Review – The Great Wall (2017)

the-great-wall-58a33d5fd0a00

the-great-wall-5854de394628eThe first thing that came to mind while watching the previews for The Great Wall was that some fan of Game of Thrones got fed up wanting to know what was past the frozen wall. Just what is coming with winter? What beasts lay beyond? I feel like someone wanted the answers so badly that they created this and just said the wall was “the great wall”.  Who knows, but I am including this in my reviews of 2017 films because, for Americans, it really didn’t come out until February of this year…so I don’t care that it’s technically 2016.

The Great Wall follows two mercenaries that are looking for as much black powder as they can get their hands on – you know…basically gun powder? When they are captured by the Chinese military at the Great Wall of China, they are sort of forced to help the Chinese fight off monstrous creatures that approach the wall every now and then. Not too bad of a deal, since they are somehow better soldiers than all of China, so there’s that.

I’ve only ever seen one trailer for this film, and it looked somewhat interesting, but I didn’t know enough about it to really expect anything other than, say, action. I figured there would be monsters of some sort or another, but I really pictured giant monsters like Godzilla or those things in Pacific Rim, or even dinosaurs like in Jurassic World. I expected something big, and well, when the actual monsters show up, I’m immediately thinking this is the pre-show…we’re waiting for the REAL thing to show up…and it never does. So keep that in mind. Don’t expect anything from this movie, because no matter what that is…it has a potential to disappoint you. Those tiny, dog-sized little monsters attacking everyone? That’s as tough as it gets. I guess there is a ton of them playing World War Z, so there’s that.

Now, I’m a fan of Matt Damon. I really am, but I don’t know where he was in this film. Sure, I see the actor in there, but he’s a proven actor, and I just don’t know what I’m seeing here. He’s just a random soldier without much history who knows how to fight monsters. Good enough, I guess, but I really wanted more from him. Everyone else is just there to look pretty…actually, they mostly look like the rebooted Power Rangers, but that’s another talk show. Matt Damon was essentially there to carry the film…and I believe he mostly lacked there.

This is mostly an unintelligent action film with a ton of violence, scenery, and graphics. Without a doubt, it’s nice to look at, but other than that…it has no real essence or reason to exist.

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PEOPLE SCORE (4/10)
Acting – 0|Characters – 1|Casting – 1|Importance – 1|Chemistry – 1

Alright, let’s get specific with it. As I said before, I don’t know who this is, but it can’t be Matt Damon, because the acting from him and everyone else is mostly atrocious, along with his strange accent. When you get into the Chinese folks, it looks like they were trying hard to speak English in all the right spots, but they had to dub over their own lines…and what comes out is really…unnatural, whatever it is…and Willem Dafoe is randomly in there. None of the characters have depth, and very little of them actually add to the plot. Finally, they intended to get some chemistry in there for the main girl and Damon, as well as Damon and his partner…but honestly speaking, no one knew the meaning of chemistry by the looks of it.

WRITING SCORE (5/10)
Dialogue – 1|Balanced – 1|Story – 0|Originality – 1|Interesting – 2

Next up, we look at writing, which again…wasn’t all that impressive. Nothing really stands out for this category other than, maybe, how interesting it is…which it is. The dialogue is unimpressive, there is no real story here…just action – and a ton of it. The story is a little convoluted at times, mainly because of the useless black powder storyline that only exists to give Matt Damon and his partner a reason to be there…which was a very weak choice, to be honest. Finally, do I consider this original? Not really, given how Game of Thrones was the first thing I thought of when I saw the trailer.

BTS SCORE (6/10)
Visuals – 2|Directing – 1|Editing – 1|Advertisement – 1|Music – 1

Moving right along in the world, as we’re now onto the stuff that’s important behind-the-scenes. I don’t think anyone will actually complain about the visuals. If there’s anything the film did absolutely right, that would probably it. It’s a good visual film with lots of things always happening. The directing could use some help, obviously, as it was a little convoluted. The editing was mostly just typical and what you’d expect. As I mentioned before, I was expecting something bigger from the monsters, and the music wasn’t terrible, but in the end, it was just basic stuff to move the story along, and not buy-the-soundtrack-it’s-so-good.

NARRATIVE ARC SCORE (8/10)
Introduction – 1|Inciting Incident – 2|Obstacles – 2|Climax – 2|Falling Action – 1

The narrative arc was mostly intact here, other than the very beginning and end. The introduction introduced us to the two “heroes” of the film, but didn’t really familiarize us with the monster mayhem. The inciting incident is when they are captured, the obstacles was obviously the war between the Chinese and the monsters, the climax is something mostly satisfactory, and the falling action was mostly what I’d consider unsatisfactory. There is a returning to the new norm in there, but truthfully, it’s weak, really weak.

ENTERTAINMENT SCORE (5/10)
Rewatchability – 1|Fun – 2|Impulse/Buy – 0|Impusle/Talk – 0|Sucks Audience IN – 2

Finally, we get into the entertainment category. As far as how rewatchable the film is, I’d consider it decent enough to check out again if the time arises, but I wouldn’t go searching for it. I do consider it a fun film that sucks the audience in, though. Why not? Lots of action and very little lulling moments. However, I have absolutely no urge to talk about it or even buy it.

SPECIALTY QUESTIONS
Action – 10|Matt Damon – 0|Fantasy – 10|Mystery – 5|Halfway Decent – 10

Alright, here are the questions I had before watching the film. I expected there to be some action, and nothing disappointed me there. I was wondering as far as Matt Damon’s career goes, is this a highlight? Nope, not really one I’d point out to someone inquiring about him. IMDb lists it as a fantasy, and I definitely concur there. I also wanted to know more about the mysterious creatures that lurk beyond the wall, and it’s not dealt with as a mystery, and the answer was a little unimpressive. Finally, I do consider this something that is halfway decent.

RATING: 63/100

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