About Ghost in the Shell (2017)

So I got to see Logan last night, it was amazing!! I’m still processing everything I saw (and the ramifications) so while I keep working on that review, I wanted to share some thoughts on the trailer for Ghost in the Shell

Several months ago, I stated that I was tentatively looking forward to Ghost in the Shell (2017), the live-action adaptation of the epic cyberpunk manga of the same name (which had already been adapted into an anime film in 1995). However my opinion on this film has now changed drastically…

From the beginning I wasn’t entirely thrilled with this film. For one, Scarlett Johannsen (a Caucasian female) was cast in the lead of a Japanese story set in Japan. And for another, the more preview footage I saw, the more something felt…wrong….about the story. See, here’s gist of the original Ghost in the Shell (more or less): Major Motoko Kusanagi and her Section 9 squad are on the trail of a mysterious hacker known as the Puppetmaster who is not what he appears to be. Along the way, Kusanagi muses about whether or not she is still human since the only biological part of her is her brain.

THIS version, however…doesn’t appear to tell this story at all, not even close. If the previews are anything to go by, this film has reset the story to be more of a conspiracy/mystery film that centers more on the Major discovering who she was than who the Puppetmaster really is. I don’t like this at all; sure in the original story Kusanagi wonders at times if she’s been told the whole truth, but ultimately that doesn’t matter. She is who she is now, it’s not like she can go back. But that’s not what really upsets me: I just learned two days ago that Scarlett Johannsen is not (apparently) playing Motoko Kusanagi, instead she’s playing someone called “Mira.”

Who the frack is MIRA?? It’s not enough you cast a non-Asian in the lead role, but you give her an Anglicized name too?? Not only am I NOT looking forward to this film, I’m not going to go see it, I can’t, the 1995 film means way too much to me. In fact, I will go so far as to say that none of you should go see this movie when it comes out in a few weeks. Instead, please go find a copy of the 1995 film (it’s worth the cost) and watch that instead.

I hereby predict that Ghost in the Shell will FLOP at the box office, which is so sad because a live-action film done properly could make a killing. But this is NOT that film.

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4 thoughts on “About Ghost in the Shell (2017)

  1. spinenumbered

    It’s interesting to me how western reception of the GitS trailer objects to the perceived white-washing of the story, while Japanese reception of the trailer does not. This seems to tie back to the Japanese idea of mukokuseki – a sense of statelessness that reads the characters (particularly manga and anime characters) as outside Japanese culture and ethnicity per se. To my non-Japanese eye, it reads oddly but not fatally. I’ll see the movie, but I have issues with Johannsen’s casting not for her ethnicity, but rather for her lack of size and stature. For me, someone like Charlize Theron or Gina Carano would be a much better fit the image of the major.

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