gangs of New York mold. The climax of that film was the draft riots of 1863. The movie made us involved in the lives of characters and their struggles long before the riots came out of nowhere in the third act to change our chrachters and the city on New York forever. I feel like a similar tactic could be used with Pompeii. Take us to this lost city and tell a character driven story. Make us care about the characters and their lives only to interrupt the film, and their story, with a natural disaster that no one can prepare for. That's a movie I would love to see. Unfortunately that is not a film that I feel Paul WS Anderson is capable of making. So I say stick with your Resident Evils and Death Races Paul, I'll support and probably even enjoy them. Heck I'm even looking forward to The Three Musketeers. Just find something else to do with your talents. It would be a shame to see a goldmine of possibility frittered away in the search for coal.
Am I being too harsh? Is a big disaster movie what you guys would prefer? Am I nuts for thinking a movie about this historical event could be really special in the right hands? Let me know in the comments below.