Ghost in the Shell: A Controversial Sci-Fi Film Released in 2017

News - 26 December 2023
The film Ghost in the Shell was released in 2017 with a star-studded cast including Scarlett Johansson, Juliette Binoche, and Pilou Asbæk. Directed by Rupert Sanders, known for his work on Snow White and the Huntsman, the film did not receive the expected praise due to a major mistake that cost Sanders dearly. nnSet in 2029 Japan, Ghost in the Shell follows cyber agent Motoko Kusanagi, portrayed by Johansson, who works for the Japanese government as a spy in Section 9, a secret organization that handles top secret and dangerous missions.

Kusanagi is tasked with finding the Puppet Master, a Japanese agent who communicates solely through electronic devices and networks, and has decided to give himself a physical body against the rules. Section 9 must stop him before it's too late.nnWhile the plot seems promising for a science fiction film with cyborgs, Sanders faced backlash for casting Johansson, a non-Japanese actress, in the lead role.

Critics and fans accused Sanders of whitewashing, a controversial practice where white actors are given roles that could have gone to actors of other ethnicities, thus erasing diversity and original character traits. nnThe original Ghost in the Shell source material, a manga series and an anime from 1995, features a Japanese woman as Kusanagi, making Johansson's casting even more problematic. The film's underwhelming box office performance, earning just $110 million, reflected the disappointment of fans.

nnWhether or not one believes it was whitewashing, Ghost in the Shell is still worth watching for fans of futuristic, action-packed, and science fiction films. The controversy surrounding the film sparked important discussions in Hollywood about the need for more diversity in casting decisions. Ghost in the Shell is now available for viewing on Pathé Thuis and Netflix, allowing audiences to form their own opinions about the film.