For all of the early controversy surrounding Paramount’s upcoming live-action remake of Ghost in the Shell, the film’s second trailer suggests that if nothing else, director Rupert Sanders and the VFX crew have a capable handle on the eerie cyberpunk aesthetics of Mamoru Oshii’s classic 1995 animated film. Ghost in the Shell has been floating around for years as a hot live-action adaptation waiting to happen, but something about getting a major draw on the level of Scarlett Johansson to don the suit of the Major finally brought it to fruition. Whether the new film can also maintain the rich narrative depth of its source material remains to be seen, but we now only have to wait another month to find out.
For the uninitiated (who really should check out that 1995 original), Ghost in the Shell “follows the Major, a special ops, one-of-a-kind human cyborg hybrid, who leads the elite task force Section 9. Devoted to stopping the most dangerous criminals and extremists, Section 9 is faced with an enemy whose singular goal is to wipe out Hanka Robotic’s advancements in cyber technology.” It’s set in a futuristic metropolis (the original film’s was modeled on Hong Kong, where the remake was filmed as well) in which a vast, interconnected technological network dictates all aspects of daily life, and will hopefully wrestle with some of the same existential questions as the original, specifically about what it means to be human in a time governed in all ways by technology.
From the unsettling giant holograms to whatever in God’s name that crawling spider-robot thing is, we’ll continue to hold out hope that Ghost in the Shell will bring new life into its never-more-relevant vision of a future ruled by human machines.
Ghost in the Shell will be released in theaters on March 31st.