Keep up-to-date on your favourite artists and movies, track gig and release dates, and join in the conversation.
SEARCH RESULTS FOR
Wake up - Daniel dives into the monumental animated classic 'Sleeping Beauty' on a brand new episode of Ink & Paint - click to listen now!x
review, The Great Wall, The, Great, Wall, film, movie, latest movies, new movie, movie ratings, current movie reviews, latest films, recent movies, current movies, movie critics, new movie reviews, latest movie reviews, latest movies out, the latest movies, review film, latest cinema releases, Australian reviews, cinema, cinema reviews, Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal, Tian Jing, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Lu Han, Zhang Hanyu, Lin Gengxin, Eddie Peng, Zhang Yimou, Action, Adventure, Family film rating

THE GREAT WALL

★★

CRUMBLES BEFORE YOUR VERY EYES

THEATRICAL REVIEW
LATEST REVIEWS
By Charlie David Page
12th February 2017

Just like every other industry, film production is finding new ways of boosting its bottom line, whether it be through co-productions, a myriad of backers or investors, or smarter marketing. One of the biggest targets of the past few years have been co-productions with China or Hollywood films featuring Chinese actors. With a population of approximately 1.39 billion people and a growing middle class, China offers a massive amount of potential. 'Now You See Me 2' only made $US65 million in America, versus the US$97 million it took in China - and all from setting part of the film in Macau, giving Jay Chou a minor roll, and deliberately choosing to feature him on the poster. Now, in possibly the biggest co-production gamble yet, 'The Great Wall' is the most expensive film ever shot entirely in China, whilst featuring a smattering of international actors to provide a global appeal. Following a warm reception in China, will the rest of the world take the bait?

Set in the Song dynasty, two foreigners, William (Matt Damon, 'Patriots Day') and Tovar (Pedro Pascal, 'Game Of Thrones') are all that remains of a mercenary group searching for mythical black powder. Captured by a Chinese military order who guard The Great Wall, they soon find themselves in an aeons-old battle against an army of hideous monsters. As the fighting escalates, they must decide whether to escape with fellow prisoner Ballard (Willem Dafoe, 'Finding Dory') or stay and help protect the world from being overrun by these hideous creatures.

'THE GREAT WALL' TRAILER

First off: the numbers speak volumes. The film was made for US$135 million, growing to around US$150 million when including the marketing budget. Debuting in China in December 2016, the film has made over US$170 million there already, and nearly US$220 million internationally, without yet opening in a few key regions such as the UK, Australia and United States. With that healthy profit, and presumably more to come, 'The Great Wall' could theoretically be seen as a success.

The problem is, this is an absolute travesty of a film. There accusations of "whitewashing" and enabling the "white saviour narrative" - yet I believe these are some of the least of the film's problems. The biggest are the visual effects, which look half-finished, completely amateurish and entirely unbelievable. This is a shame, as industry stalwarts Industrial Light & Magic were in charge of this department. Watching the trailer, the swarming monsters may also seem a little reminiscent of 'World War Z'. That's no coincidence either - 'World War Z's' writer Max Brooks was responsible for conceiving the story of 'The Great Wall'. However, there are some interesting (if not somewhat ridiculous) Cirque du Soleil-like stunts in the action sequences that are quite impressive.

The problem is, this is an absolute travesty of a film.

If the visuals aren't enough to put you off, the combined appalling dialog and terrible acting should. Every line from the mouths of Damon, Dafoe and Pascal is either desperately slapstick or uncomfortably clunky, as though converted from Mandarin to English using Google Translate. To add insult to injury, these three accomplished actors would appear more comfortable in 'Monty Python and the Holy Grail', providing very little depth, emotion or interest outside of the action scenes. The Chinese cast truly show these three up, with Tian Jing a clear highlight - poised, controlling, powerful and authoritative, she has a brilliant command of the screen.

Artistically, this is one of the worst examples of a co-production in a long time. Rather than being polished and slick, it comes off as cheap and nasty, shambolic, lacklustre and, at times, unbearably cringe-worthy. There's very little positive to say about this messy, unappealing film - and yet, perhaps it's all irrelevant, since from a financial standpoint, it's done exactly what it was made to do. From a creative and cultural perspective, perhaps it would have been better if 'The Great Wall' was left in the hands of the Chinese.

FAST FACTS
RELEASE DATE: 16/02/2017
RUN TIME: 1h 43m
CAST: Matt Damon
Pedro Pascal
Tian Jing
Willem Dafoe
Andy Lau
Lu Han
Zhang Hanyu
Lin Gengxin
Eddie Peng
DIRECTOR: Zhang Yimou
WRITERS: Carlo Bernard
Doug Miro
Tony Gilroy
PRODUCERS: Jon Jashni
Peter Loehr
Charles Roven
Thomas Tull
SCORE: Ramin Djawadi
www.thegreatwallmovie.com
thegreatwallmovie
thegreatwall
thegreatwallmovie
TOP-RATED REVIEWS
Pocahontas - 25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
TRENDINGPOCAHONTAS25 years later, the colours of the wind are fading
High Ground - Australia's cycle of violence
TRENDINGHIGH GROUNDAustralia's cycle of violence
Jungle - A true story told poorly
TRENDINGJUNGLEA true story told poorly
The Violin Player - Sex and strings
TRENDINGTHE VIOLIN PLAYERSex and strings
The World at War - The landmark documentary series restored in high definition
TRENDINGTHE WORLD AT WARThe landmark documentary series restored in high definition
The Secrets We Keep - They kept a big secret... this movie is mediocre
TRENDINGTHE SECRETS WE KEEPThey kept a big secret... this movie is mediocre
xXx: Return Of Xander Cage - The good, the bad and the ugly
TRENDINGxXx: RETURN OF XANDER CAGEThe good, the bad and the ugly
Revisiting 'Dark City' 20 years later - The most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
TRENDINGREVISITING 'DARK CITY' 20 YEARS LATERThe most underrated and influential sci-fi film ever?
Summerland - Sweet and sentimental
TRENDINGSUMMERLANDSweet and sentimental
Wrath of Silence - Action-filled mystery and scathing social critique
TRENDINGWRATH OF SILENCEAction-filled mystery and scathing social critique
Underwater love - Seven films to watch before 'The Shape of Water'
TRENDINGUNDERWATER LOVESeven films to watch before 'The Shape of Water'
Penguin Bloom - An inspiring true Aussie film
TRENDINGPENGUIN BLOOMAn inspiring true Aussie film
Music - Sia's feature debut falls flat
TRENDINGMUSICSia's feature debut falls flat
The Trouble with Being Born - Controversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
TRENDINGTHE TROUBLE WITH BEING BORNControversial, unsettling and intelligent science-fiction
Dark Whispers Vol. 1 - A spooky anthology from Australia's female horror directors
TRENDINGDARK WHISPERS VOL. 1A spooky anthology from Australia's female horror directors
Boxing Day Movies 2020 - The year's biggest films bursting onto cinema screens
TRENDINGBOXING DAY MOVIES 2020The year's biggest films bursting onto cinema screens
Rams - Baaa-ck off
TRENDINGRAMSBaaa-ck off
Descent - Freediving from the depths of the human psyche to its peaks
TRENDINGDESCENTFreediving from the depths of the human psyche to its peaks
25 Free-to-Watch Short Horror Films - The scariest shorts we uncovered online
TRENDING25 FREE-TO-WATCH SHORT HORROR FILMSThe scariest shorts we uncovered online
Another Round - What a beautiful, beautiful ride
TRENDINGANOTHER ROUNDWhat a beautiful, beautiful ride
© 2011 - 2021 midnightproductions
All rights reserved

Support SWITCH | Disclaimer | Contact Us!