If this is the future for motion pictures, god help us all.
To watch it is to be aware of how little movies this size have to do with art and how much they are product, the result of a calculation involving actorly appeal and spectacle, because spectacle, not story, has the... most universal draw.
Damon's wild-haired gringo claims to have soldiered under "many flags," which would explain his shape-shifting accent that's Irish except for when it sounds beamed from Mars.
What a bummer that all Chinese master Zhang Yimou and Hollywood star Matt Damon come up with is a B-level creature feature with delusions of grandeur.
As pure spectacle, The Great Wall is absolutely dazzling.
If you calibrate your expectations to "monster movie for eight-year-olds," you may find some fun in this energetic and blissfully brief (a mere 103 minutes!) tale of the Chinese army battling alien beasties in the Song Dynasty era.
Zhang does an impressive job of staging the battles... But there is barely a whiff of genuine transcendence in this grand-scale extravaganza.
A well-paced action movie that doesn't waste much time on preliminaries or explanations before plunging headlong into a prolonged, elaborately orchestrated fight against a horde of ghastly creatures.
Its real accomplishment is that, with so much money behind it and a true visionary at the helm, it manages to feel so dated.