Paramount Pictures is giving Masamune Shirow’s classic anime/manga property Ghost in the Shell the live-action blockbuster treatment, with Scarlett Johansson starring as the film’s protagonist, aka. “The Major”, and director Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) calling the shots. Following the release of a series of enigmatic teasers, the studio has now launched an official trailer for the film.

The Ghost in the Shell trailer debuted during a global launch party for the film in Tokyo, where Johansson, Sanders and “Beat” Takeshi Kitano were all in attendance. Members of the press were shown never-before-seen footage from the film (more on that to come) and given a behind-the-scenes look at the costumes and props from the film, as well as a chance to try out the film-centric experiential photo booth – “Becoming the Major.” You can check out the trailer for Ghost in the Shell above, then take a look at the poster, below.

Sanders’ directorial debut with Snow White and the Huntsman was visually impressive, if nothing else, and Ghost in the Shell appears to be the same; with a number of shots in the trailer alone emulating memorable imagery from both Shirow’s original comic and Mamoru Oshii’s 1995 animated Ghost in the Shell film. The original Ghost in the Shell property was also a heavy influence on the Wachowski Sisters’ The Matrix trilogy; in an example of things coming full circle, Sander’s live-action movie appears to have taken some of its cues from The Matrix in turn – with respect to how the action and major set pieces are staged.

Ghost in the Shell International Poster Ghost in the Shell Trailer: Scarlett Johansson Has a Past

Based on the property of the same name created by Masamune Shirow in 1989 (as a Japanese manga), Ghost int the Shell revolves around the Major: a “special ops, one-of-a-kind human-cyborg hybrid”, as the film’s official synopsis puts it, who was created by Hanka Robotics and leads the elite task force known as Section 9 – battling various dangerous criminals and extremists in futuristic Hong Kong. The Major herself has a past that extends well beyond her days as a cyborg crime-fighter; and as the trailer for Ghost in the Shell suggests, the Major is forced to confront her history while battling her most dangerous (and mysterious) opponent yet.

Ghost in the Shell so far has garnered controversy over the casting of Johansson as the Major, in what is generally viewed as whitewashing casting. Ghost in the Shell‘s producers have responded to the whitewashing criticisms, noting that there are “all sorts of people and nationalities in the film’s world,” as far as the ensemble cast goes. Most of the main characters from the film – including, Dr. Ouelet (Juliette Binoche) and Batou (Pilou Asbæk), as well as Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire) as the villain, in addition to Johansson – are nevertheless portrayed by white actors, as illustrated by the trailer. 

What impact this whole conversation has on the movie’s critical reception and box office turnout remains to be seen, but in general whitewashing criticisms have had an increasingly negative effect on films’ commercial performances in recent years. Ghost in the Shell also arrives at a time when the bar for stories about artificially-intelligent beings has been raised, thanks to movies like Ex Machina and TV series such as Westworld

NEXT: Mamoru Oshii Visits the Ghost in the Shell Set

Source: Paramount Pictures

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