The live-action Ghost in the Shell movie has been in development for over a decade at this point. It’s bounced from live-action, to all-CG, back to live-action over all those years, and even had Steven Spielberg attached at one point. Yet like most anime films, it seemed to be perpetually stuck in development hell.
From the looks of it, Ghost in the Shell will retell the events of the first film. For the uninitiated, the 1996 classic followed Major Motoko Kusanagi, an android woman trying to find her humanity between firefights. Along with the rest of Special Security Section 9, she hunted down the elusive Puppet Master, a terrorist hacker manipulating cyborgs and erasing their memories.
Visually, the trailer looks to hold pretty true to the original. Some shots are even lifted and recreated with both live-action and CGI, something longtime fans such as myself will instantly pick up on. Which, of course, brings to mind the question of why there even needed to be a live-action version in the first place, but this isn’t an opinion column.
Overall, this first trailer looks pretty promising. I’m still incredibly skeptical of the whole thing, and probably will be up until it actually releases. After all, this is a franchise I’ve been invested in for well over a decade. That said, I’m really impressed by the visuals that are shown here, and the art direction looks absolutely gorgeous. My only hope is that the film retains the cerebral, technobabble-heavy philosophy that made the original franchise so beloved in the first place.
Ghost in the Shell will release in the United States on March 31, 2017.