The Great WallCultureCinemaMovie reviews
What this film may lack in plot it has in relevance: it will most certainly be one of Trump’s top films of 2017. If it teaches us anything it is that even the greatest CGI walls can fall down, but luckily Matt Damon saves China from ultimate doom. William, a part-time Irish Damon, finds himself in Song dynasty China on a quest to discover gunpowder. His search takes him to a desert where he and his travelling companions are attacked by a man-eating monster that they successfully kill. Having lived up until this point as a mercenary soldier, he is compelled to stay in China as he has found a cause he believes in.
While William may have found a battle worth fighting for the audience is certainly not given a reason to keep watching. The plot is straightforward focusing on CGI and visuals more than anything else. At times it is stunning; the symmetry of the costumes and the actors are beautiful. The funeral scene where thousands or troops sing and light Chinese lanterns is perhaps the only genuinely moving moment. It often, however, is more like a computer game. The special effects team went slightly overboard on the number of monsters. Too much time was dedicated to Damon slaying the green creatures who – while never seeming to be overcome – where also not frightening enough to terrify the audience.
It feels like a Chinese filmmaker making an US friendly version of a Chinese blockbuster. Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal are icing on the cake for any American audiences. Arguably it would have been more exciting if rather than creating a fictional history of what lay beyond the wall they had instead delved into the real reasons the wall was made. It is a White Walker-inspired concept that captures none of the fear and mystery that Game of Thrones successfully creates.
The Great Wall is released nationwide on 17th February 2017.
Watch the trailer for The Great Wall here: