Matt Damon and Luciana Barroso walked down the red carpet with thousands of flashbulbs going off as photos were being taken of them, at The Dolby Theater in Hollywood , at The 89th Academy Awards. #mattdamon @realmattdamon
Matt’s epic movie “The Great Wall” is now in theaters. When the first trailer for The Great Wall was released last year, people had many questions. Why do we need a movie that investigates why The Great Wall of China was built when you can literally find the answer on Wikipedia? Is that a dragon? Why is there a dragon? Also, most controversial of all, why is Matt Damon leading an army in 11th-Century China?
Though Damon was not cast as an Asian character (like Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell), many were frustrated with the premise of the film for its perpetuation of the ‘white savior’ trope. Actor Constance Wu was one of the most vocal to speak out against this, arguing that the film “perpetrates the myth that only a white man can save the world”. She implored the industry to instead support people of color in these major roles as “our heroes don’t look like Matt Damon”.
The Great Wall hit cinemas 2 weeks ago and is being received with a bit of a shrug. It’s not as offensive or ludicrous as the trailer made it seem, but it’s not great either. Though the film is entertaining and impressive in its action sequences, the story is thin and the white savior element is certainly still present.
Vulture‘s E. Alex Jung covered it well noting that, “while the Chinese clearly demonstrate impressive technological might, the narrative revolves around Damon’s character: his actions, bravery, and ingenuity are what propel the plot forward. Most troubling is the fact that the Chinese, both visually and are often narratively , represented as their own kind of indistinguishable horde — shields to be raised, bodies to be killed, etc.”
Others, who were once skeptical , have been pleasantly surprised by the film’s representation and celebration of Chinese film making. (The movie is directed by House of Flying Daggers‘ Zhang Yimou and features a majority-Asian cast, with one in a major role. Though it’s worth noting the script was also written by a bunch of white dudes).