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China's Great Wall - documentary DVD review
CHINA'S GREAT WALL Unrated by the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) rating: 3 1/2 stars
Director: Nic Young   Distributor: Koch Vision
DVD release: 10 June 2008   Runtime: 100 min. (1 disc)
Format: Color, Dolby, DVD-Video, Widescreen, NTSC
DVD Features: Audio tracks (Dolby Digital Surround - English)

The title is a bit misleading: China has many great walls. The earliest parts of it date to around the 2nd century, BC, (Han Dynasty) and look nothing like the great wall that immediately comes to mind, which was built starting in the 14th century, AD (Ming Dynasty). The earlier was simply made from earth and straw, layered and stamped down within wooden forms. The Ming wall was earth and brick. All of it was made with slave labor which, just for the record, isn't cool.

China's Great Wall dispenses this information using reenactments, current footage, and occasional but sparing interviews with experts on the subject.

The wall has been around for centuries, and the Chinese are pretty used to it. They've carved holes in it to make their lives easier and have taken to keeping livestock inside during inclement weather. By contrast, early Western visitors were amazed by its majesty.

China's Great Wall is a two-part documentary that tells many tales well. I like that its roots are in reenactment; it helps to aid in understanding for visually oriented learners.
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reviewed by Eric Renshaw
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