The Great Wall stars Matt Damon as William Garin, who arrives in China in time to help battle ancient monsters. The main plot of this movie is that the Great Wall of China was built to keep out dreadful monsters.
Set in AD 1010 in the time of the Song Dynasty, Garin and Tovar (Pedro Pascal) survive an attack by one of the monsters when they are exploring caves in China, they manage to cut off it’s hand and run for it, taking the hand with them, and they end up being captured by the army guarding the Great Wall.
They eventually join forces with the army and agree to help them fight the invasion that’s come early. Then the monsters attack and there’s weapons everywhere!
Now there’s more than several things wrong with this movie. Casting Matt Damon as the lead is very baffling! He’s not Chinese! The film ignores history, now some movies can get away with this, sadly this isn’t one of them.
Questions include: Why is there an army created to fight the beasts but not destroy them? Why only every sixty years?
If there were monsters afoot in 1010 then China wouldn’t be visited much – even by mercenaries word would have gotten around, particularly as this is supposed to happen every sixty years.
Were Europeans able to travel in 1010? The main port of travel was boats by sea and carts by land. It would take a very long time to get from one place to another. Surely gunpowder could’ve been obtained close to home? I’ve looked up travelling in the 11th Century and there’s no mentions of Europeans in the Song Dynasty or any main trade routes.
In the travels of Marco Polo – some of the Polo family were in China in the 13th Century but that was the Yuan Dynasty.
Why are there five divisions in the army? Why not have one master army capable of all feats of battle? The name ‘The Nameless Order’ doesn’t sound mysterious. Why not have the name of the monsters they were fighting? If it happens every sixty years – then people will get to know about them – hence secrecy is compromised. Why didn’t the monsters have better powers if they were supposed to be from outer space?
It might have made more sense if Garin was an explorer who had heard a legend and was coming to see if it was true. More of a type of quest, allowing more exploration of the origins of the monsters. This film decides to focus solely on the battles and there isn’t much more during the lulls. The dialogue and schemes between Garin, Tovar and Sir Ballard (William Dafoe) did not make up the gaps.
The timeline picked makes no sense and it seems more focused on the CGI of the monsters and the battle sequences.
I can only award 6/10 from me. CGI was good. But if you’re going to rewrite the past, make sure it’s believable! And please pick a Chinese actor for the lead for a film about China!
Image reproduced from Universal Pictures UK.
Trailer reproduced from Warner Bros.
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