REVIEW: THE GREAT WALL
Very rarely does one get to see a Hollywood production before it is released in the US and when the opportunity presented itself when THE GREAT WALL came to the Muscat screens, I lost no time in seeing it. And when I was slated to watch it in 3D and on the giant IMAX screen, I was looking forward to a spectacular experience. Part of my expectations were based on the trailer of the movie as also on the director Zhang Yimou, who is credited with directing the opening and closing ceremonies of the 2008 Beijing Olympics and the making of the visually powerful HOUSE OF FLYING DAGGERS.
It turned out to be a very satisfying visual and aural experience and held me in total awe for the just under two hours the spectacle was on the screen. Awe of the photography, awe of the special effects and awe of the simple legend narrated in such a powerful manner. By virtue of the fact that it is a legend being narrated, you will have to be prepared for unreal characters and their unreal abilities. If you prepare for this, then it is very likely that you will enjoy the presentation. Make no mistake: this is not a great piece of cinematic art, neither are the performances (Matt Damon plays the lead role) worthy of being lauded. They are just what are required in an exposition where actions speak more than words!
There are just three Hollywood actors in the ensemble of numerous Chinese actors; Jing Tian who plays the role of a commander is stunningly plain and beautiful. The shots of the flying lanterns stand out for the scale and the impact: one could just see the movie for these shots. The background score is operatic and perfectly matches the atmosphere of the movie. I am told that this is the most expensive movie shot totally in China; the co-producer Legendary Pictures has a Chinese ownership. One more interesting bit of information: Normally, I wait for all the credits to come on the screen in the end, but in this case it appeared to me that the credits were rolling for five minutes and were still continuing when the cleaning staff shooed me away. There were credits for everyone involved in the making: carpenters, painters, welders…..a remarkable way of thanking all those who work behind the scenes and who are seldom remembered!
RATING: 4 out of 5
January 13, 2017