When I first heard about the movie “Pompeii” I thought it was a documentary about the event and the devastation left in its path. I soon learned, however, that was not the case. “Pompeii” is the true story of the Mount Vesuvius eruption with a fictional love story weaved in.

Set in 79 AD, “Pompeii” is the vision of what life would have been like during the time of gladiators and an all-powerful Rome. The story begins with a prologue set 17 years prior to the eruption. It shows the massacre of protagonist Milo’s (Kit Harrington) tribe of horsemen; the massacre was led by Roman senator Corvus (Kiefer Sutherland).

After initially escaping the massacre, Milo is captured and kept as a slave. He is forced to fight many battles and eventually becomes a champion gladiator. On his way to Pompeii he meets Cassia (Emily Browning), the nobleman’s daughter, and they connect instantly, beginning their love story.

While “Pompeii” has a lot more exciting action scenes, the romance in the movie is comparable to the classic love story in “Titanic.” It is easy to compare the romantic plot lines of the two films. They are both stories of a low-born young man (Milo and Jack) falling in love with a high-born young woman (Cassia and Rose) who finds favor with a far more powerful and influential man (Corvus and Cal).

Between the romance and the action-packed Gladiator tournament, the audience is distracted from the ominous tremors in Mount Vesuvius.

But even though we already know the ending, the exciting battle scenes, growing friendships and love throughout the film make it all worthwhile right up until its devastating end.

3.5 out of 5 stars

Rated PG-13 for intense battle sequences, disaster-related action, and brief sexual content

Running time: 104 minutes