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Bennett Torres
Bennett Torres

The Great Wall 2016 Srt PORTABLE

You would think it would grow monotonous watching one humans vs. monsters battle after another on the same damn wall, and the 6 credited screenwriters clearly feared as much, [spoiler alert] choosing to transfer the action in the third act to an actual city. However, one of the bigger surprises of the film is how inventive it is in actually keeping the action fresh despite mostly taking place in the same setting.

The Great Wall 2016 Srt

ZHANG YIMOU: Indeed, this is the biggest film I have worked on. Working with a Hollywood studio, I have learned a lot. Hollywood studios are very experienced in filmmaking and this is worth studying. However, there are also many differences between Hollywood and Chinese filmmaking. So in order to collaborate, good communication is important. All in all, this type of partnership allows both sides to have a deeper understanding of each other. It opens the door, creates more opportunities for the future, and builds a great foundation.

The Great Wall roars to life with a thunderingly invigorating English/Chinese Dolby Atmos mix. From the first frame to the last, the sound design is intense and sucks you into the picture. While the opening moments when William and Tavor are trying to escape some bandits sound great, the film really comes to life during that first big battle sequence. As each battalion is called into action, they're each given their own war drum command. It's the heavy LFE that rumbles out of those drums that really gets the blood pumping. Toss in the screeches from the Taotie, the war screams of the fighters, and the heavy explosions and you have a track that was made for Atmos systems. Even in the quietest scenes, there is a constant sense of immersion. Space and dimension are well defined throughout. Levels are even and never require adjustments - but I would suggest you keep things on the loud side. I was grateful my immediate upstairs neighbors were out of town so I could really let my sound system rip loose.

Considering the wonder of the titular structure found within The Great Wall, this film hardly lives up to the name. But it isn't a complete disaster either. For lovers of schlock cinema, you've got another great flick to gather like-minded friends around and have had a good laugh at. It can't be taken seriously and should be seen the same way one would watch something like the 1998 Godzilla - with tongues planted firmly in cheek. While the movie itself may not be the most amazing thing to come to disc, that didn't stop Universal from putting out a quality 4K UHD release. With a beautiful 2-D only transfer that enjoys a clear improvement over its Blu-ray counterpart, an incredibly loud and dynamic Dolby Atmos mix, nice assortment of bonus features, I'm calling this one as being worth a look. Grab some friends, good food, and a drink or two and have some fun. The Great Wall was built for fun.

The Great Wall (2016), story by Max Brooks, Edward Zwick & Marshall Hershkovitz; screenplay by Carlo Bernard & Doug Miro, Tony Gilroy; directed by Zhang Yimou. Distributed by Universal Pictures (cinemas here). Grade: B+

I admittedly steered clear of this for years due to long being sick and tired of movies tainted by the white savior trope and all the implications it carries. And unsurprisingly, Damon inevitably becomes "the great white hope" figure in this, which is annoying as fuck. But...


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