Live-action movie adaptations of anime/manga properties don’t have a strong track record at the U.S. box office (see Dragonball Evolution, Speed Racer), but next month’s Ghost in the Shell is aiming to change that. Set in a futuristic version of Hong Kong, the film stars Scarlett Johansson as The Major: a unique human/cyborg hybrid that leads elite cyber-crime fighting team Section 9. Costarring in the film are Pilou Asbæk (Game of Thrones) as The Major’s fellow Section 9 officer, Batou; Juliette Binoche (The 33) as one of The Major’s “creators”, Dr. Ouelet; and Michael Pitt (Hannibal) as a mysterious figure who knows more about The Major’s past than even she does.
Directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) and co-written by Jonathan Herman (Straight Outta Compton), Ghost in the Shell has been generating some healthy social media buzz a month ahead of its theatrical release, thanks in part to the film’s Super Bowl LI promo that aired a couple weeks ago. Paramount isn’t easing up on the gas pedal yet either, having now released two more posters to further promote the Johansson-headlined cyberpunk thriller.
The first of these new Ghost in the Shell posters (see the gallery below) features Johansson’s Major in a mid-air pose after having leapt through a window – itself, part of a larger action sequence that has been teased heavily throughout the film’s trailer marketing, thus far. As for the other poster, that too highlights a character – the nameless Robo-Geisha – who has played a significant role throughout the movie’s promotional campaign, starting with the enigmatic teasers that premiered during an episode of Mr. Robot last year.
Masamune Shirow’s original Ghost in the Shell manga and its subsequent anime adaptations (including Mamoru Oshii’s feature-length animated movie in 1995) were certainly a significant influence on such western sci-fi landmark titles as The Matrix – and in an example of things coming full-circle, the live-action Ghost in the Shell film is itself now being promoted as “next-gen Matrix“. Sanders and his collaborators have been vocal about their movie’s faithfulness to the visual style of Oshii’s animated Ghost in the Shell movie in particular, to the point of even fully recreating that animated feature’s opening minutes in live-action.
However, the issue that continues to mar the live-action Ghost in the Shell lies not with its aesthetic, but its casting; with The Major and the film’s other lead characters being portrayed primarily by caucasian actors, in an example of what is generally regraded as whitewashing casting. Pre-relase whitewashing criticisms certainly haven’t helped any movies at the box office in recent years (see this month’s The Great Wall, for the latest example) but as indicated earlier, the combination of Johansson’s star power and the film’s slick trailer footage have served to counter those criticisms. General moviegoers and critics will get the final say on that matter, in about fours weeks from now.
Source: Paramount Pictures