The Great Wall online movie review - An easily misunderstood movie
I love the movie. If you haven't decided yet whether to watch it or not, well, it is a very entertaining popcorn flick with a LOT of monsters. Enjoyable to look at and pleasant to listen to.
Here I just want to point out a few facts about the movie that many people might get wrong, mostly because of their preconceptions.
First, there are apparently some "white savior" moments in the movie, but there are also a lot of "Chinese savior" moments. So who saves whom doesn't really matter. The wall was miles long and there were hundreds of thousands of monsters, so Matt Damon shooting down three of them doesn't really make that much difference. The true contribution that he made in the movie was that he helped capture a monster alive with his whaling experience in Spain, which makes perfect sense because the other characters, living in inland areas, probably hadn't seen a whale in their life. People simply have different experiences and helping out each other is great.
Second, the relationship between the male and female protagonists was not a romantic one. In the end, they became two soldiers who understood, admired and trusted each other. It is not a clichéd love story. So, the white guy did not get the Asian girl -- and there is nothing wrong if they did love each other.
Third, the movie is very fast paced and full of details. Reserve your judgment when you think there is a plot hole or something like that. Have a happy discussion with others before rushing to an angry or condescending conclusion. For example, I noticed someone mentioned in his or her review, as an example to show how stupid the movie is, that the catapults could not move and yet could hit the target at different spots. The fact is the catapults could move and the movie spent one second showing you exactly that. Also, the Crane Corp, which I heard many people claimed to be useless, was actually practical and powerful in killing and distracting the monsters in that the only weak spots of the monsters were the eyes, which were difficult to aim at from far away, and the monsters were much more dangerous horizontally than vertically.
Last but not least, I'd like to talk about the message of the movie. Some people think the movie just wants to make money. Some think it is China's propaganda tool. While I believe there is some truth in both arguments, the movie can be interpreted from a much brighter perspective and is by no means meaningless. Actually the movie has so many meanings that it struggles a little bit to deliver all of them. Trust, greed, courage, sacrifice, and so on. Too many for the movie to have a definite and strong theme. One interesting interpretation I read is that the movie intends to convey that the US and China should work together to defeat terrorism, the core of which is an ideology whose iconic color is also green (like the queen of the monsters). My own understanding though is one simple message: what truly differentiates us is not race or culture, but what we believe and how we act. Not a wholly fresh idea but definitely a peaceful one, especially from a U.S.-China co-production.
To put it in a nutshell, the movie is much smarter and much more considerate than many people think. I hope there will be sequels or prequels that can be even better.