The Great Wall (2016)

The Great Wall‘s script is scattered with huge plot holes, about which is hard to stop thinking after leaving the cinema. And yet…

First aspect to point out: the 3D. I’m not fond of this technology and, although I’ve found it much more improved – the illusion of the depth perception is now extended to the whole image, not just limited to that object thrown towards the audience – it still doesn’t convince me. Images appear blurry and it’s very hard to appreciate fully the cinematography. Also the subtitle of the Mandarin dialogues are sometimes very hard to read, due to the 3D images.

Second: the plot. Skipping the choice of label the Taotie as alien, Gods’ punishment coming from a meteorite – I’d prefer a deeper trip in the Chinese mythology, that it could have led to a “crash” between Eastern and Western mentality, embodied in the Chinese soldiers and in the European mercenaries – the strangest thing is not the core of the story, but some of the things that characters say or make. The choice of not using heavily the “black powder”, considering that it seems impossible to stop these Taotie, for example. Or the wonder that William’s magnet causes in the strategist Wang (Andy Lau), as the compass, object that Matt Damon’s character knows (he says he could build it), should have been already invented, precisely in China. Another example is the big hole made in the Great Wall, that none of the thousands of men and women defending it noticed. Not forgetting the fact that thousands of monsters magically paralyze after the death of their queen.

Yet, how the Great Wall is described, all the defence systems and all the different regiments, as well the fighting and siege scenes are incredibly amazing. Eventually, The Great Wall is an involving movie, able to catch and keep the audience’s attention, putting the plot problems in the background.

Directed by Zhang Yimou and starring Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal as the Europe mercenaries William Garin and Pero Tovar, and Jing Tian (Commander Lin Mae), Andy Lau and Willem Dafoe, The Great Wall is a pleasant and enjoyable movie, that can be lightly watch. Maybe not in 3D.


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