All style and no substance, Hollywood’s superfluous remake of a cerebral anime classic fails to quell valid concerns of whitewashing.
Created in 1989 by writer/artist Masamune Shirow, Ghost in the Shell was a popular cyberpunk manga which has spawned countless media adaptations, ranging from video games, animated television series and feature-length films. Though the different incarnations of the Ghost in the Shell property have varied in tone and story, one constant has always remained – protagonist Major Motoko Kusanagi. Deadly as she is beautiful, this Japanese cyborg law enforcement agent who commands a counter cyberterrorism task force was ripe with big-budgeted Hollywood potential.
Well, in theory at least.
A live-action adaptation of Ghost in the Shell certainly had all the makings of being a critical and commercial success – myriad action sequences, timely philosophical themes, a visually arresting setting and a compelling ass-kicking female leading character. Instead, the 2017 Rupert Sander’s directed Ghost in the Shell serves as a sad – albeit pretty to look at – reminder of Hollywood’s disgraceful tradition of marginalizing Asians and Asian-Americans.
The 90’s reboot no one wanted is an unexpected near triumph where diverse characters with heart overshadow big robots and bland action.
At about an hour into viewing Power Rangers, the Dean Israelite-directed reboot of the 90’s children’s show of the same name, the realization that the film is not the heartless cash grab you braced yourself for begins to sink in.
It’s true. At the halfway mark of Power Rangers, only one of the film’s five superheroes has even donned a cool, colorful costume and it’s only for the briefest of moments. Instead, the five teenagers with attitude sit around a campfire, unsure how to reconcile their differences while being thrust into a team together. Battered and bruised from failing in their warrior training, the rangers put aside their frustrations and begin to open up to one another emotionally, discovering about each other what we the audience have known all along – they are hurt and lonely.
They need friendship.
They also really need their mighty morphing powers, as an evil blast from the past named Rita Repulsa (played by Elizabeth Banks) has awoken with Earth-destroying intentions.