The trailer for Zhang Yimou’s latest film, revolving around one of China’s most well-known wonders and starring one of America’s biggest stars, was released yesterday.
Apparently falling into the genre of “science fantasy adventure-monster action,” The Great Wall tells the story of a mercenary soldier (Matt Damon) imprisoned in China, who discovers that beasts are attacking the Great Wall. “[H]is quest for fortune turns into a journey toward heroism as he joins a huge army of elite warriors to confront this unimaginable and seemingly unstoppable force,” the film’s website describes.
Watch the trailer below:
Legendary and Universal Pictures is producing the film with a budget of $135 million, making it China’s most expensive film of all-time. The cast unites stars from both the East and West, including Matt Damon, Pedro Pascal (Game of Thrones), Hong Kong star Andy Lau, EXO band member Luhan, TFBOYS bandleader Wang Junkai, and Chen Xuedong (Tiny Times). This is the first English-language film for the legendary Chinese director Zhang Yimou, who is very well-known in China for works including Hero, To Live and Red Sorghum.
SCMP suggests that one of the film’s aims is to expand China’s influence abroad, in the same way that Hollywood movies have brought American culture to the world. It quotes a professor of political science from the University of Southern California:
[The Chinese government is] somewhat resentful that Hollywood and American culture is so prevalent in China, whether it’s TV series like The Big Bang Theory or House of Cards, or Hollywood films like Transformers. They want some reciprocity for Chinese culture overseas.
If that’s true, it seems to be working, as western media looks pretty hyped about the film.
Though after watching the thrilling trailer, many Western viewers seem not to have done much research about the plot of the film. Worrying that Matt Damon was going to be portraying a Chinese or Mongol warrior in yet another case of blatant Hollywood whitewashing. Fortunately, the movie looks like it will be a bit more subtle than say John Wayne’s performance in The Conqueror:
By Amy Yang
[Images via The Great Wall / Weibo]