There's been a lot of talk about what the upcoming adaptation of Ghost in the Shell will have to offer. The popular 1995 anime film (and follow-up film/episodic entries), which was based on a manga series, has influenced lots of films, series and other anime. It is also very much the product of Japanese culture. Given the placement of Scarlett Johansson in the lead role, people are rightfully up in arms about the steps taken bring this property to a wider American audience. Now that the trailer is here, I wonder if that isn't the only issue.
Director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) gets credit for delivering on a sense of scope that is not unlike his take on Snow White's visuals. Obviously one is fantasy and this is science fiction, but for whatever reason, this director has managed to do enough to be given a giant amount of money to make films like this and it at least looks like it is all onscreen. Sadly, I have to wonder if the film has much going for it beyond ties that evoke Blade Runner and witnessing the appropriation of a Japanese story.
There are some impressive visuals here that make good use of CG and whatever practical sets were utilized, but there is also something very generic about how this trailer is presenting the story. I was only recently able to watch the original anime for the first time, but I found it to be fresh, interesting and exciting. This take on Ghost in the Shell feels like something we've seen in various forms over the year, which is a good way of pointing out how there is more to take away from seeing original films that "rip-off" from others, rather than remakes/reboots of stuff that's been seen before.
Of course, Ghost in the Shell is not exactly a mainstream property for those in America (and other parts in the world). Perhaps this is just the opening to a larger room that will have a greater effect when seen in full. Hopefully the whitewashed casting choices (see also Michael Pitt as the 'villain') will be outweighed by the big ideas that are at the core of the film and mix well with what could be some terrific action sequences.
Ghost in the Shell opens in theaters March 31, 2017.
Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, “GHOST IN THE SHELL” follows 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.