Is the new 'Ghost in the Shell' reboot worth seeing? | The Tylt
The controversial remake of "Ghost in the Shell" is now out in theaters, and the reviews are mostly bad. The movie was already under fire for whitewashing both the Japanese manga and anime franchise. Still, the film has a dedicated American audience who are psyched to see a stylish, big budget adaptation. But critics are tired of Hollywood whitewashing Asian narratives for American audiences—arguing the importance of both Asian and Asian-American representations. What do you think? 🎥
Is the new 'Ghost in the Shell' reboot worth seeing?
Here's the synopsis of "Ghost in the Shell," per IMDB:
In the near future, Major is the first of her kind: A human saved from a terrible crash, who is cyber-enhanced to be a perfect soldier devoted to stopping the world's most dangerous criminals.
With mixed to bad reviews, and so much backlash, things aren't looking too good for "GitS."
There's so much underutilized Asian and Asian-American talent for Asian-related narratives. Hollywood execs and filmmakers should get this through their thick skulls. Moviegoers will no longer pay for a lack of representation and whitewashing in Hollywood films.
X-Geeks' Ben Wright writes:
The studio may also believe it offers a little more box office security with Johansson in the role. But given the significance of this particular role and property, I am disappointed that an Asian or Asian-American actor was not given the lead role. On a personal level, I have less interest in this movie because of Johansson’s involvement, and I’m actually a fan of her work.
Director Rupert Sanders said Scarlett Johansson was his only choice for the lead role. The original name of the character is Major Motoko Kusanagi, but in the film, it's just The Major. While some supporters argue the character at least looks racially ambiguous, to critics this doesn't excuse the fact that it's a Japanese narrative and a Japanese actress should've been cast.
Although critics didn't like Johansson's response, she spoke about the controversy in an interview with Marie Claire:
I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person. Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive. Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity. Certainly, I feel the enormous pressure of that—the weight of such a big property on my shoulders.
Critics and moviegoers find the film's big twist to be even bigger slap in the face. The Major was Japanese woman, and her consciousness was put into the white female cyborg. This has only added fuel to the fire.
Slate's Aisha Harris writes:
All of this seems to fly in the face of Johansson’s recent comment defending her role, in which she claimed that her character is “identity-less”—a comment that says so much about the idea that whiteness is seen as the default, “the absence of race.”
Still—some critics have defended "GitS" for accurately re-capturing the original's magic.
Bangkok Post's Kong Rithdee writes:
At that level, Ghost In The Shell doesn't disappoint; its appeal is moody and atmospheric, and the appearance of depth makes us feel less guilty. We only wish that Johansson would soon come back to Earth and play human. No more half-creature. That way the talk of humanity may seem fresher -- and real.
Like "Death Note," advocates aren't supporting the whitewashing or culture appropriation.