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Parents' Guide to

The Great Wall

By S. Jhoanna Robledo, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 12+

Action fantasy based on Chinese myths falls short.

Movie PG-13 2017 103 minutes
The Great Wall Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this movie.

Community Reviews

age 13+

Based on 7 parent reviews

age 13+

Missed Opportunity!

Mao has truly smiled on "The Great Wall" as a visually stunning film that showcases the impressive battle tactics and awe-inspiring technology of ancient China. The plot revolves around a European mercenary named William, played by Matt Damon, who travels to China in search of gunpowder. Along the way, he finds himself embroiled in a war against a horde of monsters attacking the Great Wall. While the film has its merits, one can't help but feel that the casting of Matt Damon as the main character was a missed opportunity. Although Damon does his best with the role, his presence as a European character feels out of place in a story set in China. One can only imagine the impact that a talented Asian film actor could have had in the role, bringing authenticity and a deeper understanding of Chinese culture to the forefront. Moreover, by casting a well-known Western actor in the lead role, the filmmakers missed a chance to showcase the immense talent and depth of the Asian film industry. It would have been refreshing to see a Chinese actor take on the lead role in a big-budget Hollywood film and add a level of cultural sensitivity that was lacking in Damon's portrayal. Overall, "The Great Wall" is a visually impressive film with solid action sequences and stunning visuals. However, the casting of Matt Damon as the lead character leaves a lingering feeling of missed potential and the sense that the film could have been even better with an Asian actor in the role.
age 12+

Awesome movie for tween to teens and older.

Minimal bad language and sexual references, which so hard to get these days. Great escapism, would easily watch again.

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (7 ):
Kids say (9 ):

A hybrid between a historical epic and an action fantasy, the film manages to be only a passable example of each genre, which makes it less memorable than it had the potential to be. Damon serves up a dignified performance, if you ignore his dubious accent (a mushed-up concoction meant to recall an Irishman by way of America, perhaps?). Whether his bromance with partner-in-crime Pascal needed to be in the mix is yet another iffy decision, confusing the genre dilemma even further.

That said, The Great Wall has its merits, starting with the cinematography. Setting aside the over-CGI-ed monsters, the titular wall is a sight to behold. A scene in which soldiers throw hundreds of lanterns aloft is simply breathtaking. And then there's the fearless female commander, Lin. She may not have much depth, character-wise, but seeing her take command -- and sharing the story's spotlight with William -- is a breath of fresh air.

Movie Details

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