Last Thursday, my father treated my husband and I to a movie, and the three of us ended up seeing Matt Damon's new flick, The Great Wall. I had heard the bad reviews about it (one even went so far as to call it “whitewashed”), but I was curious all the same. So, I got my bucket of popcorn (with extra butter and ranch seasoning), plopped myself down in the mostly-comfortable seat, and prepared for an adventure. And I was not disappointed! Before I tell you more, know that major spoilers are ahead! The movie started out simply enough with a group of men being chased by bandits. Only three men got away (Damon's character included), but as they're camped out, they're attacked by a strange lizard-like creature. It kills one of the men (thank goodness for red shirts!) and Damon's character, William, along with Pedro Pascal's character, Tovar, kill the creature and survive. Unsure of what they've killed, they take the creature's arm in hopes that someone can tell them what it is. That's when the movie got interesting. The Great Wall of China is an impressive force to be reckoned with. The walls are teeming with solders and advanced weaponry, and they easily capture William and Tovar.
The wall is guarded by the elite Nameless Order, and when they find the arm among William and Tovar's possessions, they immediately gear up for war. And man, what a sight that is. The special effects are seamless, the battle music resonates in your bones, and everything is a well-oiled machine. It's not long before the creatures, an alien race known as the Tao-Ties, attack the wall. The fight scenes seemed well choreographed, and the various tactics used were pretty spectacular. As I watched, I got a lot of Mulan (with monsters) and Attack on Titan vibes...Especially with the Crane Squad. The Tao-Tie were formidable monsters and (thankfully) fairly unique in their design. They were a telepathic, hive-mind race that were controlled by their queen (much like Star Trek's Borg), and they got smarter as the movie went on. This forced our heroes to change tactics in order to stay alive. Overall, I thought it was a well done adventure. It has some bad reviews (Rotten Tomatoes gave it a measly 35%) but I thought the simple plot was all it needed. There were a few subplots, like Tovar's quest for black powder, that added an extra element, and plenty of betrayal to go around. There was also a romantic undertone between William and the female Commander Lin that, frankly, I could have done without. I give The Great Wall a 4 of 5. The fight scenes, music, and special effects were spot-on, though the plot was a little lackluster. However, I'm a fan of mindless action films like this, so I didn't mind so much. Have you seen it? Let me know what you think! The photos came from Rotten Tomatoes