Filled with controversy since the moment it was announced, the Dreamworks/Paramount Pictures co-produced movie, Ghost in the Shell, seems to be losing fans rather than gaining any. But with the release of the first ever footage from the March 2017 release – showing Scarlett Johansson as “The Major” in all her cyborg glory – these clips might cool your rage a bit rather than adding more fuel to the fandom fire.
As someone that has been in the “anime scene” since the mid-90’s, Ghost in the Shell has been a staple of my fandom catalog since I first saw it in middle school. I can’t say that it is a cherished favorite, but even the most basic fans of animation have come to respect it as a game changer – one that helped introduce American audience (similar to Akira – which is also getting the live action treatment) to the world of Japanese Animation, while also representing a level of sophistication that many weren’t too used to with earlier imports Speed Racer or Battle of the Planets.
An adult thriller with complexity coming from its pores, there is a reason why Ghost has stuck with its fans ever since its release, and why it was chosen to become a live action movie. But do these clips bring back that same mixture of jaw-dropping imagery with action and mystery, all packaged together? Well, it certainly seems like it’s on the right track. And with the help of a brilliantly edited fan teaser trailer, featuring a familiar tune from the franchise, it’s hard for even the most annoyed of fans to not see that there are some obvious nods to the original here.
From Major’s apartment from the original movie to the creepy robot geishas and more, there’s a lot to see here and appreciate. Cinematographer Jess Hall and Director Rupert Sanders have beautifully captured the intensity of the source material, without losing the elements that made the anime so fresh and spectacular back in the 90’s. I hope that the rest of the movie has images that are on this par or greater, and continue to impress.
I’d also like to give some major props to the marketing team for having one of the teaser shots feature (the greatest Japanese male actor of all time, in my opinion) Beat Takashi, who will be taking on the role of Chief Aramaki . Though there are only 10 seconds of footage, seeing Takashi take center stage here brought me right back to my teenage days of watching Battle Royale for the first time, and living for the moments when Takashi stole the spotlight from his co-stars. If there is anything good that could come from this movie, it is that more people will know about this man’s brilliance as a movie star. Seriously, show some respect.
So, Ghost in the Shell overall seems to be heading in a better direction that anticipated. Sure, this isn’t the exact movie I dreamed of (you know, one with an Asian female lead would have been nice) but all things considered, this could be a lot worse – like Dragonball: Evolution worse.
So what do you think of these first shots from Ghost in the Shell? Are you going to see the movie now, or avoid it at all costs? Do you think it’ll be visually faithful to the original? Which storyline arcs do you hope they cover here? Comment below with all your thoughts!
Ghost in the Shell arrives in theaters March 31st, 2017.