The first time I heard about a western Ghost in the Shell movie, my initial thought was that it would be forgotten and not even make it out of the production stage like other western adaptations have in the past (I’m looking at you, Death Note). Now that there’s a whole cast list, set release date, and trailers, I can no longer ignore the inevitable.
Now, I’m not against studios taking previously established anime and trying to make it work as a live action film. Actually, some of the creative liberties they take can introduce some really cool ideas. Plus, I think seeing the characters represented by real people makes them more relatable. Take the live-action Ruroni Kenshin movie as a good example. Takeru Satou made Kenshin so much better for me. I already loved Kenshin but Takeru brought his animated silliness down to something I could consider cute and charming from a real person. But, I digress: raving about that movie is not what I’m here to talk about now (I can talk about that in a different post).
I really, really want this adaption of Ghost in the Shell to be amazing and thought provoking just like the original movie, but from what I have seen of the trailer it looks like it might be hot garbage. From my understanding trailers are supposed to make you excited and build you up to see the movie. I didn’t get that from the trailer they have. It just seems like a bunch of random clips that they thought looked cool. Don’t get me wrong, the imagery in the clips were quite good, but that didn’t tell me a story or set a theme; it’s just a bunch of futuristic-looking settings and maybe some symbolism thrown in (I was really bad at finding symbolism in high school though, so don’t hold me to that. I was just guessing).
Another problem I found with the movie was, of course, the issue of race. Everyone else seems to be having the same issue. Since we don’t really know a lot of Motoko’s history, we don’t know what she looked like originally, or if Motoko is even her name (someone please correct me if I’m wrong), but for the sake of this topic we will assume that Motoko Kusanagi is her real name and that most likely means she’s Japanese. Now, let’s look at who they cast. A non-Asian actress. Fine. OK. Maybe since they are casting a non-Asian actress they decided that in this story line Motoko switched shells to do some sort of mission in the US where she could justify changing her original appearance. Well, we don’t know the plot yet so I can neither justify nor can I bash it in this regard. But I do have an inkling (from the pictures and trailer) that they will be using original Motoko’s appearance, meaning they could’ve just used an Asian actress.
I really can’t say much more. This is only the first trailer, so I’m hoping they reveal more about what the plot will be and maybe, perhaps, I can say I was wrong and this movie will be the bomb. I like Scarlett Johansson and I like this franchise, so even if the future trailers don’t get better, I’m still going to see the movie.
I’m curious though, I don’t have any actresses in mind myself, but I want to know if you have anybody you think would be a good fit to play Motoko (Say anybody Asian or not. I don’t really care).
(A note from The Editor: In a parallel universe, they cast Kukichi Rinko, and all was right in the world.)