As those of you who have been reading my books for two years know, I'm a stickler for researching the scientific understanding of whatever I write about. Cenozoic mammals, earthquakes, epidemic diseases, crush injuries, whatever: I read a lot about them before I draft a novel. I often read too much--that is, more than I need. I bore my friends with "Did you know" type of monologues as I am researching. I wedge as much of that information into my novels as I can without stopping the action and boring you.
And I wish that Hollywood films, which reach a hundred thousand times as many people as my novels do, about these topics were also accurate.
They usually aren't.
But I can applaud the filmmakers of Pompeii. They did a number of things right. Pyroclastics -- bombs and ash and a nuee ardente -- are what this volcano produces and are what killed people (and will again. It's an active, dangerous volcano). They showed that you can't outrun a pyroclastic cloud pouring down a mountain. While making the eruption Hollywood exciting, they also made this fan of science happy.
The love story is perfectly adequate for such a movie. It's difficult to entirely avoid cheesiness in writing such a story. (a-hem) And Kit Harington's abs--man, that took some work. Fist-bump, dude. The disaster is really the star of the movie. A- from me.
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