Killing a Whitewasher: Ghost in the Shell
April 17, 2017
It’s always satisfying to find meaning in a film, especially when you had no preconceived notions going into it. After watching the film Ghost in the Shell, I had my own personal realization about the film that I didn’t expect.
This is the type of film which is crafted to be visually stunning but lacks any substance and depth. They build this world that is filled with so many finely crafted surface details, showing that they put a lot of effort into the specifics of the environment. This would be great if they had paired this with a story that was as developed as the world they show us. The characters and storyline fall flat and are only interesting in short bursts. There are themes discussing what it means to be human and technology itself, but they are lightly touched upon or barely even mentioned. What we have is a stunning film with no depth.
With no restrain on spoilers: Scarlett Johansson plays an asian woman who was captured by a corporation and turned into a white killing machine. If you’re unaware of what whitewashing is, it’s when someone takes a foreign cultural entity, neglects the part of the material that’s rooted in the original culture, and assimilates and changes it so that it’s more accessible to western (white) audiences.
What I found interesting about this film is that if you think about it; it’s having an asian woman ( foreign property) fight for her original identity (as in its ethnic and cultural roots), in which a corporation (Hollywood) took away from it. In no way did the filmmakers want to convey this message, but that’s exactly what I pieced together right after finishing the film.
Now this meaning that I’ve cobbled out of my feelings from the movie in no way justifies the creative choices they made for it. It’s still a beautiful, dull movie that plays around with the theme of humanity but doesn’t actually accomplish delivering any messages about it. Nonetheless it does present an interesting perspective on the film which makes me respect it more than I had anticipated.
Although if the movie does peak your interest, going back to the source material is always a must, whether it be the actual Japanese comic(manga) or the original anime.