As a big fan of anime and manga, I've been waiting for Hollywood to make one successful adaption that will, in turn, open the floodgate for more adaptions in the future, because there's a lot of potential in manga and anime. Yet I can't help but feel that Hollywood keep on choosing the wrong properties to adapt and continually approach them the wrong way. Ghost in the Shell has long been one of those properties that Hollywood has been trying to adapt for what feels like forever, same as Akira and Cowboy Bebop. I only just happened to re-watch Ghost in the Shell last month sometime and it's a beautiful anime, very liquid, but I almost feel like Ghost in the Shell is rather redundant now. Ghost in the Shell presented a lot of interesting ideas back when it was released, but the themes and ideas it plays with have already been explored in quite a bit of depth already.
I know Ghost in the Shell will be a Hollywood adaption and with that comes a certain (total?) case of whitewashing, not that I agree with it, but this is the reality of the situation. Still, Ghost in the Shell has always been distinctly Japanese in my eyes. A case could be made that some characters should be white in certain anime and manga like Tekkaman, Dragonball, Bleach and Naruto, but not Ghost in the Shell. Even if they were insistent on casting a white Motoko, I think there are a lot better candidates out there than Scarlett Johansson. Margot Robbie was rumored at one point, and I could see shades of Motoko in her, another option I'd rather see in the role is Rooney Mara, but if I had it my way, I would keep it all Japanese.
I know that Scarlett Johansson is considered a box office draw at the moment, but that's no guarantee of success either. Catwoman had the Oscar winning Halle Berry in the role and that failed to put butts in seats. The Judge had Robert Downey Jr, who is arguably a bigger box office draw than Scarlett Johansson, and that failed to bring in a profit. I'd rather see a Japanese cast set in the neon lit Tokyo ie an authentic Ghost in the Shell movie, as opposed to one that's crafted around a popularity contest. A Ghost in the Shell movie doesn't need a Scarlett Johansson type to succeed, it only needs to be a faithful adaption of the source material by a director with a solid understanding of sci-fi and a good eye for the visceral.
One stipulation though, if they do insist on going ahead with Ghost in the Shell, then it needs to be R. Ghost in the Shell has a lot of nudity, violence and swearing in it. Scarlett Johansson needs to go the full buff, more than once too, it's required for the role. If Hollywood insists on doing adaptions of these acclaimed manga and anime, then they need to stay faithful to the source material, otherwise, what's the point? Kite was another horrendous adaption that dropped all the controversial and difficult subject matter, and I had to wonder, why even bother adapting it in the first place? Do it right or don't even bother.
I thought Scarlett Johansson was weak in Lucy, despite it earning good money at the box office. The role of Lucy had vague shades of Motoko to it, yet never for a second did I feel like Motoko is a role she could carry convincingly, despite her vacant stare. Even when Scarlett was rumored for the role a while ago, I thought, no thanks. I might be willing to overlook some of these concerns, though not all of them, if the director filled me with some degree of confidence, but he doesn't.
Rupert Sanders has only one movie to his name as of writing this, Snow White and the Huntsman and that's it. That doesn't exactly fill me with a lot of confidence. Now if the Wachowski brothers were involved, that might temper my concerns somewhat, but Rupert Sanders involvement only exacerbates my concerns. The writers are inexperienced as well, especially when it comes to thought provoking sci-fi concepts like Ghost in the Shell deals with.
William Wheeler wrote The Reluctant Fundamentalist and Jamie Moss wrote the screenplay for Street Kings. While I'm glad Ghost in the Shell is finally getting the big screen treatment, and I hope more anime and manga based properties will get made because of it, if it's good, but I still feel like it's being approached the wrong way. I hope time will prove me wrong on this one.
Written by - The Sentry - 06/01/2015