It’s easy enough to bash big Hollywood-movies for saying they’re empty and stupid. And how other countries would fare better, if they’d ever been given a million-dollars to make a movie.
While this may be true, the opposite has been the case more often than not. Or how the Chinese are just as bad – perhaps even more so – than some of the lowest American blockbusters …
The great wall has pretty awesome special effects, that has to be said! The colors of the Chinese army, the vicious creatures that attack the Great Wall, the many different weapons employed to take down the enemy … it all looks quite impressive.
But – and this has been the case for nearly a 100 years of cinema – special effects will only get you so far … at some point you have to introduce some actual subject-matter into your movie! Otherwise you only have a visual show without any real character, right?
That’s where The great wall completely disappears into the mist. It has zero percent character depth: even the greatest heroes in this debacle are so hollow you don’t care if they live or die. The Chinese warriors all look the same, tiny Lego-puppets ready to go to war or be eaten by the creepy monsters.
This is a real pity, because with Chinese actress Tian Jing at the helm as Commander Lin Mei, things could’ve really gone a different way. Right now, she’s just another pretty face against an empty background of computer-generated images.
Willem Dafoe‘s character is so ungodly boring, the movie is actually better off without him. No really, the best scenes are the ones without him … he’s that dull!
Matt Damon on the other hand plays a historical replica of his career-defining character Jason Bourne. But instead of hand-to-hand combat, he’s now some ancient warrior armed with bow and arrow. And whaddaya know? He’s of course the very best there is …
Many attempts are being made to spice up the movie. Like casting Pedro Pascal as a sidekick for Matt Damon – you know him as Oberyn Martell of Game of Thrones – but it’s a cheap trick that holds no substance whatsoever.
The great wall lacks any decent storytelling, that’s probably the most frustrating thing. Instead of using the thousands of years of historical value the great Chinese wall has to give, the movie rather focuses on something as childish and simple as Chinese warriors fighting a group of monstrous CGI-beasts.
There’s literally nothing further to tell. If the soldiers kill the mama-beast, they win. If not, they lose. Character depth? Never heard of. Plot changes? Why bother? The great wall has only one original feat and that’s the location. The entire action takes place in and around the Great wall.
It’s really strange if you think about it, because Chinese director Yimou Zhang has made far better movies, like Hero with Jet Li or House of the flying daggers with Ziyi Zhang. I guess more money also means less story … because The great wall is easily one of his weakest entries.
I mean, seriously, was it so hard to implement a little story into this great battle, guys? What a waste of money and time …
Did you know?
This is the most expensive Chinese film ever made.
Give it to me short:
The great wall might look impressive on its first few minutes, with the mighty Chinese army dressed in blue, yellow, red and black outfits and armed to the teeth with many exotic weapons. Not to mention the Great Wall itself which – though obvious CGI – is nothing short of impressive. At times it looks like the filmmakers actually set foot over there. But it’s all for nothing. Because the movie does not create anything more than a cheap, lifeless visual effects show.
The creatures that attack the Chinese soldiers look like silly copies of far better monster-movies. The heroes that ought to inspire excitement are shallow warriors, and only mildly amusing to look at. The humor is mostly ill-timed. The plot is very weak and so predictable it does not create the slightest thrills and chills. Somehow you keep watching this movie – probably because it’s easy on the eyes – but when it’s over, you’ll realize you’ve been wasting your precious time with one of the cheapest popcorn-spectacles in recent years.