A restless, unhappy aristocrat being forced into a marriage she wants no part in. A charming, roguish guy from the wrong side of the tracks who captures her eye. A cataclysmic disaster that will simultaneously bring them closer together, and ultimately tear them apart. It is readily apparent throughout "Pompeii" that director Paul W.S. Anderson (2012's "Resident Evil: Retribution") is aiming to make the next "Titanic." A list of comparisons between these two could fill up a coffee-table book all on its own. Turning said similarities into a drinking game would prove treacherous for all involved. Screenwriters Janet Scott Batchler, Lee Batchler and Michael Robert Johnson dutifully hit all the central landmarks of a formulaic tragic love story of this sort, but potential viewers can take comfort that all is not lost. Competently fashioned and sometimes more than that, the film is worthy of putting a lump in one's throat as the foreknowledge of how doomed its characters are puts the very fragility of life itself into perspective. As far as soapy, action-oriented, melodramatic spectacles go, "Pompeii" fits the bill.
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