Ghost in the Shell is one of 2017’s most talked-about, but also most controversial potential blockbusters, with Scarlett Johansson adding another potential hit action movie franchise to a filmography that already includes Lucy and the Avengers movies. The film itself (and, most of all, her casting in the lead) continues to draw criticism for “whitewashing” the originally-Japanese character of Major Mokoto Kusanagi – a cyborg policewoman fighting high-tech crime in a dystopian future.
Paramount Pictures has now released a new international trailer for the Ghost in the Shell live-action remake. This particular theatrical preview (watch it above) is aimed at Japanese audiences and shows how the film is being marketed in the original animated film’s homeland.
This new trailer doesn’t seem any more interested in explaining things to audiences not already familiar with the Ghost in the Shell animated film (or the manga series on which it was based) what, exactly, the story is or what Johansson’s role is meant to be. The preview also includes several shots that are either extended or entirely different from previous promotional clips for the film. The emphasis remains on Johansson’s character design – including, The Major’s habit of fighting wearing little more than her own robotic “skin” – and the production’s impressive recreation of 1990s Japanese cyberpunk aesthetics, with specifics of the plot possibly being saved for future advertising.
While the striking visuals and the dedication to recreating the look and feel of the original anime will likely be welcomed by fans, the increased emphasis on how specifically ingrained in Japan and Japanese cultural/art-design sensibilities the project otherwise remains will likely draw more attention to the controversy over Johansson’s casting. This has led to more and more debate about the passing over of Asian actors for Hollywood projects – to mention nothing of the rumors that those working on the film attempted to develop effects technology to give Asian features to western stars in Ghost in the Shell.
Originally created by Mamoru Oshii, the Ghost in the Shell franchise takes place in a futuristic Japan; where the most dangerous and profitable criminal activity involves the trafficking and control of artificially-intelligent robots and high-end bionic augmentations for human beings. While the new film is based on the same storyline as the original anime, the franchise has also continued in the form of sequels, video games and television series in Japan and is considered one of the more enduring anime/managa properties in the Japanese entertainment industry – along with being one of the first Japanese animated films to achieve semi-mainstream success with U.S. audiences in the 1990s.
Source: Paramount Pictures Japan