A few months ago it was announced that Scarlett Johansson would be playing the lead role in the live action version of popular Japanese manga and anime movie “Ghost in the Shell” a number of people were upset. Why you ask? Well people felt that having a Caucasian actress taking over the role of an ostensibly Japanese heroine was another case of Hollywood whitewashing. But in Japan the company that holds the rights and original movie director, Mamoru Oshii, have praised Johansoon’s casting. The proof will be in the pudding as they say.
The trailer for the new movie, scheduled to be released March 31 next year, recently dropped and it actually looks pretty good. For today’s post and the first edition of “Two for Tuesdays” I will be reviewing both the trailer and the seminal anime movie. With a SPOILER ALERT for the anime let’s plug in:
Ghost in the Shell (2017) Trailer
In the movie ScarJo plays a cyborg counter-cyberterrorist field commander (ain’t that a mouthful) called “The Major” who works with a task force called Section 9 that battles criminals and cyber hackers. She and her team come up against an artificial intelligence created by a company called Hanka Robotics.
In the trailer ScarJo does capture the look and feel of The Major and, with her experience playing Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and beating up people in movies like Lucy, we know she has the physicality as well. I also like that they kept her nude camouflage suit. There is one scene where she takes down a guy by a river which is pulled straight from the original and that is nice touch.
The visuals are the real stand out in the trailer and I enjoyed the creepy geisha robots, monk looking guys and wall bouncing action. The film delves into The Major’s past and origins, though, which were only touched on in the original anime. The theme of identity is central to the Ghost in the Shell story and I am glad that they appear to be focusing heavily on it. Overall the trailer has sweet visuals, ScarJo seems to have the role down and I am excited to see the final film next year.
Excitement Rating: Zero/Meh/Piqued/Ermagerd!
Ghost in the Shell (1995)
The Ghost in the Shell manga, produced by Masamune Shirow and running from 1989-1997, spawned three theatrical films, an animated television series with the subtitle Stand Alone Complex, a TV movie based on the TV series, and a handful of video games. On this side of the world it is best known for the original 1995 film which was released seven years after seminal anime Akira first blew Western audiences away.
I had seen Ghost in the Shell years ago but when I rewatched it recently I was able to enjoy it even more due to my (hopefully ) adult sensibilities. First off the animation is gorgeous and captures you from the action packed opening scene to the solemn and thoughtful final frame. The character of The Major is quite intriguing and her nude body suit outstanding. She is a lethally efficient agent but is also struggling with her identity and her place in the world. Her conversations with her partner and fellow cyborg Batou are poignant and thoughtful.
The action scenes are bloody and visceral though I would have liked some more. The soundtrack, which features haunting, almost operatic voices, perfectly captures the strange futuristic world in which the story occurs. The plot of the film is uncomplicated and the villain Puppet Master turns out to be a victim himself. A beautiful film, a surprisingly deep film and also an action packed good time.
Rating: Ghost in the Shell gets 3.75/4 super sexy cyborg agents
So how do you feel about the live action Ghost in the Shell movie? And are you a fan of the original anime film? Feel free to comment below and if you enjoyed this post you can share it with your peeps. Sharing is caring.
For more Cine Anime goodness you can check out my review of Akira here and my review of Howl’s Moving Castle here. And for more Japanese animation domination from redmangoreviews you can like the MovieVille Facebook page here or follow me on Twitter @suprememango012.
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