HOLLYWOOD—I thought “Fifty Shades Darker” was a bad movie, but it looks like 2017 might have another contender for Worst Movie of the Year: “The Great Wall.” The highly anticipated flick starring Oscar-winner Matt Damon, with visionary director Zhang Yimou is a complete mess.
The movie fails not because of the actors involved, but because of a script that is completely devoid of human emotion, no clear direction and just uninteresting. The movie touts itself as being some epic mystery about a creature from beyond; a creature so dangerous and treacherous that ‘The Great Wall of China’ had to be built in order to keep the threat at bay. Damon portrays William Garin, a member of a mercenary group, search for gunpowder. Along their mission they are attacked by an unknown creature, where a limb is dispatched from the monster.
William and his pal Tovar (Pedro Pascal) find themselves captured by Chinese soldiers for invading The Great Wall. Amidst the chaos, The Great Wall is attacked by the Taotie. Now, that is where I am slightly annoyed by this movie. You get the impression that the threat might be some sort of monster/dragon, not an invasion of alien creatures that are slightly reminiscent of those little creatures that evolved from those eggs in the movie “Alien.” They are threatening, but this film gives one the impression that they are watching an action-adventure, not a sci-fi movie. I was completely, and I mean completely thrown off by the genre-bending in this flick.
As a spectator, I feel hoodwinked, and the pacing is so slow. I fell asleep at least 2-3 times I can remember from watching the movie. However, “The Great Wall” falls victim to what so many flicks that rely on visual effects do: narrative matters. I can rarely remember a film of visual accomplishments that did not already have some sort of narrative to begin with. Visuals cannot save a bad script; visual effects heighten a film that is already good to begin with.
While the production sets, some of the stunts and the visual effects in “The Great Wall” are worth chatting about, they don’t save this flick from turning into a Sunday matinee (at home, in front of the TV), when there is nothing else to do or anything else on TV. There are no acting powerhouse performances that will leave people talking, the plot is lackluster at best, and it’s a waste of talent from Matt Damon who seems to waddle around like he has nothing to do. “The Great Wall” might give “Fifty Shades Darker” a run for its money as a winner for the 2018 Razzies when they are announced next year.