Saturday, July 1, 2017

Truly, a Great Wall

I watched The Great Wall (2017) because Ms. Spenser was out of town and this was something she didn't care to watch. It worked a lot better than the last time.

It starts with a small band of Europeans trekking to China in the 11th Century, hoping to bring back the explosive black powder. They are attacked by both bandits and monsters, until only two are left, Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal. The next day, they come upon the Great Wall, and are taken captive.

The Wall, in this story, was built to keep out armies and raiders, but also monsters. There is a Nameless Order (great name!) that protects it from these monsters, who attack in swarms. The NO has all kinds of cool tricks, like women with spears rope-dancing down the walls. Although the monsters are CGI, they aren't terrible CGI as I had feared - maybe not great...

So our European heroes are accepted by the NO, mostly because Damon is an expert archer. Now, I believe that it is required in these East-meets-West movies for the Westerner to be a bowman (see The Black Rose with Tyrone Power - my god, Orson Wells was in that!), so this is good. He has also fallen in love with the Jin Tian, the leader of the rope dancers. Meanwhile, his buddy and a westerner who has been stuck in China for a while (Willem Dafoe) are still plotting to get the black powder.

This movie didn't become the blockbuster that the producers hoped for, but I liked it. Director Zhang Yimou didn't get as much of his wild, colorful eye candy in here as I might have liked, but he kept it fun. Now I'm thinking I'll make Ms. Spenser watch it with me.

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