Talk about the live-action Ghost in the Shell film here
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From what I've now heard/read, the actual film takes whitewashing to an entirely new level--but discussing why means major (ha ha) spoilers, as follow (using a quote box to hide the text, but it's really not a quote):
Not only is Johansson playing "the Major" Mira Killian, but in the film the "real" Motoko Kusanagi was a Japanese woman who was kidnapped and "killed" so that her brain could be used in what becomes the machine-human hybrid Mira Killian--Kusanagi is "destroyed to allow the Major to exist" (Opam, The Verge, http://www.theverge.com/2017/3/29/15114 ... -johansson). So they've literally killed off Kusanagi as a Japanese character so that they can have a white character in her place. The director is either incredibly self-aware (and flipping us off in the process), or he's made a terrible miscalculation as to how to get around the original character's "Japaneseness." To make matters worse, the non-white portion of the cast is primarily backdrop for the white actors.
And then just to insult us further, they've Hollywood-ized the plot so that there is more of Robocop than of GitS to it. It's like they bought the franchise name only as an empty shell, and placed McDonald's clown's ghost in it to make it palatable to American audiences.
I'm going to be referring to this version of GitS as "alt-fact GitS"--if I ever refer to it again at all.
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I'm looking forward to someone from here seeing this and posting their views here now. I had totally written the film off until a reviewer I usually agree with (Chris Stuckmann) posted a review. He's a GitS fan (not a proper one i suspect but a fan all the same and he liked the original movie for the right reasons) and he liked it. His review is here: https://youtu.be/89yKotapLFE
It's pretty much spoiler free.
One thing that suggested to me that he's not a proper fan is that he mentions Kuze in the movie but never draws any comparison whatsoever to SAC Kuze which i think any proper fan would be compelled to do, even if only to say "he's nothing like the Kuze of the second series".
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The review is good. I wish I could show it to my nephews, but too much NSFW language.
On the Kuze thing, I think that this review suggests that "Kuze" is a name applied to the Puppet Master story villain.
I'm really hoping to like the movie.
People tend to look at you a little strangely when they know you stuff voodoo dolls full of Ex-Lax.
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Yes, it is a good review and it's a review by someone who understands and genuinely respects what's come before which is why it was significant to me. I've flip flopped again due to this and am now feeling positive about the film again.
I think you are probably right about Kuze basically being the "puppet master", i only mention it in the context that Stuckmann didn't address that the main character of 2nd gig is Hideo Kuze, an omission which i found quite surprising given he's a fan. I mentioned it as i think it means he's not THAT much of a fan, as a hardcore GitS fan would feel compelled to mention this i think.
Using the name of a very significant character from the source material for a totally different character is yet another puzzling and questionable decision for me. Why use that name? To Joe Public, it means nothing so it's almost as if they want to confuse the existing GitS fans. It's almost like making a Batman film, using the Joker as the villain but then calling him the Riddler. It's a weird decision that i cant think of a rational explanation for.
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To echo my review in the other thread I would agree the story has been "robocopped" to some degree although of I would argue the first couple of Robocop films were well made quite intelligent pieces of sci fi.
I think some shift was inevitable when you were talking a $100 million blockbuster, you could argue in retrospect of its limited US impact I spose they might have been better off going for something more modest in budget and an R-rating ala say Ex Machina.
As a big action blockbuster not driven by someone like Jackson/Nolan who might be able to push things further though I do think its probably close to as well done as you could expect. Most obviously it doesn't go down the cheap metahumour riollercoaster route that so many big films do these days but it does also leave a decent amount of room to work as a character study and indeed to build an atmosphere, both areas that I actually felt Oshii's films excelled at most as without that any philosophising would have felt rather shallow.