Category: movies

I Feel it In My Ghost…

So.  I have thoughts about the live action Ghost in the Shell movie.

The first one, which is probably surprising me the most, is that I *really* want to see it. The trailers make it look cool and weird and dark and very, very cyberpunk. It’s clearly sticking very closely to the source material from a visual point of view (with one or two, shall we say, problematic exceptions).

And that leads me on to my second thought. There’s no getting around it: this movies *reeks* of whitewash. The lead character in the original GitS is Japanese.  Her name is Motoko Kusanagi, for heaven’s sake.  Scarlett Johansson may be many things, but Japanese she ain’t.  It’s not just ScarJo either: I’ve had a look at the cast list and it looks like anyone who could be considered a main character is being played by a white actor, with the Japanese actors picking up the supporting roles. It reminds me of the Doctor Who episode, “The Talons of Weng Chiang”, which did have genuine East Asian actors, but only in the background. Thankfully, we’ve been spared the horrendous yellow face of Weng Chaing, although only just, it seems.

Ordinarily, this would be a no brainer: I’d steer well clear and maybe, maybe, watch it on Netflix in a billion year’s time. But, and here’s the rub, it’s a female-fronted genre action movie, and those aren’t exactly growing on trees. Johansson has appeared in five Marvel movies to date, with a sixth on the way, and yet the Black Widow solo movie is just an eternal ‘maybe’.  There are a few series: Underworld and Resident Evil are the obvious ones, but those are the exceptions that prove the rule.

There’s no good outcome here.  If I see the movie, I signal to the studios that the course they set was correct: Western audiences need/want Western leads in their movies (*cough* Great Wall *cough*). If I don’t see it, I signal to the studio that action movies with women just don’t have that much of an audience. (The studio thinks very highly of my opinion, as I’m sure you can tell.)

I will still probably go and see it. If I can support underrepresented groups in cinema, I will, even if it’s a rather pyrrhic victory. I would love to get the opportunity to support minority actors in these kind of roles, but I’ll take what I can get at the moment.


(Fisher)Man of Steel

The first teaser trailer for Man of Steel, the Superman reboot, has hit the web. As teasers go, it’s not really rocking my world; Christopher Nolan’s influence is coming through a little too strongly for my tastes and I don’t think he’s a great fit for Superman.  Batman, sure, but not Superman.  It doesn’t help either that this trailer feels a lot like the part in Batman Begins where Bruce is in China trying to find himself.  You half expect Liam Neeson to pop out and invite him to join the League of Shadows.

It always feels like a mistake to try and make Superman dark.  When a hero dresses in primary colours and can punch a mountain in half, trying to make him edgy just seems silly.  An “edgy” Superman could defeat Lex Luthor by squashing him into paste, and there would be nothing that Luthor could do about it – no amount of Kryptonite is going to protect you from a truck falling on you from a mile up.

But, as I said in my last post, it’s very easy to complain about stuff, so in the interest of being less of a complaining chatter-ninny, I was firstly say that I think that Zak Snyder is a pretty good choice to direct as he does very well with bright colours and action.  Not so well with the script writing, but you can’t be good at everything.  I will also say how I would have done it differently.

1.  Lose the Fishing: Not from the movie entirely, just from the trailer.  You don’t have a lot of time to mess around in a teaser trailer and the Deadliest Catch stuff isn’t – at least I assume it isn’t – representative of how the movie will be.

2. More Kid in Cape: The kid in the cape is a great touch because it shows us Superman without actually showing us Superman.  A short shot to establish that the kid is Clark would have been good.  Maybe a shot of a farm or something.  Nothing obvious, like him lifting a car over his head, but just enough to establish that this is the man who will become out hero.

3. A More Obvious Money Shot: That sounds dirtier than it is.  The shot of Superman in the clouds isn’t bad or anything, it’s just that the man himself is really hard to make out.  What I would have done is used the image of the backlit kid with his cape billowing and cut to a later image to the now adult Clark in the same pose.  Still backlit, and not showing too much off, but just enough to get the audience going.1

4. Change the Titles: That’s a very bleak looking font, and when I think of Superman I don’t think “bleak.”

  1. This is probably one of those things that is easier said than done.  I understand that the cape for the movie will be CGI, and if the movie isn’t due for another year, that work likely hasn’t been done yet.  Still, this is an “ideal world” kind of list.