I’m finding it difficult to wrap my head around what I have to do today, so I’m going to take a brief moment to say a few words and then (hopefully) get to work. Part of my problem is that my classroom is so cold I can’t feel my fingers. Or my toes. Or my nose. Someone asked me once why I would need a heavy wool coat in Texas; this is why.
Another thing on my mind is the new movie (not quite out yet) called Pompeii. I got to see an advanced screening last night, and I gotta tell you, I was impressed. The fact that it had a half naked Jon Snow was reason enough to get me into the movie, but there was an actual story line. And character development! Yes, between gladiatorial fisticuffs and erupting volcanic CGI, there was a story to be told! And it was good!
The Celt (Kit Harington aka Jon Snow) watched his entire family/village/people be massacred by the Roman army at some Celtic rebellion, and then is captured and put into slavery. Fast forward and we see him as a gladiator in Londinium (not sure if that’s a real place, but thanks for showing me the British as the barbaric outliers instead of the glorious Empire they would be later). He’s sold to be the final battle for a “barbaric” gladiator named Atticus (Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje) who is about to earn his freedom.
Somewhere in there, he meets and falls in love with the young lady Cassia (Emily Browning), who is being ogled by the lascivious and crazy Roman senator/general Corvus (Keifer Sutherland), the same man who killed the Celt’s people. And in the middle of it all, Mount Vesuvius erupts, causing mass chaos and death all around our main characters as they struggle to escape.
There were gasps amongst the audience members, and when Cassia’s mom (Carrie-Ann Moss) finally speaks up about the evil senator who is trying to force her daughter into a marriage, there were actually cheers! I think the audience was invested in the characters as well as the violence and effects.
I’d recommend it, definitely!
For me, though, it also touched on a subject that tends to be close to my heart: race issues. In a time when race was determined more by place of birth than the color of your skin, the Celt (white) was treated with the same disdain as Atticus (black), and they recognized each other as brothers. They recognized their equality through their trials and tribulations, not through the color of their skin. And that is a beautiful thing.
It is a sign that perhaps Hollywood is finally beginning to use their powers for good, because it was such a subtle thing that it might begin to take hold. There may be a day when race isn’t a major part of American culture. I hope I live long enough to see that day.