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Neil Middlemiss

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Neil Middlemiss

Ghost in the Shell Blu-ray Review
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Ghost in the Shell is an ambitious, stylized, visually impressive film with a good cast. While it may not have satisfactorily explored the moral questions of who we are and what makes us human, it makes a genuinely earnest attempt at probing something deeper than just a plot around which action set-pieces are formed. The film received considerable backlash for casting a white actress in the lead–a role (from a Japanese manga series, set in Japan of the future.) That issue is quite real and while reactions to the casting by Asians and Asian-Americans vary from shrugs or enthusiastic embrace, to cries of whitewashing and reminders that Hollywood has a minority and people of color-representation problem, the issue hurt the box office potential of the film. Judged outside the controversy, Ghost in the Shell is a good motion picture with a terrific central performance and a flurry of technical excellence. The controversy, however, casts quite a shadow.

[review]
 

gadgtfreek

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I'm so tired of hearing white washing. There are a couple of issues here, Studios want a blockbuster, they can't just stick any old name in there and be expected to spend $100 or 200 million for financing. Great Wall is a perfect example, I heard all the BS about Damon, and when I watched the movie the Asian actors take most of the glory anyways. I read several comments about the "white man" had to save the Asians, that wasn't even close, and the white man was actually a criminal that got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The $$$ take on Great Wall would have been even worse if the criminals were no name Asian actors, same can be said for if you had some no name instead of Johanssen. What it has done for me is make me completely ignore those accusations, and when I find out a studio is going to far the other way (Disney, female Ghostbusters, Dr Who) with established content, I won't spend a dime.

End of the day, people only complain when "certain" stories are changed, but then turn a blind eye for any PC casting even if it changes a central character. Basically, only change a central character if you are going to cast a minority, otherwise you get blasted. Its sad when movie reviews take the same one sided stance as low rent world politics.
 

Bryan Tuck

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I'm so tired of hearing white washing.

If you're tired of hearing about whitewashing, imagine how many people are tired of it happening. The piece from The Verge that Neil linked in his review is over a year old, but it addresses the issue in a very intelligent and nuanced way and is still quite relevant. And this is different from The Great Wall in a number of ways.

Casting issues aside, I didn't particularly care for the new Ghost In The Shell. I felt it made kind of a hash of its themes, and despite some visual panache, it was lacking in energy most of the way through.
 

Neil Middlemiss

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I'm so tired of hearing white washing. There are a couple of issues here, Studios want a blockbuster, they can't just stick any old name in there and be expected to spend $100 or 200 million for financing. Great Wall is a perfect example, I heard all the BS about Damon, and when I watched the movie the Asian actors take most of the glory anyways. I read several comments about the "white man" had to save the Asians, that wasn't even close, and the white man was actually a criminal that got caught in the wrong place at the wrong time.

The $$$ take on Great Wall would have been even worse if the criminals were no name Asian actors, same can be said for if you had some no name instead of Johanssen. What it has done for me is make me completely ignore those accusations, and when I find out a studio is going to far the other way (Disney, female Ghostbusters, Dr Who) with established content, I won't spend a dime.

End of the day, people only complain when "certain" stories are changed, but then turn a blind eye for any PC casting even if it changes a central character. Basically, only change a central character if you are going to cast a minority, otherwise you get blasted. Its sad when movie reviews take the same one sided stance as low rent world politics.

The issue is real and studies and informed research back up the issue of lack of diversity casting and the casing of whites in non-white roles.
Second, and you may not like it, but when minorities are cast in roles that may have originally been written as white (Idris Elba's casting as Heimdall in the Thor films springs to mind) it is a baby step to bring balance to the woefully imbalanced representation of minorities. And most of the source material, comic-books especially, originated when publishers refused to print anything that featured (especially in prominent roles) people of color. You'd do well to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's 'Far Beyond the Stars' to get a taste of what that looked like. I'd hardly call this 'low rent' politics just because it doesn't impact you.
 

revgen

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The character Johansson is playing is a cyborg, therefore her body isn't human. The soul of character is Asian, but her shell is a creation of Hanka Robotics. I don't see how "whitewashing" applies to this particular character.
 

gadgtfreek

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The issue is real and studies and informed research back up the issue of lack of diversity casting and the casing of whites in non-white roles.
Second, and you may not like it, but when minorities are cast in roles that may have originally been written as white (Idris Elba's casting as Heimdall in the Thor films springs to mind) it is a baby step to bring balance to the woefully imbalanced representation of minorities. And most of the source material, comic-books especially, originated when publishers refused to print anything that featured (especially in prominent roles) people of color. You'd do well to watch Star Trek: Deep Space Nine's 'Far Beyond the Stars' to get a taste of what that looked like. I'd hardly call this 'low rent' politics just because it doesn't impact you.

All I read is blah blah blah. This stuff was already changing itself, it has been accelerated to far the other way. When you start changing established characters to women and minorities just to appease people, it is ridiculous. Especially for those of us who have followed them for a long time (Marvel and Disney are prime candidates here). Create NEW characters!!! How would people react if they made Blade or Luke Cage white? It would be a shit storm, but make Captain America black, or replace Tony Stark with an 18 yr old black girl from MIT, make Thor a woman, no one cares... Have you noticed they killed Wolverine and his replacement is a woman? So excuse me if I could care less Scarlett was cast as a cyborg over an Asian actor.

Man in the High Castle vs the HBO Confederacy project is a whole nother example of how rabid this whole thing is. No one batted an eye at Man in the High Castle, but the media has been up in arms at HBO the last few days, once again, double standard. That is what I am tired of. And don't tell me the Nazi's winning is less significant than the South getting to keep their lands and slavery after the Civil War.

I want to go see a movie, and enjoy it, I do not want to be bothered by racial accusations and I don't want to read reviews about a blu-ray with the crap you wrote. So as I already speak with my wallet, Ill just not read your reviews anymore.

BTW, attached is just one image, at what point does Motoko's character look to be 100% Asian?


hj9v2l16mw5oqeqvqedl.jpg
 

Neil Middlemiss

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Thanks for the review and perspective. The Emma in your review should be Stone, not Roberts, however.

For some reason, every time I think of Emma Stone, I give her the wrong last name, and it's not fair because she is a terrific actress. Thanks for the correction.
 

Brian L

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I went into this completely unaware of the controversy.....I was just looking for cheap BluRays with Atmos that did not require that I buy the 4K.

Thoroughly enjoyed it, and quite agree with the picture/sound ratings....I consider this absolute demo quality.

The cinematography is astounding, and the CG work, of which I would assume there is an awful lot, is exemplary.

Anyone note a couple of brief scenes that would appear to have been “borrowed” by the new Westworld? There is an early scene where what appears to be an Android is being formed in a big pool of white goo. The second is a glass walled exam room that looks exactly like the exam rooms in Westworld.
 

Edwin-S

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What it has done for me is make me completely ignore those accusations, and when I find out a studio is going to far the other way (Disney, female Ghostbusters, Dr Who) with established content, I won't spend a dime.

So you have no problem with the casting choices in this film and think the people complaining should have understood that generating a profit for investors is more important than making the main character of a Japanese IP, you know, Japanese? However, suddenly, a studio is "going too far" by casting females in the central roles for a "Ghostbusters" remake or making "Dr Who" regenerate as a female. I sense a pattern here, along with a level of hypocrisy.
 

Edwin-S

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The biggest problem is that they warped the character of Motoko Kusanagi into something that she never was to fit the simplistic "government is evil" theme that has had a hold on American politics for decades now. GiTS anime series explore the same themes of government and corporate shadiness, but it is done with a lot more complexity than the shallow take on "government is all bad" that Hollywood has been churning out.

Kusanagi has never been an anti-government anarchist in any of the iterations of GiTS, other than the Americanized version, which only proves how little understanding of the character the writers and director of this film had.
 

Johnny Angell

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What it has done for me is make me completely ignore those accusations, and when I find out a studio is going to far the other way (Disney, female Ghostbusters, Dr Who) with established content, I won't spend a dime.

So you have no problem with the casting choices in this film and think the people complaining should have understood that generating a profit for investors is more important than making the main character of a Japanese IP, you know, Japanese? However, suddenly, a studio is "going too far" by casting females in the central roles for a "Ghostbusters" remake or making "Dr Who" regenerate as a female. I sense a pattern here, along with a level of hypocrisy.
I never understood the uproar over rebooting Ghostbustrs with female leads. I interpreted it as an effort by the studio to refresh the franchise. When I saw it in the theater, my problem was I thought they forgot to bring the funny. I’ll have to watch it again to see if my opinion remains the same.

Neil, I wish your review had two sets of ratings. One including the controversy and one ignoring it, judging the movie as only a movie. You wrote some very high praise for a movie rated 3.5.

I’m still waiting for the 3D version to drop to a reasonable price.
 

RJ992

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Picked up the GB 3d combo on EBay for $10. The 3d is way above average for many sequences and makes all the difference in a major way. Even has an aspect ratio change near the end.
 

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