Ghost in the Shell (2017)

Another Ghost in the Shell original poster
Another Ghost in the Shell original poster

Ghost in the Shell Movie Preview

The story of how Ghost in the Shell  lost its innocence, and was bought to be adapted for the big screens began in 2008, so 13 years after the release of the first original anime film. Initially, the rights were bought Steven Spielberg and DreamWorks for a live-action film.

Obviously, the wrath of the fans who believed that the original masterpiece will be tainted Hollywood-style had no impact on these plans. But they failed nonetheless, since after a year the writers fled the project. Of course, everybody believed that Ghost in the Shell, the movie, will be shelved indefinitely, pretty much like the live-action Akira.

Another Ghost in the Shell original poster
Another Ghost in the Shell original poster

But it wasn’t so. In 2014, the production moved on, after changing hands several times, with a new director and two new writers. Thus, in January 2014 it was announced that Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) will helm the film, on a script written by William Wheeler.

In September 2014 it was also announced that a leading star may have been found, with Margot Robbie (The Wolf of Wall Street) being close to sealing the deal. It wasn’t so, since she chose to appear in 2016’s Suicide Squad.

In her place, Paramount Studios made Scarlett Johansson an offer she couldn’t refuse – reportedly, the actress was offered $10 million, double of what the original anime cost. She was then officially announced in January 2015 to play in the lead role, with the production scheduled to begin in early 2016, for a March 2017 release.

More than obviously, there is nothing known about the plot of Ghost in the Shell whatsoever. But it can be expected that the live-action film will be a very loose adaptation of the manga on which the anime was based. First of all, the anime (and the manga, for that matter) were both set in a futuristic Japan.

Obviously, this setting is excluded from the start, pretty much like the character’s names. Furthermore, it can also be presumed that the live-adaptation of Ghost in the Shell will drop some of the other elements of the original story.

Scarlett Johansson in LucyAnd one of these is the Puppet Master (announced on sites such as IMDB, but not confirmed by the director, studio, or anybody more knowledgeable), who can be considered as the main antagonist of the original anime. After all, this whole hacker-villain plot has been used and reused countless of times until now.

But, hopefully, even if these elements will be dropped, the fans of the original anime can hope that at least the ideas will be adapted for the live-action Ghost in the Shell. The fans can hope that at least the ideas about gender identity and sexuality will be kept for the film. If not, it may as well be considered that something was indeed lost in translation and that the Ghost in the Shell was voided of all content.

And while Scarlett Johansson has proven herself to be a more than versatile actress (appearing both in indie hits as well as in huge action blockbusters) and might just do a great job as the main character (which still remains unknown and which, hopefully, won’t be as one-dimensional as Lucy), we are not so sure about Rupert Sanders’s credentials. Sure enough, Snow White and the Huntsman can (almost) be considered a hit, with an actually impressive visual style – however, it also felt a bit hollow, if not a bit more than just that.

Until this moment, we cannot mention one single anime/manga adaptation in Hollywood which remained truthful to the letter and spirit of its original sources. So the fans can only hope that Ghost in the Shell will be the first one to break the ice and be at least centered on the core ideas of the manga/anime.

If not, this adaptation may end up just like Speed Racer, Dragon Ball Evolution, and Oldboy – you must certainly know that these were all atrocious. Because, after all, this isn’t any longer just about Ghost in the Shell. It is just one of the many adaptations to follow, with the most notable ones being: Death Note, Cowboy Bebop, Bleach and Akira.

For the moment, Ghost in the Shell stars only Scarlett Johansson, in an unspecified lead role. The movie is directed by Rupert Sanders and will be released on the 31st of March, 2017 (which can be considered a good date, since the only known contender is The Smurfs Animation Project).