Ghost in the Shell opened this weekend–and bombed gloriously. The universal panning has been delicious, and I tweeted this:
me about gits bombing rn: pic.twitter.com/VjlihZ7CXc
— Minna Hong (@asiangrrlMN) April 2, 2017
Before you say it, no it’s not very mature of me, but I’m not feeling very mature about this issue right now. I have lots to say, so you better grab a can of your favorite beverage and buckle up because you’re in for a long ride.
Even though I’m feeling gleeful about the miserable failure of GitS, it’s tempered with the knowledge that Hollywood probably won’t learn the right lesson from it. Chances are, they’ll blame the fact that it’s a female-led action movie* and not because they didn’t grasp the core of the source material in the first place. It reminds me of the Marvel VP of Sales who blamed diversity for the slump in sales of their products rather than over-saturation or the watering down of their talent. The response of Hollywood to the bombing of these high-profile whitewashed movies is to double down on their idiocy, which I will talk about later.
One thing that has come up time and time again in the roundtables/thinkpieces discussing the failure of GitS is the phrase, “Whitewashing aside”. I want to address this from two different angles, starting with the straightforward one of putting the whitewashing aside. Now, full disclosure, I haven’t seen the movie and will not see the movie. I have seen the trailer, which, whitewashing aside, left me cold. While stylistic and slick, there was no heart to it. It’s all action with no core, and whitewashing aside, I still wouldn’t have wanted to seen this version of GitS. The anime movie was notable for its grappling with tough issues such as what it means to be human and how much personal agency should be sacrificed for expediency. Yes, there’s action in it, but that wasn’t the main point of the anime. I knew from the minute it was announced that the live action movie was not going to be able to capture the essence of the anime if it wasn’t directed by and starring Japanese people.