Rupert Sanders’ controversial (in some circles) adaptation of Ghost in the Shell has received its fair share of good reviews in the West [read our review here], despite the ‘white-washing’ claims hanging over it. However, it hasn’t connected with audiences domestically. Its opening weekend of $19 million was very disappointing considering its $110 million budget, and the audience dropped 60% in week two. Ghost in the Shell is doing better internationally ($92 million at the time of writing), and the film has now opened in its original home country of Japan where its being received very favourably.
Yahoo! Movies Japan rated the movie 3.5, praising the film’s visuals but not so much its story. The Hollywood Reporter spoke to some Japanese audience members who echoed that statement.
“It looked really cool and I really enjoyed it. They didn’t just try and copy the original, but came up with an original story, which was a better approach,” one Japanese viewer told The Hollywood Reporter. “Because it was a Hollywood production, they could use that size of budget to create those visuals of that quality.”
The subject of Scarlett Johansson’s casting has not caused the stir in Japan it has in the West. Original Ghost in the Shell director Mamoru Oshii praised her casting and said she exceeded all of her expectations.
“She was very cool,” the Japanese viewer added in his Hollywood Reporter interview. “I loved her in The Avengers, and I wanted to see this because she was in it. If they had done a Japanese live-action version, they would have probably cast some silly idol [girl-band member].”
Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, “GHOST IN THE SHELL” follows the Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.
Ghost in the Shell is directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman), with Scarlett Johansson (Captain America: Civil War) leading a cast that includes Beat Takeshi Kitano (Battle Royale), Juliette Binoche (Chocolat), Michael Pitt (Hannibal), Pilou Asbaek (Game of Thrones), Rila Fukushima (The Wolverine), Kaori Momoi (Memoirs of a Geisha), Chin Han (Independence Day: Resurgence), Danusia Samal (Tyrant), Lasarus Ratuere (Terra Nova), Yutaka Izumihara (Unbroken) and Tuwanda Manyimo (The Rover).