When the real star is a mountain

Published Thu, Feb 20, 2014 · 10:00 PM
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BEFORE Gladiator (2000) made a killing at the box office, picking up Best Picture and Best Actor (for Russell Crowe) Academy Awards along the way, big-budget historical epics - especially those of the sword-and-sandal variety - had gone the way of the dinosaur, thanks to expensive flops like Cleopatra (1963). The stylised violence of 300 (2007) put the genre back in vogue and now with Pompeii, filmmakers are betting that barechested men in leather skirts will cause more sparks to fly at the box office.

As insurance, they cast Kit Harington, the hunky heartthrob from cable TV's Game of Thrones, in the lead role and in the hope that a similar wardrobe will keep the momentum going. They needn't have worried too much: the raven-haired actor spends most of Pompeii looking like he may simply have gotten lost on his way to the Thrones set.

His acting career is on the rise but Harington comes in a distant second to the, um, explosive star of Pompeii: Mount Vesuvius, whose historic eruption (in 3D, no less) is convincing enough to score a recurring role in any number of National Geographic specials.

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