Thursday, July 28, 2016

The Great Wall, Kaiju and... Matt Damon?

So, in the vein of The Last Samuri, 47 Ronin, and Beverly Hills Ninja, just to name a few, Hollywood has decided to greenlight a new Asian epic, The Great Wall with acclaimed director Zhang Yimou .It is shaping up to be the most expensive Chinese movie yet. The premise is that rather than having been built just to repel barbarians, there are giant monsters that have to be fought. And the great hero to do that is Matt Damon.


Initial footage suggests that Matt Damon will not be stepping aside to an incidental role like Raymond Burr in the original 1954 Godzilla. In Godzilla, it's possible to edit Burr's sections out and have a wonderfully coherent movie. Nor does it seem he will be getting a surprise demise like Steven Seagal in Executive Decision. So, to many of us, this already strikes us as problematic and tone-deaf in light of recent conversations on films like Dr. Strange, and Scarlet Johanssen in Ghost In The Shell, or the digital yellowface of Cloud Atlas.  

Mind you, I enjoy a good many of Matt Damon's films, but I'm going to reserve judgement on this one. 

Artistically, I find myself thinking that the bolder move would be for the film to look at all of this as an indictment of Damon/The West trying to kill a celestial being that historically embodies wisdom, knowledge, and the eternal, among other virtues. If such a creature is attacking, perhaps everyone might do well to consider it has a good reason to do so.

But then again, we also saw the American Godzilla remake where apparently the best solution to stop a monster created by the fury and horror of an atomic bomb is to try to kill it with an even bigger atomic weapon. And no one saw the flawed logic in that. 

Expect this film to arrive around February, 2017. It ought to make a great Valentine's Day film.

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