Ghost in the Shell Video Essay

It’s no secret that Paramount Pictures’ adaptation of Ghost in the Shell did not make a splash at the box office in the way executives had hoped. The film pulled in $169.8 million worldwide on a budget of $110 million, but that’s not including the massive, expensive marketing campaign, and the movie was considered a failure in the film industry.

It’s easy to attribute the failure of Ghost in the Shell to the fanbase that turned its back on the sci-fi adaptation due to the whitewashing of much of the cast, including actress Scarlett Johansson in the lead. But a new video essay breaks down the various ways that Rupert Sanders‘ adaptation of the beloved anime falls short, including aesthetic choices and a misunderstanding of the significance of the visuals from original anime that the film attempts to mimic throughout. Read More »

Ghost in the Shell Featurette - The Morning Watch

(The Morning Watch is a recurring feature that highlights a handful of noteworthy videos from around the web. They could be video essays, fanmade productions, featurettes, short films, hilarious sketches, or just anything that has to do with our favorite movies and TV shows.)

In this edition, a video essay takes a closer look at the ending of No Country for Old Men, ten years after the movie hit theaters, and a Ghost in the Shell featurette looks at one of the few things the movie did right, which is the incredible practical effects created by Weta Workshop. Plus, Eclectic Method created a catchy track composed entire of Star Wars sound effects, and it’s better than most songs you hear on the radio nowadays. Read More »

Ghost in the Shell Honest Trailer

There was plenty of controversy stirring around Paramount Pictures’ adaptation of the anime Ghost in the Shell. Most of it was because of the continued whitewashing of source material, but aside from that large complaint, the movie really just wasn’t all that remarkable. Even if the lead weren’t played by white Hollywood actress Scarlett Johansson, it would still have been quite the disappointing adaptation of a beloved piece of anime.

That means it’s time for Screen Junkies to do their worst by delivering the Honest Trailer for Ghost in the Shell, pointing out all the places it went wrong, and somehow only clocking in around four minutes.

Watch the Ghost in the Shell Honest Trailer below. Read More »

Hollywood adaptations of asian movies

A lot was riding on the success of Ghost in the Shell. The upcoming wave of anime adaptations such as Death Note and Akira, Paramount Pictures’ chance for a new sci-fi franchise led by Scarlett Johansson, and the chance to stymie the steadily-growing outcry against whitewashing.

But when Ghost in the Shell limped into theaters last weekend, bringing in a meager $20 million domestically on a $110 million budget, that may have spelled the end for Hollywood adaptations of anime classics. But this is not the first time Hollywood has tried and failed to remake a critically and financially successful film based on an Asian property — nor will it be the last time. The question I’m interested in answering is whether or not these Hollywood adaptations of Asian movies actually make money. Let’s look at the numbers. 

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ghost in the shell whitewashing

(Welcome to The Soapbox, the space where we get loud, feisty, and opinionated about something that makes us very happy…or fills us with indescribable rage. In this edition: the subject of racial erasure in Ghost in the Shell.)

The live action Ghost in the Shell has been the eye of a storm of controversy ever since its inception. It’s been accused of whitewashing due to the casting of Scarlett Johansson as the franchise’s protagonist, Major Motoko Kusanagi, as well as deeply unpleasant rumors that CGI had been used to alter an actor’s appearance to “shift [their] ethnicity.” Coming on the heels of similar controversies (Doctor StrangeIron Fist) and discussion, the conversation around it (arguments that the movie speaks for itself when it comes to the casting controversy, that the movie’s visuals are merit enough to disregard the problems inherent in it) only seems more tone-deaf, especially considering how those problems stack up.

Spoilers ahead.

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Ghost In The Shell spoiler review

(In our Spoiler Reviews, we take a deep dive into a new release and get to the heart of what makes it tick…and every story point is up for discussion. In this entry: Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell.)

Ghost in the Shell sometimes feels more preoccupied with how characters are framed than what they’re doing and saying. They usually look and sound fantastic, but rarely do they register as real flesh and blood in director Rupert Sanders‘ adaptation of the classic manga and anime. Ghost in the Shell is a distancing movie never quite as humane as its themes.

Below, check out our Ghost in the Shell spoiler review.

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Ghost in the Shell review

The live-action remake of Ghost in the Shell is a cinematic cubic zirconia that thinks it’s a diamond. The real thing exists, and is much easier to recognize; even at its gloomy, stylish best, this version is a poser unable to hide its true nature. The 2017 Ghost in the Shell is itself a ghost, a trace of something familiar left behind that can’t quite replicate the sense of being introduced to a strange new world that feels disturbingly close to our own. Though many of the themes inherent in this story are still relevant in 2017, nearly 30 years after the Masamune Shirow manga was first published and more than 20 years after the release of the iconic anime, Ghost in the Shell fails to capitalize.

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Ghost in the Shell Whitewashing PSA

The issue of whitewashing in Hollywood is a frustrating one, and the latest culprit in the struggle of non-white actors to have lead roles in major franchises is Ghost in the Shell.

Scarlett Johansson has the lead role in the American adaptation of the Japanese manga turned anime, a story which originally featured a female Japanese protagonist at its center. There are those who don’t understand why that’s a problem simply because the movie has to appeal to American audiences. But a new Ghost in the Shell whitewashing PSA by filmmakers Chew May and Jes Tom illustrates why having diversity in movies that are adapted from this kind of source material are important. Read More »

Scarlett Johansson in Ghost in the Shell

Ghost in the Shell may come up short on humanity, but the early reviews suggest director Rupert Sanders‘ live-action remake of Mamoru Oshii‘s 1995 manga adaptation is satisfying eye candy. Some reviews note that the film features another exceptional performance from Scarlett Johansson, although some of the movie’s critics write that the script holds her back a little. Sanders’ second feature may lack a heart and a sturdy third act, but by most accounts, it overcomes some of its problems with style.

Now, let’s take a look at the reviews themselves.

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Ghost in the Shell TV Spots

(Welcome to Movie Mixtape, where we find cinematic relatives and seek out interesting connections between new releases and older movies that allow us to rethink and enjoy what’s in our theaters as well as the favorites on our shelf. In this edition: Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell.)

Elon Musk is on the verge of shoving AI into our brains, and Scarlett Johansson hits theaters this week to sell us on how cool becoming a cyborg can be. After almost three decades in the public consciousness, first as a gorgeously challenging manga and then as boundary-busting animation, Masamune Shirow’s Ghost in the Shell has evolved into human form.

Finding films to watch alongside it isn’t hard. The cyberpunk exploits of Public Security Section 9 chasing down a mind hacker have inspired the technological imaginations of plenty of modern movies (not to mention launching a franchise of three animated movies, a TV series and several Original Video Animations).

Ghost in the Shell is the godmother that came along at the perfect time to re-launch a vision of the future fueled by the incipient internet, our relationship to AI, and the near-inevitability of our fusion with machines. It turns out the only difficulty in hunting down its peers is finding examples that see that future as optimistically as it does.

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