My husband and I have enjoyed going to movies as much for the viewing experience as the actual flick. We choose opening nights for certain shows simply because of what happened when we watched Snakes on a Plane. We knew that was going to be crazy, but we didn’t expect to find a kinship with others who were there for the same reason. It made the whole night so much more fun.
So when we first saw the trailer for The Great Wall, we knew we were in.
And when our local theater promoted an IMAX Fan Event, date night plans were made (hello extended Valentine’s celebration!). Knowing the theater had only sold 11 tickets by the time we left to get there only made things better. Popcorn, souvenirs, AND room to breathe. Ahhhhhh.
We knew little of what to expect. The trailer made it seem like there might be dragons…or hordes of zombies reminiscent of World War Z. I hoped for the former. There were neither. =)
It’s important to note that going in with few preconceived notions makes it a lot easier to enjoy the story, because you’re not worried about it living up to anything, and it’s free to be what it is.
In the end, as the opening studio logos rolled, I just wanted it to be good.
The first spectacular thing for me was all the rich colors. My ever-knowledgeable husband says this director is known for his use of color in his films and that’s a big thing that draws me in. The different colors and styles for the armor were enthralling, as were the different fighting styles.
Yeah, I haven’t seen a battle use a wall so well. Ever.
And I was enjoying it so much that I didn’t realize until the end that I’d seen a weapon used that I’d made up for my novel. So so cool!
That Matt Damon is awesome goes without saying. So was Jing Tian. And oh my goodness did I love the women’s role in the fight.
I had similar ideas for fighting styles in my novel, but seeing it on the big screen was even better than what was in my head. Awe. Pure awe.
Though this is fantasy, there are things I imagine are logical for the time period, and certainly for the story. Just because they had gunpowder didn’t mean they’d perfected every use for it. Yet, they were pretty inventive with it.
Yes, there’s death and gore. But the whole thing was very well done. I have no criticisms because we got exactly what we were hoping for: a fantastic experience with a movie we didn’t have to turn our brains off to watch. Intelligent story, great characters, and action that leaves you breathless and saying, “What a ride!”
This movie is not for the feint of heart (or stomach), but is very enjoyable.
(Movies it makes me think of for slight comparison: 13th Warrior, Reign of Fire, John Carter, LOTR The Two Towers, Pacific Rim, Braveheart)