What do audiences want to see on President’s Day weekend? Apparently not The Great Wall, Fist Fight, and A Cure For Wellness, each of which opened to disappointing numbers. However, The LEGO Batman Movie, Fifty Shades Darker, John Wick: Chapter 2, Hidden Figures and even Split kept the box office above water, continuing to do strong business.
The Great Wall
The Great Wall has garnered controversy for its white savior narrative that finds Matt Damon, a white dude, saving an ancient Chinese dynasty from mythical monsters. But the most offensive thing about The Great Wall isn’t even the racial dynamic, or Damon’s painfully bad Irish/Scottish accent; it’s that Zhang Yimou, the acclaimed Chinese filmmaker behind Hero and House of Flying Daggers, has managed to make a movie this ugly.
While the controversy surrounding The Great Wall is unavoidable at this point, especially since every piece of promotional material has noted white American man Matt Damon superimposed onto shots of the most famous location in China, there are aspects of the film to look forward to, for those inclined to crane our necks to look past a few glaring historical inaccuracies. One of these aspects is composer Ramin Djawadi, one of the most versatile score writers working in film and TV today, who takes us through the “emotional journey” of The Great Wall in a new soundtrack featurette.
Matt Damon’s The Great Wall has already made a ton of headlines months before its release. And no wonder: a movie ostensibly about Chinese “history,” however fantastical, with a white American actor billed as the lead is bound to raise a few eyebrows. To help explain what is even going on with the plot of this movie and maybe why Damon’s character is in the film, Legendary Comics is releasing a prequel graphic novel called The Great Wall: Last Survivor.
From the time that the first images of Zhang Yimou’s upcoming historical epic The Great Wall came to light, the thorny matter of identity politics has hounded the film. In the period piece, confirmed white man Matt Damon portrays a heroic warrior that protects the Middle Kingdom’s greatest architectural and strategic achievement from an encroaching menace, and many frustrated online commentators have questioned the place of a non-Asian actor in a wholly Asian film. The term “whitewashing” cropped up all over, referring to the continued practice in the film industry of casting Caucasian actors in roles that could (or should) have otherwise gone to non-white performers. With a problematic pall still cast over the production and the February 17 release fast approaching, Damon spoke out on the issue in a new interview with the Associated Press, via The Hollywood Reporter, and attempted to assuage some of the public’s misgivings.
From Tilda Swinton in Doctor Strange to Scarlet Johansson in Ghost in the Shell, 2016 has seen a handful of white actors get cast in roles originally depicted as Asian. Whitewashing reached a new high these year, with multiple film and TV projects failing to represent Asian characters, and fans aren’t happy. Social media campaigns and online petitions have sprung up in response calling out Hollywood for continuing to erase Asian faces from screens.
When the first teaser trailer for The Great Wall debuted this summer, much of the internet responded in a collective thinking face emoji, wondering, why is a white dude the hero of an action movie set in China?
If the first teaser for The Great Wall piqued your interest, you’re in luck: Universal Pictures just released the first full-length theatrical trailer for The Great Wall as part of their New York Comic-Con panel on the film. Unlike the first trailer, here we actually get a good look at the monsters and an explanation for why Matt Damon and Pedro Pascal are fighting in China in the first place.
Do you enjoy Pacific Rim but find yourself thinking, “Hmm, this would be better if it were set in ancient China and they didn’t have any robots”? Then Matt Damon has the film for you. Over four years after it was initially announced, The Great Wall finally has a trailer, offering our first real look at the epic monster film from House of Flying Daggers director Zhang Yimou.
The cast of the upcoming action flick The Great Wall is shaping up rather nicely, and although it sounds like a historical drama, the film is anything but. Matt Damon has joined the cast alongside Willem Dafoe, Pedro Pascal and a roster of notable Chinese stars in the film from acclaimed director Zhang Yimou and Legendary Pictures, the folks who brought you Godzilla.