Hot Take: They made The Great Wall. It’s a huge disappointment… and the audience is going to pay for it.
If you choose to see The Great Wall, realize you are in for an absurd spectacle. Realize this isn’t based on any reality as the scrolling narrative explains at the top of the movie. Realize Matt Damon is the star and he can’t quite decide which accent he’s using from scene to scene. Realize the movie tries to be funny and is funny but rarely when it tries to be. Realize director Zhang Yimou makes spectacular visuals with a flair for the outrageous but couldn’t care less if the story works. Realize the story is the least important aspect of the movie. Realize all of that, lower your expectations accordingly and you should only be slightly disappointed in The Great Wall.
If I can say one thing positive about The Great Wall, it does a good job of maintaining a serious tone while not taking itself seriously at all. There’s no delusions of an epic here. It’s a popcorn flick. It’s a really, really poorly constructed popcorn flick with an emphasis on visuals and Matt Damon is merely present to give the movie a nameplate to show off above the title. He adds little else to the pic other than the previously mentioned inconsistent accent. Then again, his character — William Garin — speaks of fighting for many flags at one point so maybe that’s where the revolving accent comes from? We’re grasping at straws here.
The good news is if you move forward with watching this movie despite the rampant warning signs that it would be a complete waste of time, it’s at least entertainingly bad. It has unintentionally funny moments surrounded by less funny intentional attempts at humor. The mythical monsters (called the Tao Tie) act very much like the raptors from Jurassic Park or maybe it was the ones from Lost World: Jurassic Park. No, it was definitely the ones from Jurassic Park III. Maybe. The only difference being the only way to kill these monsters (I think) was to shoot them in the eye or blow them to smithereens with the coveted and dangerous black powder. Yup! You’re getting the ridiculousness of this movie now, aren’t you?
So, set your expectations low or skip The Great Wall altogether. It’s the only way to avoid frustration from consuming the finished product.
“Spoiler Free” Pros
- A 3D Delight
While the movie is disappointing, if you happen to see it in 3D, some of the effects are pretty impressive and its a rare plus seeing The Great Wall in that medium.
- Tian Jing
The 27-year-old Chinese actress has the most prominent role in the film outside of Damon and is impressive as the charismatic Commander Lin. She’ll be in the upcoming releases Kong: Skull Island later this year and Pacific Rim: Uprising in 2018.
“Spoiler Free” Cons
- I’m Wasting Matt Damon
Damon’s character could have been played by practically any actor. He was there for the clout of his name and little else. He could have at least slipped into a Boston accent at some point, he tried all the others.
- For All of the Action That Takes Place, It’s Actually Quite Dull
Thanks to it’s razor thin plot and one dimensional characters, there’s very little to care about as we’re bombarded with action scene after action scene. It’s not an epic but it will be an epic failure at the box office.
- Cosplay Porn
The movie went heavy on the outfits and pageantry which visually works well but the costumes remain a little too shiny and new even after a few battles with the Tao Tie.