Turns out Zhang Yimou's The Great Wall isn't quite the trainwreck it has the repuation for being

Discussion in 'Mayberry Lounge' started by shadow_priest_x, Jul 17, 2017.

  1. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    I just got done watching it and I thought it actually was okay.

    I did not realize until I saw his name in the opening credits that this was a Zhang Yimou film. If the name doesn't immediately jump out at you, trust me, you almost certainly know him. He directed Hero with Jet Li, as well as The House of Flying Daggers and Raise the Red Lantern. So he's no hack director, not by a long shot.

    The first thing that jumped out to me with this film was the EXCELLENT production design. And I do mean excellent. In terms of the sets and costumes, it is amazing.


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    Now, the story is admittedly pretty simple. I remember when watching the trailers I was like, Why the fuck is a white guy a warrior in China? Well, Matt Damon plays a mercenary type who is traveling to China to obtain black powder. Circumstances dictate that he surrender himself to Chinese troops stationed at the Great Wall, and while there the Wall is attacked by a giant lizard army. Yeah. It sounds a little silly, and it is, but eh. So Matt Damon ultimately has to throw in his fighting skills to help combat the lizard army.


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    I don't love the story, and in fact, the action scenes were my least favorite part of the film. I mean, they're okay, but it's a big CGI fest and the CGI is in fact the low point of this film. While everything else looks SO GOOD, the CGI looks about one step above SyFy original movie fare.

    Personally, I mostly just enjoyed seeing Matt Damon's character mix with the locals and enjoyed the large-scale, epic look of the film. Oh, and this girl, Tian Jing, who is SMOKING hot and worth the price of admission alone.


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    All in all, I enjoyed this film more than I thought I would. While the whole thing about the lizard army wasn't something I found all that compelling, everything else about the movie was so well done that I still had a good time.

    It deserves better than the 35% it has on RT. Personally, I'll need to think about it some more but I think I'm feeling a 6.5 here.
     
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  2. HulkonViagra Soldier of Sinister

    HulkonViagra
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    I rented it from Redbox, seen a small partion of it due to them battling giant CGI lizards and then I just tuned out...I hate this overused CGI generation of movies
     
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  3. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    That part does suck and honestly I just tuned out a little when all the big CGI set pieces happened. Like I said, I thought everything else about the film was so good that it was worth watching just to appreciate the other elements.
     
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  4. STEVEN SEAGOLD Banned

    STEVEN SEAGOLD
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    FYI much of indigenous Central Eurasians were of Caucasoid influence
     
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  5. Ikuza Purple Belt

    Ikuza
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    It's a 6. I enjoyed the colorful armors, hot chicks, Chinese "steampunk" machinery and Oberyn showing up. But the paint by numbers story and Damon's accent and CGI and Damon's accent and everything else were meh.

    I can see why non-fans would give it a lower score and why that would translate to the lower RT percentage.
     
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  6. MadSquabbles500 Gold Belt

    MadSquabbles500
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    If north of Great Wall is lizard army, then where did the nomads come from, or at least what happened to the nomads?
     
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  7. HulkonViagra Soldier of Sinister

    HulkonViagra
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    I understand for some movies CGI is really necessary, but I think certain movies would have been way better had that not used so much of it if any at all... I am Legend really comes to mind...great story, but imagine if the deformed humans weren't all CGI...I think that movie would have been a lot better had they used real people in make up instead
     
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  8. loyalyolayal Gold Belt

    loyalyolayal
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    Smoking hot 404
     
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  9. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    Oh shit, I knew I had seen that guy somewhere! I was like, What do I know him from?

    I agree the story was weak, but I did like Damon's character and I also like the (somewhat heavy handed) moral message about living your life with purpose.
     
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  10. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    LOL, I wouldn't be trying to make this film conform to real history.

    Even at the beginning of the movie there's a message that says something like, "There are many stories about the Great Wall. Some are history, some are legend. This is one of the legends."
     
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  11. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    Are you saying the pic's not working for you?
     
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  12. Ikuza Purple Belt

    Ikuza
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    The monsters only attack every 60 years. Plenty of time for nomads to roam around.
     
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  13. loyalyolayal Gold Belt

    loyalyolayal
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    I'm saying, I live in Asia. I'm probably just immune to Beijing Dimes.
     
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  14. mushishi A is a, a is a, should I save her?

    mushishi
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    He directed one of my favorite films in To Live. Now he does propaganda for the Party.
     
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  15. europe1 It´s a nice peninsula to Asia

    europe1
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    I agree on okay. But for me, it would be more along the lines of a 5.5/10

    Pretty but overrated.

    Fantastic film.

    It does have this Chinese Opera feel in how a mass of people are transformed into a plethora of colours running around. Wouldn't call it excellent but it is easy on the eye.

    Frankly I thought the outlandishness of the lizards and their battle scenes was hilarious. Great Wall is obviously a spectable movie. And they went hard on the spectable. It helps that the movie is so focused on it's production design. Great Wall is a pretty shallow movie, an excuse to do Helm's Deep/The Wall in China, so the production design pretty much carries the film. But it's just fun in concept. Alien lizards taking on imperial China is just a fun-if-shallow premise. Sure much of it boils down to copious amounts of CGi which is virtually never a good thing, but that doesn't ruin it.

    Personally, I thought the human element was the biggest weakness of the film. Outside the scenes where Oberyn and Damon are on a rougish romp it didn't really work for me. Tiang is pretty but darn it if that's all she is. Or like that scene where the big fat general guy dies and were suppose to have this sad, emotionally profound moment with everyone lighting ballons at his funeral. Why should we care about that guy? His character has been nothing but perfunctory to that point. It's also a travesty when you have a guy as talentet as Andy Lau and he's almost equally perfunctioary.

    It's interesting how little world-building they threw into this film, which seems rather contradictory to modern filmmaking. The only background on these alien world-consumers we get is that they were summoned after an Emperor behaved badly (which makes some mythological sense since in China the rituals of the Emperor was thought to hold the order of the cosmos togheter, so an all-consuming foe like they seem oddly fitting).


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    Part of my want to write of the theme of the film as standard fantasy stock plot... but considering how heavily the Ruling Party of China are involved in their entertainment industry, it's probably all intentional.:D

    Talented but individualistic white guy has to realize that he is not the center of the world and learn the moral and organizational superiority of Chinese collectivism which he becomes a part of. As I said, I wonder what the Communist Party are trying to tell us here.:p
     
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  16. Organic Damage Alive and ticking inside

    Organic Damage
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    The last Zhang Yimou film I saw was Coming Home, which was not quite what I was expecting.

    I'd almost rather him becoming a party schill than churning out CGI schlock. Still kinda want to see this though.
     
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  17. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    You're a little bit tougher in terms of grading than I am. If I give a movie a 5.5 it means that I had almost no positive feelings toward it since a 5 would be a perfectly neutral score.

    But I did actually like some things about this film, and the things I did like, I really liked.

    I don't think it's on the level of the some of the other Chinese epics we got around that time, like Crouching Tiger or Fearless, but still a very good movie.

    It stood out to me immediately. Just look at the detail in the sets. It's amazing.

    You may want to give this a look:



    I was just like, "Eh, okay, humans have to fight monsters. Great." The battle scenes just seem like something we've seen so many times before, and the poor CGI doesn't help.

    I'm with you on the general's death, but it was obvious to me that that scene was just there to get Tiang's character promoted. A plot device and little more.

    But I did quite enjoy the interactions between all the main characters and I found everyone likable.

    LOL, yes, it did feel a bit propagandastic to me as well. But I nevertheless was able to appreciate the message of fighting not solely for yourself but for some greater purpose.
     
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  18. BisexualMMA Don't Put My Name in the Name of Steroids!

    BisexualMMA
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    So, better or worse than Gods of Egypt?
     
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  19. shadow_priest_x Titanium Belt

    shadow_priest_x
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    I say Gods of Egypt is just a little better. More meat on the bone, as they say.
     
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  20. chrisdiaz Orange Belt

    chrisdiaz
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    Watched this movie at work when our internet was out. That was the only reason. It was pretty terrible but not THAT bad, id say 5/10. The colorful suits kinda took away from the doom and gloom that was supposed to be happening. Meh is my best word for its description.
     
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