Masamune Shirow‘s genre-defining manga, the anime adaptation of which was pivotal to Japanese cyberpunk storytelling, Ghost in the Shell is getting ever closer to the launch of its western live action reincarnation. Due to hit cinemas at the end of March 2017, it has already had its share of both positive and negative attention. While the casting of Scarlet Johansson as the character originally named Motoko Kusanagi drew criticism for perpetuating the whitewashing of minority characters in Hollywood movies, it hasn’t done all that much to abate the excitement generated by official teasers and leaked set photos.
At the recent event in Tokyo, a full trailer for the movie was finally released, offering the most comprehensive look so far at what we can expect.
It introduces Johansson’s character as The Major – whose new name may suggest some attempt to justify her new cultural identity – and her role in a hyper advanced though not-too-distant dystopian future. It shows her position as a cyborg enforcer of the law as well as a social outsider, trapped in but distinctly separate from the human world – a sense of dysmorphia that the trailer suggests has a far more sinister foundation that the Major initially suspects.
In the few minutes of footage we see, it is clear that this movie is making the most of both cutting edge CGI and incredible stunt work.
To provide a feel for what the story will be like and how it will relate to the original source material, Scarlett Johansson spoke to Collider while in Tokyo:
“You can’t rip it off the page, it’s totally different. You’re playing it as a – it’s not really a person, but it’s a human brain, it’s someone who’s having this life experience. Which is very different from just ripping stuff off from the manga. One thing that will be very different probably is we’re not making the Frank Miller world where those graphic novels come to life. We have kind of the iconic iconography of the Manga and stuff, but I think people will be surprised at the gritty kind of realness of this. For a person that doesn’t have a heart, it has a lot of heart, I think.”