The Great Wall

Reptilian adversaries storm The Great Wall
Will the Elves be arriving soon, please?Universal Pictures
Low 3 Stars (Time Fairly Well Spent)Why I Saw It: Press screening, and always curious for a perspective I’ll never have in real life (in this case, a military campaign from the Great Wall of China, vs. necessarily the monster battle, though that’s often fun).
What I Thought: Helm’s Deep meets Aliens (a very good thing!). Unfortunately, the excessive focus on cgi and unnecessary 3D get in its way, despite its customarily-impressive Ramin Djawadi score (Game of Thrones, Pacific Rim, Westworld). Many elements felt just a bit forced, leaving one unable truly to bond with the story: Matt Damon’s speech sounded like a Brit using an American accent, shots were framed simply for 3D effect and not to the advantage of the action (same as with Hugo), and elements included for impact were lost in their own absurdity (soldiers diving at the enemy from above landed as snacks into a pool of piranhas). If you can get past all this, The Great Wall isn’t a bad time at the movies, particularly for those on the younger side (it’s a solid PG-13 rating).

The Great Wall. Dir. Yimou Zhang. Perf. Matt Damon, Tian Jing, Pilou Asbaek, Willem Dafoe, Andy Lau, Hanyu Zhang, Lu Han. Universal Pictures, 2017.

A medieval-era mercenary and his sidekick find themselves swept into the Chinese army’s stand against a horde of monstrous creatures.

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