reviewed by: Gabriel Mohler
dragons and dinosaurs—discover how they are connected
dragons in the Bible
self-sacrifice / bravery / courage
|Featuring:|| Matt Damon … William Garin
Willem Dafoe … Sir Ballard
Tian Jing … Commander Lin Mae of the Crane Troop
Pedro Pascal … Pero Tovar
Andy Lau … Strategist Wang
Eddie Peng … General Wu, Commander of the Tiger Troop
Numan Acar … Najid
Lu Han (Han Lu) … Peng Yong, a warrior in the Bear Troop
Kenny Lin … Captain
|Director:||Zhang Yimou—“Hero” (2002), “House of Flying Daggers” (2004), “Curse of the Golden Flower” (2006)|
“1700 years to build. 5500 miles long. What were they trying to keep out?”
When I first heard about this film, I thought it was going to be a historical epic based on true events, or at least speculating as to what the true events could have been. I was thrilled and jumped at the opportunity to review it (and I was also curious as to what in the world Matt Damon would be doing in the film). When I found out that it was actually a fantasy film about Chinese dragons, my first reaction was a “facepalm,” but then I started hoping that it might still be a decent little popcorn flick. Was it?
Pretty much. I felt that this film was pretty self-aware. It’s silly, crazy entertainment, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously, as some other action-fantasy films do (oh yeah, last year’s “Warcraft” is firmly in mind!). Because of this, I was able to have a pretty good time watching. I’m kind of surprised Matt Damon agreed to be in this film, but it’s nice to see that he doesn’t take himself too seriously, either. He did a really good job, and his presence did make a difference!
The CGI has some bad moments, but it is mostly pretty good and pretty cool. The monsters may be frightening to little kids, but teens and up will love them (if they’re into this kind of film). There are several scenes of combat between the humans and the dragons. Relatively little harm is shown happening to the humans, and the harm shown happening to the monsters is more comic than graphic. Their blood is green!
There is a little more language than I expected, but it isn’t constant, either. There are 3 misuses of God’s name, 8 misuses of h**l, a few s-words, and one each of b***h and ba***d. The sexual content is fairly minimal, as well; there are a few non-explicit references and a scene showing a shirtless male.
Despite being nothing more than pure popcorn fun, the film does manage to throw in a few serious moments and teach a few positive messages, like sacrifice, bravery, and not being greedy. While there’s nothing exceptionally praiseworthy here, there’s not much to complain about either. It’s definitely forgettable, but if you like this kind of film, it’s not half bad for an evening when you just need a break for recreation.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Moderate / Sex/Nudity: Mild
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