Mark Robyn

Mark Robyn
Celebrating the Joy of Writing www.markrobyn.com

Monday, March 6, 2017

The Great Wall 4 out of 10 C-
Warning: slight spoilers ahead.


The Great Wall with Matt Damon was very entertaining. It had performances that were sincere and authentic. The action was fun and the special effects were good. The scenes with the Chinese women warriors dropping to attack the aliens were really cool, as were all the battles scenes.
All that being said, there were some fundamental problems that I feel led to the move's poor performance at the box office.


First problem was the title. Just calling this movie "The Great Wall" is deceiving and might have led to the wrong audience. Many who came to this movie, I suspect, were expecting a war movie or a drama, and those type of people are not the type to enjoy the alien fantasy they found themselves watching.


Secondly, there was on real setup to explain why the creatures existed, or why they only appeared every sixty years. And why did no one seem overly surprised at these weird alien creatures appearing? There was no real horror on the faces of the soldiers, no real emotions at all except a resignation to fight.


Thirdly, there were some serious logic gaps. Why did the creatures retreat after seemingly winning the battle? Why did the Emperor's Palace not get over run at the end? And if the warriors arrived after the creatures had already attacked the city, there would probably be no one left to save, since there were at least ten thousand of the creatures. Also, why was Matt Damon so good with the bow? Was he a superman? And why would a mercenary suddenly become an explorer looking for black powder?


The makers of films sometimes tend to forget that the audience is very bright, and logic gaps such as this don't go unnoticed. If you make your world too unbelievable, the audience is going to check out.


How would I have fixed this movie? 
1. Create a larger, more interesting backstory. Make some scrolls or something showing these creatures coming to attack.
2. Make the creatures more interesting. They were very generic, even the Queen. It would have been much more entertaining if they were intelligent beings, maybe a little less powerful but with more reason to attack.
3. I would have held off exposing the aliens longer to build more excitement when they are shown. Have an alien attack a small group of soldiers or a caravan, slowly develop the war.
4. I would have given Matt Damon's character more motivation. Give him a real stake in the war. And also, give him more reason to turn from mercenary to hero. He seemed to change quite quickly, after having spent his whole life as a mercenary.


All in all, this movie was entertaining, but could have been much more.
Thanks for reading.

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