• The Great Wall

The Great Wall (Photo : YouTube)

To shoot the monster movie “The Great Wall,” Chinese director Zhang Yimou took over three years to complete the film. He also employed more than 1,000 crew members and built three walls during production since they could not shoot on the actual Great Wall of China.

Unfortunately, while he aimed for the global audience to learn more about the Chinese culture and invention while providing entertainment, what stood out was the alleged whitewashing involved with his use of Hollywood actor Matt Damon to portray a Chinese character.

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The first English-speaking film of Zhang costs around $136 million. Its story revolves around an ancient folk tale in China that monsters creep up on the wall every 60 years which made it necessary for an army to defend the wall, Zhang shared before a crown in Madison Square Garden in New York on Saturday as he showed his trailer, Entertainment Group reported.

Although he used ultra-high definition format to shoot the movie, Zhang did not highlight it since he believes what audiences want when they go to the cinema is watch a really good story unfold. The technology used is just a tool to tell the story, it is not the film’s soul.

Besides Damon, the other stars of the movie include Jing Tian, Pedro Pascal, Willem Dafoe and Andy Lau. Damon admitted to being a fan of Zhang for years and said he is the Steven Spielberg of China, referring to the American director and producer behind blockbuster films such as “ET.”

When he viewed the movie, Damon compared the film to “Avatar” which was directed by James Cameron.

Zhang, in response to criticisms of whitewashing, explained, “Actually, it is a story about foreigners trying to steal gun powder from China to sell in Europe. The bravery, dedication and fighting spirit of Chinese soldiers changed the European mercenaries' world view, inspiring them to eventually join the fight against the monster. This is a story about a hero growing.”

Damon, at the film’s panel at the New York Comic Con, said, "It was an (expletive) bummer … I had a few reactions. I was surprised, I guess, because it was based on a teaser. It wasn’t even a full trailer, let alone a movie,” USA Today quoted the actor.

He admitted that since he is a regular reader of The Atlantic, the article by David Sims on “The Great Wall” bummed him out. Sims wrote, “‘The Great Wall’ feels like a huge step in the wrong direction, a critical disaster waiting to happen no matter what the economic justification for its existence might be.”

China Film co-produced “The Great Wall” with LeVision Pictires, Legendary Pictures and Universal Pictures. It would be shown in China beginning Dec. 16, and in the U.S. by Feb. 17, 2017.