Remakes are under no obligation to be bad. There isn’t some magical curse going around that deems it impossible to remake a movie and not have it be on equal standing or maybe even better than the original. Need proof? Steven Soderbergh‘s Ocean’s Eleven is about as seductive and thoughtful a blockbuster as one could reasonably hope for these days. The original, in contrast, is useful only for nostalgists and insomniacs who just ran out of melatonin. And this isn’t even remotely a new thing either: Douglas Sirk and John Stahl drew two great movies from the same story and The Killers was handled in the 1940s by Robert Siodmak only to be remade by Don Siegel in 1967. The only thing that has changed, really, is the rate at which remakes come out – almost constantly, if you count reboots – and the increasing lack of thought and personality that goes into them on the whole.
Ghost in the Shell, for instance, did not have to look like the biggest waste of time since people told me Ello was a thing. Very specific decisions were made – mostly on the marketing side – that deemed that it had to be fronted by white people and had to be PG-13, essentially zapping any chance that the movie will have genuine stakes. Mind you, I haven’t seen it yet and I could be proven the fool in a few weeks but people who have seen Rupert Sanders‘ previous efforts will likely know exactly what I’m talking about here.
There is, however, something of a silver lining on this one. As Kotaku (via Japanese site Natalie) pointed out yesterday, the movie will feature the vocal talents of Akio Otsuka, Koichi Yamadera, and Atsuko Tanaka, who all provided the voices of the main characters in the classic anime that Sanders has remade, but not in America. Japanese audiences will get to hear their voices rather than those of Scarlett Johansson or Pilou Asbæk when they see the film, as the three actors will be dubbing the film for that particular market.
Otsuka will be returning to voice Batou, as he did on several occasions, and Tanaka will be voicing The Major, while Yamadera will voice Togusa, the character played by Chin Han in Sanders’ film. For die-hard fans of the series, this isn’t even the least they could do to recognize the amount cultural appropriation and whitewashing that’s going on here and doesn’t really make the film’s release any less irrelevant. All it does is make a few million American anime fans jealous, once again, of those living in Japan.