Director: Yimou Zhang
Starring: Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Pedro Pascal
William (Matt Damon) and Tovar (Pedro Pascal) are westerners embarking on a foreign land near the Great Wall of China. When mysterious creatures and ancient relics are found, they inquire local Chinese Commander Lin Mae (Tian Jing) about what these sightings mean. In this process, they find out the truth about the wall and some of the history behind why it is crucial to the survival of the Chinese.
What The Film Did Well:
From a visual perspective, this movie was great. The CGI created monsters were appealing and yes, you could tell they were CGI but it didn’t distract from the movie. The monsters did not seem rushed in the slightest and some of the better CGI made creatures that I have seen in recent memory. Other than CGI, some of the smaller landscape shots when they were riding on horseback were really beautiful as well and having those types of shots spread out in-between CGI shots were well used and made the movie more realistic from a props and live action point of view.
The story and mythology pertaining to the wall the Chinese people was great. Although it was obviously not realistic or historically accurate it was a fun fantasy story that took place. I like the story from the Chinese point of view and the lore behind the great wall a lot better than the story behind Matt Damon’s character and the other western civilization characters in this movie. I would have liked them to continue to expand on the Chinese legends and mythology behind the great wall because when they did this it helped the entirety of the story flow more smoothly.
The action sequences were well done and spaced out perfectly. There are about two or three total fifteen plus minute action scenes or battles that were a great addition to this movie. I felt that I was most invested in this movie when these action scenes were occurring and that’s not what I was expecting. From the trailer, this seemed like it was going to be a movie in which there as a big build up to one huge thirty minute pay off, but turned into smaller build ups to equally satisfying payoffs.
Out of all the actors, I felt that Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones) and Tian Jing (Kong: Skull Island) were head and shoulder above everyone else. Pascal was a supporting actor in this movie, but at times I had wished that he was the lead, instead of Matt Damon. His character was more likeable and he simply just did a better job than any of the other male actors in this movie. Tian Jing played Commander Lin Mae and I was much more invested in her story and how she was coming into power the most interesting plot line throughout this movie.
What The Film Didn’t Do Well:
Matt Damon seemed very unnecessary for this movie. He didn’t even try to have an accent or play a character from that part of the world. Not once did I think to myself: oh, that’s the character William, not Matt Damon. I think this movie could have been as good if not better without Matt Damon as the lead. I get why they put him in it and because this movie was made up of good Chinese actors and actresses that no one has really heard of, it would be incredibly difficult to get the budget to make in in the United States and promote it well without the star power of someone like Matt Damon.
Willem Dafoe was also pretty damn bad throughout this movie. His character, like Damon, was not believable and seemed like he mailed in this performance. I did not find his character that crucial to the plot or direction they were trying to take this movie. He also did not even try to get into character and Dafoe looked lost and acted like he accidently wondered on set one day and just started to roll with this character. Now, this might not be the fault of the actors entirely because the writing and dialogue they were given was nothing to rave about.
Like I mentioned before, the story of the wall from the perspective of the Chinese was great, but when they try to force in William’s story it interrupts the flow of the movie. I would have rather had them focus on the mythology and lore of the Chinese. Instead they try and force a plot that was not necessary to the progression of the movie.
Going into The Great Wall, I had rock bottom expectations. It exceeded those, which does not say a whole lot, but it gets a 4.0/10. It relies on good visual effects both pertaining to the monsters throughout the film and the environment in which it takes place, but falls short in terms of performance.
What do you think? Did you see The Great Wall? Is, so comment your thoughts below! What other movies do you want to see a review of? Remember to subscribe to get updates on new posts!