Monday, April 10, 2017

"Ghost in the Shell" and Hollywood whitewashing

The sci-fi movie "Ghost in the Shell" has been a topic of conversation in our little office of late. My boss saw the movie and thought it was good, although he didn't seem wowed by it. My coworker, who is into comic books and video games, has already said he's fine with the whitewashing (i.e., casting a white person in a non-white role) because of the blandly generic way the character of Major (played by Scarlett Johansson in the movie) is portrayed in the original graphic novels. For him, the casting of Scarlett Johansson isn't really whitewashing. I don't think my boss came away with an opinion, one way or the other, regarding the casting. As for me, I haven't seen the movie and am in no hurry to do so. I might catch it on video in a few months. For the record: I have no problem with Scarlett Johansson in a skin-tight suit,* although it's a bit disappointing to see her being typecast in various action films as a martial-arts killer. She can actually act, and she deserves creatively stimulating roles.

But there's a different perspective out there. I just wandered over to ROK Drop and saw a post titled "JAPANESE ACTRESSES COMMENT ON “WHITEWASHING” AFTER WATCHING GHOST IN THE SHELL MOVIE." It contains one bit of unintentionally hilarious verbiage; go read it for yourself and guess what it was that I laughed at. (Hint: not the remarks about suicide. I can be cruel, but not that cruel.)

*The actress is wearing a skin-tight suit, but the character of Major is a robotic shell: what appears to be clothing is actually the outer surface of the cyborg (Major's brain and spine are, at least according to comics lore, still organic and human, a bit like what happened with Robocop's body, but not exactly).

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