The first official trailer for #GhostInTheShell has dropped harder than Major Motoko Kusanagi falling backwards off a skyscraper, and it's all anyone's talking about online.
Check out the Ghost In The Shell trailer again for another glimpse of that futuristic skyline and all of the naked Scarlett Johansson that you could ever want:
However, amongst all of the whitewashing debates and talk of how faithful the trailer is to the original #anime, one huge aspect of this live-action adaptation has fallen under the radar.
Major Changes Are Afoot
Even though the visuals look remarkably like the original anime, it soon becomes clear that the live action adaptation will diverge extensively from the source material.
This becomes particularly evident towards the end of the promo when #ScarlettJohansson's character talks to an unknown character in the voice-over:
???: "Everything they told you was a lie."
Major Kusanagi: "Who are you?"
???: "They did not save your life. They stole it."
At no point in the original anime film does the Government overtly lie to Kusanagi, and her origins in the anime are far more straightforward than this dialogue would suggest. When considered in this context, it's arguably reassuring that Hollywood aren't setting out to replicate the original movie strictly scene by scene — but will these changes still work organically within the franchise?
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What Aspects Of The Ghost In The Shell Franchise Will Influence This Adaptation?
In an interview with Collider, producer Avi Arad confirmed that the new Ghost In The Shell isn't a direct retelling of Mamoru Oshii's original anime, explaining that the new story is derived from a number of sources. Arguably, the most controversial change concerns the villain of the piece:
"We’re not doing Puppetmaster. It’s not Laughing Man. It involves Kuze. The Kuze story. The big thing we are doing here is that we’re not necessarily doing an origins backstory, but we are addressing her sense of self and resolving how she defines herself in terms of memories. That’s one of the main thrusts in the story. Inspired by that episode of Affection in 2nd GIG. It’s bits and pieces of those mixed together."
"Affection" is an episode taken from the second season of the anime series Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex, which dives headfirst into the Major's origins, where she must fight an old friend who once survived a plane accident alongside her as a child.
What About The Movies Though?
Arad also discussed the influence that the original Ghost In The Shell movies would have in further detail, including both the first film and the stunning sequel, Ghost in the Shell: Innocence:
"You’ll recognize some things from Ghost in the Shell: Innocence like the geisha bot. A lot of the time when you see futurist movies either it feels very beautiful and removed and clean or you have to go down a grimy, dystopic world. Rupert was chasing something else that was more similar to the source where it felt really tactile and tangible and you had things like cables even though wireless makes more sense. If you look at the original, the guys’ hands break off and type. Even in 1995 the idea that if you talked to a computer you’d type really, really fast didn’t make sense. That’s where we are coming from a lot of the time."
Check out the trailer to the original Ghost In The Shell for a refresher on this anime masterpiece:
With no Laughing Man or Puppetmaster in sight, this live action adaptation of Ghost In The Shell will need to find another way to challenge The Major, which Arad also touched upon in the interview:
"The villains in the story are people that are abusing this brave new world. The movie certainly addresses this whole idea of in the future, if you think about everybody’s biggest fear around technology is about getting your identity stolen (which is really just your credit record) as opposed someone hacking your brain could happen here. The more technology gets inside of you and the more it’s woven into your life the more that people can abuse it. So there are characters, both at a criminal level and a governmental level, who are abusing technology and doing scary things."
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The studio behind Hollywood's Ghost In The Shell adaptation have a tough time on their hands. If they stick too close to the source material, audiences will question why Scarlett Johansson's version was developed in the first place. However, if they deviate too far from what the fans love, then Ghost In The Shell could be crushed at the box office even harder than Kusanagi's head in the final action scene.
At the end of the day though, as long as director Rupert Sanders continues to push naked Johannson to the forefront, we're sure the film will still succeed when it's released on March 31, 2017, regardless of any divergence from the source material.
Should Ghost In The Shell stick closer to the plot of the original anime film?
Source - Collider