Its pretty obvious from the millions of pictures of it online that China’s ‘Great Wall’ remains standing. The answer of how much remains, or even how long it once was depends very much on who you ask, but what we do know is that neglect, and a lack of effective conservation means that its slowly disintegrating. However, it remains that there is still thousands of miles of wall for modern visitors to choose from.
Given that there are clearly some issues around the lack of funds being spent on the wall, and absolutely miles of wall to choose from, its interesting that 2016 monster film ‘The Great Wall’ seems to have been made with an entirely CGI wall. Surely, even with some embellishment in the CG studio, filming just a couple of scenes on an actual, pre-built, historically accurate wall might have been a smart starting point for this movie. An added bonus could have been a little contribution to the upkeep of the wall, and given that you can, apparently, go on a day trip to the wall from Quigdao (where most of the film was made) it doesn’t even seem like a big ask.
This would have made sense, but like everything else in the movie, things that make sense are apparently not a part of the process. Matt Damons insane accent opens the film, because someone decided for no discernible reason that he should be Irish, or perhaps American…or maybe Spanish/English. Then there is the guy who does all the cooking in full armour. Then there is the really effective weapon that is only deployed momentarily in the second battle (after lots of people died in the first one). Then there is all the female warriors (great!) who are ostensibly only there because they are lighter than male warriors (not so great!). In fact, there is really nothing in this movie that makes any sense at all, every scene is plagued with strange and incomprehensible decisions.
Forgive it perhaps, as an epic spectacle, then retract this as you realise that no matter how many giant monsters come at the protagonists, you don’t really care whether they live or die at all, because at a (thankfully) short 101 minutes long there isn’t time to explain why anyone does what they do anyway, let alone spend some time fostering a connection with the audience.
Anyway, as we watch Matt Damon (a white guy) come and save some Chinese people from some monsters they have apparently been fighting off successfully for over 600 years, its worth remembering that whoever made this film didn’t even take five minutes to consider whether it might be a good idea to shoot some film at the wall they were making a film about, so all of the other egregious decisions really are just part of whatever special process was used to make this mess.