Around some time in April, I wrote a blog in response to a picture released from the set of the American production of Ghost in the Shell. While I wasn’t angry that it was Scarlett Johansson in the picture, my beef was the implication that there was a possibility that Paramount Pictures would make Scarlett “look more Asian” through effects in post production. Had the suggestion been made for other races, that idea would never be spoke of again; and the person making the suggestion would certainly be fired. Based on that alone, my chances of seeing this movie or even considering it was at negative one hundred percent.
My fears about this film were certainly warranted. A majority of recently American adaptations based on Japanese anime were horrendous. Dragon Ball: Evolution was such a mess. Unless you were familiar with the source material, the plot got off track; or rather, entirely lost among all the garbage thrown at you. The only thing in the film that was even close to the anime was Goku and Piccolo’s fight, only because at some point Goku does turn into his giant monkey form. The actor that played Goku (so bad I cannot remember his name and I am not about to Google it) I don’t even see in movies since this one (it probably killed his career like the Star War prequels killed Hayden Christianson’s). It’s also a shame to see a great asian actor like Chow Yung Fat in such a mess. But then again, I guess he needed a paycheck. Other properties such as Akira and Cowboy Beebop are stuck in forever production limbo due to many setbacks such as directors quitting or studios just shelving the projects all together. The closest thing I would even consider a “live action” anime movie was Pacific Rim, and that wasn’t based on any anime at all, but had a lot of anime elements. You could tell Guillermo del Toro probably looked to anime for inspiration.
Sometimes my opinion changes based on seeing what comes out of previews, but more than half the time it doesn’t. Maybe I’ll peek at it on a streaming service or rent it, but I’ll never be in a hurry to do so.
Now, I’m going to stick my foot in my mouth. In recent weeks, Paramount has been releasing mini trailers for this film. Two had caught my attention. Here is the first one.
This trailer is pretty close to the beginning of the film, where Motoko Kusanagi awakens in future Tokyo.
The second mini trailer that I liked was this one featuring Japanese actor Beat Takeshi (most known for his role in Battle Royale) as Motoko’s boss from Sector 9, Daisuke Aramaki.
To put the proverbial icing on the cake, a making of featurette appeared online. It showcased a lot of hidden gems for those familiar with the original movie (like the films opening sequence of Motoko’s “birth”).
It also interviews the anime movie’s original director Mamoru Oshii. In the parts that he is shown, he says he quite glad at where the production is going; and giving praise for Scarlett’s portrayal of Motoko.
So, in so many words, I may consider seeing this. In the few snippets I’ve seen, it really seems like they will keep to the original source material. That was a major problem from what I had seen with other adaptations. Once the property is bought, instead of catering to what fans want and expect, they tend to do what they call a “revisioning” of the material and give us something that is not familiar but only on a name basis. Hopefully there will be a more full fledged trailer to go by soon. Foot is now officially in mouth.
Ghost in the Shell is due out in theaters March 31st, 2017.