Review: Ghost in the Shell

Written by tha - bang from the blog blah blah blah on 18 Apr 2017
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Off the bat, Ghost in the Shell is not an identical copy of the animated series or movies. The live action movie borrows plot points from the original animated movie whilst still infusing it with its own unique story, great inventive visuals and still plays homage to the themes of the original movie but is it any good and does the whitewashing controversy really matter in this movie? Let's dig in...

In our times, to be honest, in the US, there's been a push for more inclusivity. The hegemony of the white male lead and white lead romantic love interest is being challenged more and more. With good reason nogal. Especially in stories where people feel white folks are being inserted due to the fact that they are white and that they wouldn't normally be there.

The other issue whitewashing has raised is the issue of roles suited for underrepresented races that are being cast for white folks ala Gods of Egypt.

So When Scarlet Johansson was cast as Major in the live action rendition of a classic and beloved Japanese manga/anime that preceded and influenced films such as The Matrix and Johnny Mnemonic, to mention a few, there was a massive uproar in the US that it's another case of whitewashing.

Although the guys in Japan, the audience and funders of the movie were okay with the casting, the cloud has hung around the movie more than it should have.

The Japanese knew that this is a Hollywood vehicle and they're riding it just like the South Koreans used Snowpiercer. Japanese folks are well represented in their own movies but the rest of the world was touched on their studio on their behalf.

So is the movie in itself terrible? Hell no. Rupert Sanders (the director) is clearly a fan of the original 1995 manga/anime movie. You see it in how he has remixed the soundtrack, how he has remodelled New Tokyo - the city is based on the New Tokyo of the original movie with some Blade Runner-esque upgrades.

The attention to detail in how the production design looks, from the characters to sets echoes the animated movie and series. So Sanders knows his source material.

Yet the greatest achievement is how he was able to tweak the story so that it actually speaks and deals with the whitewashing controversy in its plot whilst making some cosmetic changes to the original story beats.

My only gripe with the movie is that it does not have that intellectual gravitas of the original Manga/Anime, although the film tries to touch on the theme of what a soul is? What is identity? It's clearly an attempt at establishing a new franchise instead of a once off story which takes something away from the ending.

Aside from that, the story has great action set pieces, a very beautiful and fit Scarlet Johansson in a silicon body suit, some stunning CGI work and look into a possible future that looks and feels more plausible now in the age of always being jacked into our phones and media than it was back in 1995.

Rating ***1/2
index : * Junk **Ja nee ***MMMh ****almost perfect *****Classic

Actors in this post: Scarlett Johansson


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