Wednesday, January 11, 2017

The Great Wall opens in China first

Movie Title:  The Great Wall

Grade:  C+

Rating:  PG-13, 104 minutes

In a Nutshell:  China!  I went on a little speaking tour in China last summer and fell in love with the country, so it was fun to see bits of China again, even if a lot of it was through CGI.  

Still, there are some beautiful Chinese elements throughout the movie, including a lot of Mandarin, which is something I have been trying to learn for many months.

This visually stunning film was released in China first and features some of the biggest blockbuster actors in China.  Directed by Yimou Zhang, the film was made in China and cost the equivalent of $150 million dollars, the most money China has ever spent on a movie.  It’s only the second time an American-Chinese collaboration has created a feature film (the first one was Skiptrace, which I saw while I was in China).  Unfortunately, both movies fall short for most Americans.  Will it make a lot of money?  Absolutely…in China.  Not so much in the USA.

Here is a picture of me and my two sons when we were in China!

Uplifting theme: 
  • “All we can do is prepare.” – Strategist Wang (Andy Lau)
  • “Trust in each other in all ways and in all times.” – Commander Lin Mei (the beautiful Jing Tian)
  • Honor, respect, trust.

Things I liked:
  • I love Matt Daman in anything. 
  • I love Willem Dafoe in anything, although he’s a mousy coward in this one.  In fact, he was super annoying and I wanted him to die.
  • Beautiful, colorful costumes by Mayes Rubeo! 
  • Gives new meaning to base jumping.
  • Fun slow-mo shots.
  • You get to see the monsters up close.
  • I’ve always wanted to go to a Chinese lantern festival.  This scene in the film is so pretty.  Hopefully next summer I’ll see one when I go back to China!
  • Lots of humor.
  • It’s fun to see in 3D and on the big screen.  Visually, it’s impressive.
  • The musical score was invigorating.
Things I didn’t like:
  • A lot of the CGI and stunts look really good, but sometimes it’s pretty fake-looking.
  • Jurassic Park meets China.
  • The Chinese characters hold the moral high ground over the white guys in the movie.
  • The characters are very one-dimensional who suffer from poor dialogue that doesn’t give us much back story or reason to care about them.  The story could have really benefited from time spent exploring the theme of honor, respect, and trust.
  • The First Act was intriguing.  The Second Act was ok.  The 3rd Act was extremely predictable and silly.
  • There’s a lot of exposition.  don't TELL us everything. SHOW us.
  • I asked one of my friends in China what he thought of the movie.  He said, “It sucked.”   

Interesting lines:
  • “This is the first war I’ve seen worth fighting.” – William Garin (Matt Daman)
  • “I am alive because I trust no one.” – William Garin
Funny lines:
  • “I haven’t surrendered in a while.” – Pero Tovar (Pedro Pascal)
“It’ll come back to you.” – William Garin
  • “Maybe they’ll hang us now.  I could use the rest.” – Pero Tovar
  • “You smell like animals.” – (Willem Dafoe)
“Thank you.” – William
  • “I didn’t sign up for this.” – Pero
‘Which part?”- William
“All of it….but mostly the monsters.” – Pero
  • “We are honored to be honored.” – William
“Is that the best you’ve got?” – Pero
  • “So, how’s life without me?” – William
“A little slow.” - Pero

Tips for parents:

  • There are some scary monsters that might scare young children.
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