Starring Matt Damon (The Martian) and directed by one of the most breathtaking visual stylists of our time, Zhang Yimou, The Great Wall finds soldiers in 15th century China searching for gunpowder and discovering much more. But though they initially think that the wall, still under construction, is the most spectacular thing they will encounter, that is certainly only the start of it – as the structure is being put in place not to just keep out invaders, but also mystical creatures.
Beyond that, not much else is known about the story. What we do now know is that it will be an extraordinary spectacle, with a colour palette to stand in the company of Akira Kurosawa's Ran (1985) and plenty of action.
Speaking at the New York Comic Con last month, Damon addressed concerns raised by the original teaser that the movie features the trope of the white saviour coming in to help the native people. "If people see this movie and there is somehow whitewashing involved in a creature feature that we made up then I will listen to that with my whole heart," Damon said. "I will think about that and try to learn from that. I will be surprised if people see this movie and have that reaction. I will be genuinely shocked. It's a perspective that as a progressive person I really do agree with and try to listen to and be sensitive to, but ultimately I think you are undermining your own credibility when you attack something without seeing it. You have to educate yourself about what it is before making your attack or your argument and then it’s easier to listen to from my side."
With Jing Tian (Special ID), Pedro Pascal (The Adjustment Bureau), Willem Dafoe (The Grand Budapest Hotel) and Andy Lau (Infernal Affairs) also aboard, The Great Wall will arrive in cinemas 24 February.