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Ghost in the Shell

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13 hours ago, M. Leary said:

Right, subtitled for this one. Sounds like you have watched it by now, what did you think?

I'll have to think about it more before I give a full review--it's been haunting my thoughts all day, like a ghost--but I really found it to be rather prescient in its exploration of technology, globalized culture, the Internet, and even formal filmic elements, such as the very subtle slowing down of time to linger in particular scenes and frames. I simply wrote the word "visionary" for my Letterboxd review. I did find the ending to be rather abrupt, and expected more backstory to Major, which seems like it'll be explored further in this live-action version. I haven't read the manga, so I don't know how faithful the animated film is to the source material, but I was impressed with the characterizations and ideas presented. And why didn't this film make our A&F list about memory?!

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Posted (edited)

Just a heads up if you have a Hulu subscription, there is a English close captioned version of the anime on there (the 25th anniversary edition, and also the remastered one, as well as a couple of the sequels). Also have Akira, another very famous one I've never seen.

Edited by Justin Hanvey

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I think there are at least two different shots of Scarlett Johanssen "disrobing" in this trailer. (Though to be fair, we see one or two guys whip their jackets off, too.)

 

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Posted (edited)

NVM I was wrong, both 25th Anniversary and 2.0 ghost in the Shell versions on hulu are dubbed versions. Also the 2.0 version remasters a lot of scenes into really bad computer animation for some reason

Edited by Justin Hanvey

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So apparently this movie is kind of *about* whitewashing. Not in any deep way, though. And the filmmakers could certainly have avoided that line of attack if they had cast a black or Latino or Indian or Native American actor in the lead role, which they certainly could have done without making any changes to the script.

The lead actor still wouldn't have been Japanese, of course. But that's kind of required by the script, in its current form.

So now, I guess, the question is which came first: the casting (not necessarily this particular actor, but the *type* of actor they were looking for) or the script.

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feels like a middle finger and not a social commentary on whitewashing.

I rarely get into third act reveals. But as was the case with

“Passengers,” it’s necessary to discuss the vile story lurking beneath the slick ad campaign. When Major discovers her past, she finds out she’s actually Japanese. Her name was Motoko Kusanagi. She has a living mother who speaks English with a heavy Japanese accent. Her childhood bedroom is decked out with Japanese knickknacks, as if it’s a souvenir shop for tourists. Major is secretly Asian! And still, the filmmakers felt totally comfortable casting her as white. This reveal hits in waves of “no they didn’t” that don’t peak when Kuze discovers he’s also actually Japanese (“Your name is Hideko!”), but when Major visits her own grave, then embraces her mother as if to say, “It’s cool. I’m your rebooted white daughter! I test better globally.”



http://www.cbr.com/review-ghost-in-the-shell

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*** POSSIBLE SPOILERS ***

Justin Hanvey wrote:
: feels like a middle finger and not a social commentary on whitewashing.

Granted, the film's primary social/existential concerns lie elsewhere.

The article Justin linked to wrote:
: And still, the filmmakers felt totally comfortable casting her as white.

Well, as I said, given the script that they're working with here, they pretty much *had* to cast the character as anything but Japanese, otherwise the whole identity-crisis thing wouldn't be as pronounced as it is.

But I did think it was weird that a cop who works in Japan and clearly knows Japanese would approach some random not-very-middle-class citizen and start speaking to her in English, instead of her native tongue. And I say that for world-building story-telling reasons, not meta-political-implications reasons.

One extra (basically spoiler-y) comment: It seemed to me that the robotics company -- staffed by people like Juliette Binoche and Michael Wincott -- was of basically Euro-American origin (though at least one of its staffers is black) and had entered into some sort of contract with the Japanese government (hence the Takeshi Kitano character, who keeps pointing out that he reports to the prime minister). So the fact that Johansson's character also appears to be of European descent may reflect the biases of the robot company and its origins. Which, in turn, may be some weird sort of meta-commentary on the actual process of Hollywood globalization (including its remaking of foreign films and, yes, its whitewashing of same). The subtext to this film is that films like this are a problem... but one people can learn to live with?

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