The destruction of ‘Pompeii’ re-created for the movies, could happen again
If the 79 A.D. Plinian eruption did happen today, the effects would be just as devastating. Naples and the surrounding area have a population of 3 million, and about a half million people live at the base of the volcano. About 25,000 people live in modern Pompeii, where construction crews are redeveloping the slope of Mount Vesuvius.
The effects of the explosion would reach all around the globe and cause a climactic shift, Lopes said.
"If there was one like the A.D. 79 eruption, it would impact probably over a million people," Lopes said. "It (would) actually block some of the sunlight, so the global temperatures get a little cooler. That only lasts for a year or two with eruptions of the magnitude of Vesuvius."
When the epic gladiator battles and love story give way to the Plinian eruption at the end of "Pompeii," the movie, for the most part, accurately shows the events that followed, including the large tidal waves that washed into city streets, said Lopes, who attended an advance screening.
"There was definitely artistic license in making that wave really big," Lopes said. "Nevertheless, a little artistic license and exaggeration is OK because it’s not a documentary, it’s a drama."
"They did a great job in very carefully reconstructing and reimagining the way the buildings were reconstructed," Yeomans, who also saw "Pompeii" at an advance press screening, agreed.
"They did a great job with the streets." she added. "The layout was pretty accurate, looking from above."
For Harington, the film’s star, being part of Pompeii’s destruction reminded him of when he briefly studied geology in college; he even traveled to Iceland to learn about tectonic plates and rocks.
"As I went along, I thought, ‘Is this accurate to how it occurred, or are we making (nonsense) here?’ " Harington said.
Harington said he fact-checked the moviemakers afterward by going to Pompeii alone. He got lost, but an elderly tour guide took him under his wing.
"I felt we had done justice to how that town looked, and it was quite amazing being under the shadow of Vesuvius," Harington said. "It’s much bigger than you think it’s going to be. It’s not just a few streets. It’s a whole town."
Lopes and Yeomans both said they enjoyed "Pompeii."
"Especially with the CGI we have now, I’m really glad that they took on this project," Yeomans said. "Anything that gets people interested in science and history, I’m up for."