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The Great Wall Movie Review (2016) | Typical Monster Flick

The Great Wall movie is one of those monster flicks that starts abruptly without offering you any perspective. Unlike mythical horror movies that are built on sheer horror and tons of suspense, The Great Wall movie doesn’t bank on the fear factor rather chooses to go with the action platitude to the finish line. It ends up becoming a resounding dud shot when you can see through a plot that sounds very cliched, can feel the shallowness of its scenes and literally read the flick’s apparent contrivance.

Theme and Plot of The Great Wall Movie

The Great Wall movie tried to cash in on the myth surrounding China’s biggest miraculous defense. It created a story out of a mere lore and tried to throw in some tangible veracity to it. Yes it shows the wall in a light that would leave children fantasizing for days.

In doing so, its writers made the wall something it couldn’t have possibly been even in a dream. The movie tried to aggrandize the then extant Song Dynasty scenes with epic armies that acted tough and in unison. They responded pretty well to each other using signs and noises a normal guy couldn’t possibly register.

Max Brooks, Edward Zwick and Marshall Herskovitz created alien mythical monsters that visited every 60 years trying to overrun the planet with huge numbers. At the center of them is a queen, a gigantic monster who stays protected by her very own circle of trust er…monsters who do not let anyone get near her. She is calling the shots for her race and yes, she is literally yowling for a boss fight.

matt damon and pedro pascal in the great wall movie

Imperial Court has assigned the job of protecting its realm to a military order called The Nameless Order. Our hero William portrayed by Matt Damon who is way too heroic for a hero, and who barely makes mistakes, is a complete badass with his bow. He has Tovar played by Pedro Pascal for a sidekick who keeps questioning his choices. Both are mercenaries who accidentally run into the Imperial Court in their search for black powder, an ancient moniker for what we brand today as gunpowder.

Willem Defoe‘s character Ballard was terribly written. You could feel him disappear without any bang, oh wait! there was one for him alright. Pleasant escape!

The Good Things

If you try to focus on the good things the movie retains the first thing would be the music by Ramin Djawadi. He is capable of giving you goosebumps with his score. You could feel that emanating through the reverberation that drums produced in The Great Wall movie’s trailer.

Then there is that rare grim attitude Matt Damon wears most of the times, where you can see him delivering lines with a steady resolve. There is one particular scene where we find Lin Mae portrayed by Tian Jing trying to make William understand trust. She tries to coax him into jumping that she wouldn’t let go. But William, who is used to not trusting anybody chooses not to, and responds:

I’m alive today because I do not trust anybody.

Then you cannot overlook the colossal army of The Nameless Order either. It’s huge. The way they move, the way they walk, the grandeur and the resplendence is beyond comparison. It is enough to put you in awe.

Then there are the monsters that are intelligently thought of with the concept of the queen at the center of it. A well thought of fantasy.

You can order The Great Wall here:

Other Issues

Now that we have good things out of the equation, let’s move on to the ugly part. There were plenty of issues starting with the creation of fear. With movies that deal with monsters and aliens, there has to be that morsel of fear lurking that should terrify its viewers. With the Chinese finding it not a big deal since they have always imaged beasts and monsters all their lives, it ends up becoming kind of a big deal, a factor that shouldn’t be overlooked.

Everything happens too fast, there is no slow graze to help one experience that fear. That’s one of the most important points that the flick overlooks. Apart from that you have the cliched storyline. You have seen this happen so many times that it compels you to yawn your way into it. Heroics included are too childish to be true. Also, climax isn’t exactly the movie’s forte. You know what will happen. No element of surprise there.

Then one of the most daft things the movie does lost in its splendour is with the human harpoons, the acrobatic soldiers or the crane troop. When you are left on the mercy of a rope and an army of monsters below you don’t go spearheading straight into their jaws. No matter how cool it looks. That’s leaping into the mouths of death. That’s what they do, and many pay the price too as was expected.

The Final Verdict

The Great Wall ends up becoming really mediocre if you look at what it has in store for you. A predictable story, monsters that you are going to probably forget with time. Some heroic stunts with arrows that look good but too good to be true. It all becomes forgetful in the end which should have been exactly the opposite of what we all wanted.

You can check out the trailer of The Great Wall here:

Rogue One A Star Wars Story Review (2016) | Darth Vader Lives Again!

Rogue One A Star Wars Story resuscitates on screen’s biggest and most badass villain. Darth Vader gets to live once again as Gareth Edwards presents us with a stunning story that’s squeezed precisely betwixt Episode III and IV of the Star Wars saga. His take introduces us with the legacy of an unsung squad that helps in giving the original franchise an intriguing angle.

Star Wars Reverie

Remember how as kids we used to dream of possibilities, of ways to tackle an on-screen pickle? Movies were real for us. All elements we saw were real too. So growing up watching Star Wars was no different. We would be constantly swaying under its wraps, capering around its mesmerizing reality, thinking what if we get to walk those streets filled with aliens?

What if an AT-AT walker showed up all of a sudden from nowhere? What would we do then? How would a Jedi-less world appear to be? What would it mean to normal people? If a doomy scene homed in our heads we would try to think of possibilities to escape it.

Well, the good news is Gareth Edwards was just one of those children. And a child knows a fellow child better. He directs the movie with exactly that set of mind creating a stellar prequel out of thin air.  All those imaginative fantasies of how we would have played the streets if we were there, literally comes alive.

Plot of Rogue One A Star Wars Story (Spoilers Ahead)

To comprise the plot of Rogue One it is the story we had all often wondered about. How did it reach there, the point where Darth Vader invades Princess Leia‘s ship killing everyone before capturing her. It is a very thoughtful winding tale that completes all the dots beautifully.

image of Mads Mikkelsen as Galen Erso in Rogue One A Star Wars Story movie

We are introduced to new characters here starting with Galen Erso portrayed by Mads Mikkelsen, the mind behind the creation of the formidable planet destroyer Death Star. He is hiding on a planet named Lah’mu with his family after discovering the true motive behind the creation of the deadly weapon.

The prologue wraps with an Imperial leader Orson Krennic portrayed superbly by Ben Mendelsohn invading Galen Erso’s abode killing his wife in the process, taking Galen away with him for finishing the creation of Death Star. Galen’s daughter Jyn Erso however escapes the onslaught and is later discovered by Saw Gerrera (Forest Whitaker) the rebel leader.

The Main Mission

When the main course is served we find Bodhi Rook an imperial defector, played by Riz Ahmed, trying to contact Saw in order to deliver a message from Galen. Meanwhile a captured Jyn Erso (Felicity Jones) is released from her captivity by Rebel Alliance only to slap her on a mission to rescue her father. However, Cassian Andor (Diego Luna) who is supposed to accompany her, has been secretly briefed by the Alliance to kill her father instead.

The path of their mission crosses with the discovery of Chirrut Imwe and Baze Malbus who end up accompanying them to overthrow Imperial plans. We also have a worked up Imperial droid K-2SO, who accompanies Cassian at all times. Watch out for his Choke Slam in the beginning!

The fate of the Death Star lies in all of their hands. It is up to them to deliver it to Rebels so as to stop the dark side of the force from taking over.

Recreating Characters with CGI

It goes without saying we already knew how the movie was going to end. Since, we were galloping towards meeting Episode IV: A New Hope, Gareth chose to kill the whole squad directing us towards the colossal sacrifice the team made in order to retrieve schematics to destroy Death Star.

In order to make sure the thrill factor hopped aplenty, Gareth Edwards chose to bring back three pivotal characters from the original. Governor Tarkin was brought to life by CGI. Even though you could feel that it was a tad unnatural, it was still a commendable job to linger him for that long. It was more of a cameo but long enough to successfully re-create his perversion.

Then the most epic scene of the movie ensued with Darth Vader hogging the screen with his demonic shenanigans. Vader was easy since all we needed was a helmet and a heavy gasping voice to bring him back.

still of darth vader in rogue one movie

Be careful not to choke on your aspirations, Director!

The final showdown which could have been easily the epilogue, finds Vader storming in from the dark to a platoon of waiting Rebellions. When you see him rampage past rebellions choking and killing them one by one, you realize how monstrous, intimidating and huge Darth Vader really was. Hands down one of the finest and memorable scenes from the movie!

It was soon followed by an enchanting glimpse of Princess Leia as she receives schematics in her hands by a fellow rebel. She was created with painstaking detailing too, and it almost sends you back in time as you watch her smile.

You can pre-order Rogue One A Star Wars Story from here:

Screenplay and Music

What was equally beautiful was the fact that the screenplay of Rogue One A Star Wars Story doesn’t get compromised either. There were plenty of good one liners enough to send you into a pensive mode. Like the time Cassian responds to this by Jyn

I am not used to people sticking around when things go bad.

by saying “Welcome Home!”.

Or when Jyn Erso puts the idea of a revolt in heads of Rebellions with a:

We have hope. Rebellions are built on hope.

It makes you wonder if it were not for her, may be they wouldn’t have really ever stood up.

Rogue one has that whiff of original Star Wars music. It constantly caters your repressed memory bringing elements of nostalgia. Be it be Darth Vader’s stylish entry or a constant turmoil in the heads of the Rebellion. It has Michael Giacchino‘s apt music to complement it with.

Rogue One has references galore from Stars Wars franchise to make you instantly euphoric. Easter Eggs are strewn all across to make you feel all gooey. You get to see R2-D2 and C-3PO too at one point. They are subtly put.

The Final Verdict

The beauty of Rogue One movie lies in how everything unfurls into a plausible course of action. It has the gravitas of storytelling and it promises to keep you riveted. Rogue One A Star Wars Story banks on surprises galore. They are inscribed in its frames as it takes you off guard with plenty of Stormtroopers and Walkers. Thrill of a laser gun fight, (only this time Stormtroopers can hit the target), of plotting a covert mission, executing it as planned, watching Rebellion spaceships come to the rescue, reliving A New Hope moments all over again give you immense pleasure.

I say you watch this movie right now if you are a Star Wars fanatic. You are going to love it.

May the Force be with us.

You can check out the trailer of Rogue One A Star Wars Story here: