Robbed of his birthright, Arthur comes up the hard way in the back alleys of the city. But once he pulls the sword from the stone, he is forced to acknowledge his true legacy - whether he likes it or not.
When a mercenary warrior (Matt Damon) is imprisoned within the Great Wall, he discovers the mystery behind one of the greatest wonders of the world. As wave after wave of marauding beasts besiege the massive structure, his quest for fortune turns into a journey toward heroism as he joins a huge army of elite warriors to confront the unimaginable and seemingly unstoppable force.Written by
The Universal logo appears quicker than usual, and after appearing it zooms into China, going all the way to a section of the Great Wall and through a crack in the section. During the zoom the Legendary Pictures logo appears (in reverse). See more »
The famous Great Wall was built to keep out the evil hordes: people with a lot of problems, drug dealers, murderers rapists, and (I assume) some good people. Wait a minute, wrong wall.
Regardless, The Great Wall embraces a new direction currently seen in filmmaking. Many movies, like Transformers 4, have featured Chinese locations prominently with the hope of getting into Chinese theaters. The rules to get into Chinese theaters are long and complex and the rules as to how much money an American studio can make from those theaters is even more complex. So, US-Chinese co- productions like The Great Wall could become the rule rather than the exception.
Consequently, the story behind how a movie like The Great Wall gets produced, is way more interesting than the movie itself. The Great Wall is movie where things happen not out of natural plot development or character motivations, things happen because the script says they happen.
The best example of this lack of plot development is the revelation that the creatures made it to the other side of the wall. How they accomplish this daunting feat is neither explained nor shown to the audience. Suddenly, a guard tells Matt Damon that it's happened and that's that. Perhaps the creatures paid a toll?
Speaking of which, the creatures and main villain of this movie are simply put ugly green poorly rendered computer dogs. Not creepy ugly like the Predator or Alien. Just ugly ugly. Additionally, they express no motivation or intelligence for their machinations beyond the need to get food for their queen. That's the limit of their complexity, this from the main antagonists throughout the movie.
I guess I could go into Willem Dafoe's role in the movie, but then I'd quickly be doing more work on his character than the script did. Further, Matt Damon's character has a friend (played by Pedro Pascal) that travels with him throughout the story whose contribution is nearly non-existent.
In fact, one could streamline this script and tell the same story with just Matt Damon's character and a selection of random guards. One could argue that all the extra story lines and characters are red herrings. However, that would imply that these elements at one time seem important. They never do. The movie is nothing more than generic throwaway monsters versus shallow throwaway heroes.
Sadly enough, some good ideas are here. For instance, to signal how they'll attack the creatures the soldier use drumbeats to unify their action quickly. This is not only a nifty military technique, but, more importantly, provides a good driving bass to the action and, unfortunately, is criminally underused here. The use of color on the Chinese soldiers is frequently beautiful. However, the way they attack the amassing hordes from the wall swiftly ranges from very cool to very stupid.
Presumably, they could create a decent video game from this movie, which brings us full circle to the techniques movie makers embrace to make money.
I watched trailers for this movie and although I didn't expect great art, I did think it could be dumb fun. Well, I was half right.
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