REVIEW: Ghost In The Shell Is Everything Wrong With Hollywood Remakes
From the Marvel movies to the trippy action-adventure “Lucy,” Johansson has brought dizzying charisma to heroines who use their incredible abilities–be it sharpshooting or telekinesis–to topple tyrants and take down armies of armed baddies. In “Ghost in the Shell” she wears a barely-there body suit and scales walls while firing a gun right into the brainstem of any who’d oppose her. She punches out terrorists and single-handedly downs a tank, even when it risks tearing her shell asunder. And yet I felt nothing. Johansson’s charm seems in sleep mode as she struts vacantly through this tedious journey that boasts more tech talk than interesting action. Sanders has somehow drained away the very star power Johansson was supposedly cast to deliver. And that brings us to the scandal that’s followed the film since its earliest casting rumors: Yes. This is an example of whitewashing.
This issue has raging online for years, before the film even went into production. One side insisted that because the Manga — and its resulting 1995 anime — were Japanese, so too should be the heroine of its live-action, American-made adaptation. Others claimed that because the character is just a brain in a robot body, anyone could play the role, so why not Johansson who has a big fan base and a storied history in the action genre? Before seeing the movie, I understood both sides. But after?
This is hands down Asian erasure.
It’s not just that Major was renamed the white-coded “Mira Killian” instead of the original Japanese name Motoko Kusanagi, “Ghost In the Shell” is set in Tokyo. The film is dripping in elements of Japanese culture, from the anime iconography to geishas, and koi fish to traditional sushi restaurants with low tables and visitors in elaborate robes and obis. And yet most of the main characters are white; not just Major, but also her best friend Batou (Pilou Asbæk), her mother-figure Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche), her antagonizing boss (Peter Ferdinando), and the aforementioned terrorist she’s charged to track down (Pitt).
So even if anybody could have theoretically been cast to play the fully robo-figured Major, Paramount chose to cast a movie set in Japan, telling a Japanese story, and steeped in Japanese culture using primarily white actors. That sends a message about who is valued and not, and it’s a pretty insulting one that only gets more clear and offensive as the movie goes on. There are people of color in the film, filling out Major’s team. But aside from her handler (Takeshi Kitano), they barely get five lines to share between the three of them. I couldn’t tell you any of their names, because the movie only cares about them in the rare instances where Major and Batou need back-up. They’re not characters as much as conveniences.
Another shocking scene involves Major hiring a sex worker so she might touch human flesh. Instead of the short-circuiting lesbian scene from the comic, Major — who absolutely reads as a White woman — hires a Black woman so she can poke her and experiment. The optics are bad, especially in the wake of such a successful and woke film as “Get Out.”
And then things get worse!
Submitted by filipfatalattractionrblog