The Flickering Myth team react…
After a string of 10-second teasers a few months ago, the first full trailer for the highly-anticipated (but very controversial) adaptation of sci-fi classic Ghost in the Shell landed online yesterday [watch it here]. The film, starring Scarlett Johansson, has received a lot of negative press over its ‘white-washing’ cast, but how did the trailer fare with the Flickering Myth writing staff?
Oliver Davis: Nice Depeche Mode cover. Scarlett Johansson is going to get typecast as an alien/robot if she’s not careful.
Thomas O’Connor: There’s something subtly troubling to me about the idea that The Major is now an amnesiac in search of her past, beyond that the amnesiac hero angle in fiction is already played out. Has the central question of the story been shifted from an exploration of transhumanism, a questioning of the very validity of personal identity and humanity, to a more simplistic amnesia narrative? Grasping, maybe. Panicking, maybe. But the original film is a very deep and layered exploration of some very deep questions, and I don’t expect the Hollywood remake to match that. On the plus side, it at least looks like a pretty and well-staged sci-fi actioner with some interesting visuals. But is there any way they could have made Batou’s cyber-eyes look a bit less silly?
Eric Bay-Andersen: Looks decent. As a fan of the original film it’s somehow both cool and disheartening to see a few scenes that appear to have been copied shot-for-shot, and Batou’s eyes did remind me a bit of Jermaine Clements’ character in Men In Black 3. I hope they don’t overplay the ‘nude robot’ element of it to draw in the horny fanboy crowd (I bet Scarlett Johansson is dreading some of the questions on the press tour), and I hope they don’t dilute the too much of the philosophy and themes that made the original interesting. The design of the characters and the city looks cool though – cautiously optimistic at this point.
Chris Haydon: The first blockbuster trailer outside of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story which has actually filled me with euphoria. Finally, an exciting looking big-budget movie; one packed with exceptional art direction, costume and cinematography. I for one cannot wait for Ghost in the Shell.
Villordsutch: Visually this is beautiful, though we all know that not every fantastically wrapped gift holds something wonderful, I am intrigued by what Ghost in the Shell holds. Though it never displeases me to see Scarlett Johansson on the screen, I do agree with Oli, she is becoming the go to for roles of this ilk.
Jordan J. Jones: I guess I’m going to have to out myself here: I’ve never seen Ghost in the Shell. I honestly have nothing to go by, but a vague recollection of artwork that I’ve seen (and a weird PS1 tie-in). The trailer starts out fantastic, and really pulled me in. The colors, and overall design are just gorgeous. By the end, though, I became worried this movie will simply be style over substance. I didn’t get an idea of the main plot. Something something dystopian future, something amnesia, something slo-mo glass breaking. Who knows. Also, this does seem like a missed opportunity to hire a Japanese actress, as good as Scarlet looks in the role. A shame.
Calum Petrie: The major seems less of a in control and leader. More of a victim in search of answers. Looks better than I was expecting.
Josh Cui: Trailer looks cool, but I still can’t get over the fact that ScarJo is the main lead and not an Asian actress, especially given some of her roles historically (i.e. Lucy, when she asks an Asian taxi driver in an Asian country if he spoke English and when he said no she proceeded to just shoot him point blank).
Anghus Houvouras: I’m getting a Charlize Theron in Aeon Flux vibe. It’s kind of funny that Ghost in the Shell anime inspired a generation of creators and has helped inspire some of the most interesting sci-fi movies of the last 25 years and the adaptation itself looks kind of uninspired. Everyone has cribbed its style and themes so heavily over the past few decades that the elements that made it so amazing in 1995 don’t seem all that novel in 2016. On a strictly intellectual level i’m interested to see how the film turns out but the trailer felt cold and uninviting. The nifty visuals plus some droning Depeche Mode want you to think ‘The Matrix‘ but it’s got me thinking ‘Johnny Mnemonic‘
Mark Bartlett: I’m ready for a different type of blockbuster. This looks like it’s going to fit the bill.
So, a very mixed response for the trailer. Those who love the original seem to be on the cautionary side of things, afraid that this ‘Hollywood remake’ could miss the point somewhat, while newcomers to Ghost in the Shell are open to its visuals as well as Johansson in the role. Although, there are those who feel it was a major mis-step (no pun intended) to not cast an Asian actor in the role.
Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, “GHOST IN THE SHELL” follows the 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.
Ghost in the Shell is directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman), with Scarlett Johansson (Captain America: Civil War) leading a cast that includes Beat Takeshi Kitano (Battle Royale), Juliette Binoche (Chocolat), Michael Pitt (Hannibal), Pilou Asbaek (Game of Thrones), Rila Fukushima (The Wolverine), Kaori Momoi (Memoirs of a Geisha), Chin Han (Independence Day: Resurgence), Danusia Samal (Tyrant), Lasarus Ratuere (Terra Nova), Yutaka Izumihara (Unbroken) and Tuwanda Manyimo (The Rover). The film is set for release on March 31st 2017.