I wanted so much from this movie, and don’t shoot me for saying this, but I was willing to set aside the white-washing, which is obviously problematic, but now I am not sure if I should have taken that as indication that they would so badly use the source material from which they drew this horrible mess.
There are remakes and there are copydrift films, where the notion degrades so much in the copying that you really aren’t able to see much of the original in it. Sure, some of the features of the landscape are the same, but for a movie about the big questions concerning AI, human conciousness, and the relationship to the physical body, this movie lacks soul … it has no ghost.
The original movie was something I consider to be a big influence on myself. I loved Johansen in Under The Skin;
loved her in Lucy;
loved her in Ghostworld.
But this thing was so fucking flat-footed. I knew pretty early in the film I wasn’t going to like the rest of it – visually it wasn’t bad, but they managed to ditch parts of the story, and, and, and … it just never sparked. It was mediocre and dull.
I get that purists or fans of previous iterations get told to come to the table with the notion that a new thing is a new thing, but when something is an adaptation as much as it is a remake, or it at least is trading off the name of the source material, in an effort to get your bum in the seat, there is some kind of contract there. If you tell me I am going to see a Seven Samurai
remake and what I get is three my little ponies making origami, then you can’t expect me to be doing triple back-flips out of joy – it doesn’t work that way. Why is it unreasonable to expect some elements of a great thing to remain if said great thing is what people think they are paying for?
I’ve seen a similar argument floating around about The Dark Tower
– that it’s great if you haven’t read the books, or, sorry, it’s better if you haven’t read the books. Great, if it is nothing like the books, then call it something else.
Just because you can, doesn’t mean you should
is a maxim not applied enough. I don’t always need my anime turned into live-action; same with my Disney. It’s called imagination you monetary fuckwits – stop trying to make films by looking at your accounting ledger, because all you end up with is a sub-standard product. In some ways the art market exists solely because money didn’t get involved until most of the artists were dead, because it sure as shit would have fucked it up if had got it’s fingers dabbling around in the mechanics of the creative process.
I often joke that there are two types of Nicholas Cage movie – the ones where he needed the money, and the ones he did for passion. It isn’t hard to see the difference. A lot of the attraction to Asian cinema, whether it be martial arts movies, arthouse movies, or anime, is that they don’t follow the same Hollywood structure, or have the same motivations. This is not the first time that something has been Westernised to its detriment, and part of me just thinks lets make our kids more literate in film, and stop spoon-feeding them santised versions of the world. If someone could sit down and was willing to watch black and white or colour; was willing to read subtitles; and got to see that there are different cultural viewpoint out there, it might speak to them; there’d be more of a ghost in the shell, than some hollow version of things.