ghost in the shell trailer

I have no dog in the race when it comes to Ghost in the Shell, Rupert Sanders‘ upcoming adaptation of the massively popular Japanese science fiction franchise. I have not read the original manga and I haven’t seen the the animated films or television shows based on it. Honestly, my knowledge of the whole thing practically begins and ends with “female cyborg police officer goes on adventures throughout future Tokyo.” I will say this much, though: the latest snippet of footage is stylish enough to grab my attention and get me intrigued for the first trailer arriving this Sunday.

Yes, this is one of those dreaded teasers for trailers, because we live in a world where our advertisements need to be advertised. Honestly, this thing is more of an announcement than anything else, cryptically teasing the November 13 arrival of the proper preview.

But this announcement does feature about ten seconds of Scarlett Johansson (as the above-mentioned female cyborg police officer) doing her best Predator impression, taking down a guy while wearing some kind of cloaking suit.

It looks nifty! Then again, there was never any doubt that Ghost in the Shell was going to look great. The previous teasers, each of which feature only a few seconds of slick footage, made that clear. While I’m not a big fan of Rupert Sanders’ Snow White and the Huntsman, it’s one of the most visually audacious blockbusters of the past decade, a stunning VFX achievement in search of a story worth telling. Sanders is a talented technician (his ad work is also stunning), so I’m hoping that this is the project that sees him evolve into something more than a visual stylist.

However, it’s been a bumpy road for the film, which rightfully came under fire in its early days for casting Johansson as a character who was Japanese in the source material (and changing her name from Major Motoko Kusanagi to simply “the Major”). While the filmmakers have stressed that they’re being “very, very careful,” the film became a chief modern example for Hollywood’s long history of whitewashing characters of color. Not even the casting of of Rila Fukushima and Takeshi Kitano could help the production recover from its early bad press.

But a good trailer can go a long way to turning people around on the movie and changing the conversation. If there’s one thing Paramount wants to accomplish, it would be getting people talking about anything except that controversy by the time the film’s March 31, 2017 release date arrives.

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