I think it's important to keep in mind who one is talking to, and what differences one has with one another. Ray is making a big deal over whitewashing to people that have already heard the arguments and made up their minds. Reiterating the same points with inflated pathos isn't going to convince people; it's going to get people to stop listening entirely. I'd love to have a conversation about the subject, just not with a brick wall. I intentionally didn't address half of his post because I recognized that it'd be futile to do so; instead I'm trying pick at the parts I do think are worthy of back and forth dialogue. It's not going very well.
FreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:Ray, on the other hand, seems to know intent of the director and of "Hollywood." (Hollywood is a collection of buildings that make up a city that houses businesses with wildly different agendas, and therefore has no single unified intent other than to profit from the masses.)
As someone who lives in Hollywood, and who also has entry level knowledge of the film industry, I can attest to this. (yay, anecdotes!) I've worked a couple sets, one of my roommate has had a successful career as a film producer and cinematographer for over ten years, and my other roommate runs film a film festival and produces a little as well. Ray's impression of Hollywood has bits of truth in it, but it's essentially an amalgamation of what people gossip and outrage about on the Internet. The thing is that Hollywood is not the Illuminati. It's not as in control as people think it is, mostly because it's not a single entity; like Freaky says, it's a collection of businesses seeking profit by selling entertainment, and each is in competition with each other and trying to maximize their profits by putting their thumbs on the metaphorical pulse of mainstream audiences, gauging the collective consciousness via dollar bills.
Why was it that, after the popularity of CGI began, the stories of films began to suffer? Because CGI replaced the need for an interesting story in order to get people in theater seats, and it was also economical. However, eventually CGI got old, in multiple senses of the word, and it stopped being enough. People got sick of terrible movies that were essentially actors on a green screen interacting with invisible sets and characters. Eventually, in the last decade maybe, movies started putting more effort into storytelling, adaptations became more faithful to the source material (take superhero films for example), and finally, practical effects are starting to become popular again despite the cost. This is all thanks to the audiences speaking up with their money.
As for whitewashing: maybe it's a problem, but the only way to get that to change is to the influence the culture, not Hollywood itself. I don't personally see it as a prevalent problem currently; in fact I've seen major strides lately toward race and gender diversity in films (on screen at least) within the last five-ten years or so. I think if a franchise is inseparable from the culture that produced it then, yes, an American adaption should remain faithful to the race and culture of the characters. However, I also believe that American productions have little to no interest in producing such movies. Hollywood typically adapts stories that are universal enough to localize or at least appeal to mainstream audiences, which is exactly what I believe the case to be with GitS.
So again, to make myself clear, I have absolutely no problem with the Major being played by ScarJo, in fact I'm a little giddy because it's ScarJo specifically (if I had to pick a celeb crush, probably her, just saying). The fact that she and Batou at the token whites of the group amuses me, and I'm very glad the rest of Section 9 is quite diverse and is for the most part spot-on accurate to how they appear in the anime. What I've seen so far pleases me, but I'll wait until the film comes out to decide if the film is good or not. Again, if it's a terrible film, will it have mattered if the Major was played by an asian? At least with ScarJo, even if the film sucks, it'll make some of it's money back; she's basically insurance.