Here’s our first real preview of the Scarlett Johansson film based on the critically acclaimed anime and manga franchise.
After a long, halting, controversial start-up process, Hollywood’s live-action Ghost in the Shell movie is finally making strides towards completion, with distributor Paramount releasing a burst of teasers to whet the appetite of preexisting fans of the Japanese animation landmark and newcomers to the franchise alike.
One of the biggest unanswered questions surrounding the project is which version of its source material is serving as its biggest inspiration. The original manga by series creator Masamune Shirow, the animated theatrical feature from director Mamoru Oshii, and the anime TV series helmed by Kenji Kamiyama all have significantly different tones in their treatment of the cybernetics-permeated world in which Ghost in the Shell takes place.
From the brief glimpses these teasers give us, it looks like Oshii’s film is having the largest influence on the live-action Ghost. The shot of star Scarlett Johansson waking up in her bed mirrors one of protagonist Motoko Kusanagi doing the same in the anime film, and the teasers seem steeped in the sort of ethereal cerebralism that’s Oshii’s signature style.
One of the very few lines of dialogue spoken in the teasers is of a stoically inquisitive Kusanagi being asked “What are you?” implying that the themes of self-realization and identity, so central to Oshii’s vision of the franchise, are likely to carry over to the Hollywood version to at least some extent.
▼ Not that there won’t be any action, though, since we can now be sure of veteran Japanese actor Beat Takeshi, as Chief Aramaki, capping at least one dude before the movie ends.
▼ Also, the Japanese flag apparently becomes a makeup trend.
Follow Casey on Twitter, where all this talk of Mamoru Oshii has him wanting to rewatch the Patlabor anime movies.