First, we have to talk about whitewashing. Given the controversy, it’s what you think about walking into the cinema.
I’m certainly in the school that thinks it would have been great to have a Japanese lead – but I can also understand why they didn’t go that way. It’s a big budget movie with a ridiculous amount of CGI. Financing its $110m cost would have been challenging with an unknown actress. And what’s more, Scarlett Johansson looks a lot like the Major from the manga – who has blue eyes.
Casting controversy notwithstanding, the film constantly reflects its Japanese origins. There are kanji everywhere, there are noodle shops and geisha doll robots, and above all there is the magnificent Beat Takeshi, who delivers nearly all his lines in Japanese because it’s the future and everyone understands him perfectly. Despite the Hollywood remake, this particular slice of pop culture is very much made in Japan. Continue Reading →