The anticipated Ghost in the Shell film starring Scarlett Johannson hit theaters this past weekend. Based off of an anime of the same name, Ghost in the Shell received a lot of attention because of the “whitewashing” that appeared to be present in the movie. For those of you who are not familiar with the term, “whitewashing” is essentially taking historically or well known characters of a certain race or ethnicity and casting them as white actors.
For example in the infamously terrible Gods of Egypt film there was a lot of backlash (among other things) for taking Egyptians and making them out to be white muscle bound men. Another film that was critiqued for whitewashing was Dr. Strange in which Dr. Strange’s trainer, The Ancient One, who was originally an Asian man was converted to a white woman. Although I must say–Tilda Swinton did an excellent job.
Nevertheless, the idea of whitewashing has been a staple talking point on the social justice warrior soapbox and there was no reprieve when it came to Ghost in the Shell in which Scarlett Johannson, a white woman, plays Major–a character based off of the acclaimed anime. Ironically there seems to be little complaint from the Japanese community–most of the caterwhauling is coming from Western weeaboos and their strange obsession with the ethnic canonization of the characters.
Now with that all out of the way let’s talk about the movie itself. If you watched the trailer for the film then you pretty much got the idea behind the movie. In fact–if you watched the trailer then you basically got the whole idea behind the movie including the fact that Major had been lied to about why she was put in the robotic body. The trailer literally gave all that away! It’s amazing to me how revealing trailers are these days–I mean a lot of people who have seen the anime already know the premise behind GIS but for someone like me who was not familiar with any of it I found that not much was revealed that the trailer had not already uncovered. But I digress.
Overall the movie felt like a standard B (or C) rated action flick. Guns, cyborgs, flashy lights, and explosions pockmark the film with occasional long stretches of dialogue to justify more fighting, shooting, and exploding. Scarlett Johannson is pretty much what you would expect–Scarlett Johannson and the rest of the characters serve as props dedicated to making her look good.
The plot might have been interesting if half of it wasn’t spoiled in the trailer…but since it was I found it to be pretty boring. I actually almost dozed off a couple times. And while the action was mildly entertaining and well shot we all know it takes more than action to drive a film.
Overall a pretty average film. Definitely not a must see but could make for a mildly entertaining movie if you’re looking to shoot the breeze for an hour or so and forget what you did an hour later.