HUTSON: Whitewashed cast ruins potential for ‘Ghost in the Shell’




All you probably now about Ghost in the Shell, unless you’ve read the manga or seen the 1995 animated film or its sequel, is that Scarlett Johansson is white and she is playing a Japanese character. This was obviously a big fat qualm for me because I am a stickler when it was come to whitewashing. I see no point or explanation beyond the casting directors internalized racism.

As I watched the movie I found my suspicions confirmed. If the movie succeeded in one thing it was reducing asian culture to a background decoration. However it is probably in director Rupert Sanders’ best interest he did this as the aesthetics and the solidly pleasing graphics were the only things there to keep an audience member’s attention.

The acting was as dry as a stale cracker. None of the characters interested me as they should. This is disappointing considering they were playing pre-written characters who were obviously very enticing in their original form.

Despite all the bad Takeshi Kitano (Aramaki) was wonderful. His role was just a bit part but I thoroughly enjoyed every moment he had on screen… funny how he was the only Japanese actor.

Johansson is bland her portrayal of Major made me dislike her more than anything. She’s just boring the whole 120 minutes. Often when I see an action movie I want a mysterious backstory or a brooding character we get to learn about in between the car chases and blood baths. In this case, however I would just simply roll my eyes and and wait for the next fight seen filled with those spectacular graphics.

The 2017 take seems to completely strip off the emotional depth of the original and leave you with the basic skeleton of an action movie. I would at times find myself simply asking “Wait what?” because the plot was obscured by over cluttered fight scenes. Remember those graphics I was talking about? Well sometimes they hinder more than help.

It seems as if whitewashing does not pay off either seeing how the whole white cast dragged down a movie that could have easily been a major success, the movie flopped at the box office, got horrible reviews and there were only three other people in the movie theater with me.