WHAT OF GHOST IN THE SHELL?
As of this time, the expected release date for Ghost in The Shell is March 31, 2017. The movie is currently filming under the direction of Rupert Sanders, who has one feature length movie on his resume, Snow White and The Huntsman. Despite a slightly veiled lift from Mononoke Hime in that movie, it’s hard to know if he’ll deliver the goods beyond being a director for hire. It might be clear he can handle an effects-heavy movie, but nothing in the direction of Snow White and The Huntsman stood out, at least not to my recollection.
Aside from Johansson, ‘Beat’ Takeshi Kitano has been cast as Chief Aramaki and Michael Pitt (Boardwalk Empire, Hannibal TV series) has been cast as the “Laughing Man”. This suggests an adaptation of the Ghost in The Shell: Stand Alone Complex anime series rather than the 1995 movie or the Masamune Shirow graphic novel.
From a thematic aspect, it might be easier to compress the anime series into a movie. After all, it’s been done as there is a 2005 compressed edition OVA of the first season that runs a little under 2 1/2 hours. Anyone who hasn’t seen the series may still find the OVA difficult to follow, so even Hollywood adaptation may not do it justice.
At its core, Ghost in The Shell is a police thriller, but the characters often meditate on philosophical themes pertaining to numerous aspects of self-identity, individualism and more. And that’s just on a basic level which is expounded within the overall series. All that may be bypassed for a simple police thriller set in the future.
The two credited writers for the adaptation at this time have one movie each. Jonathan Herman co-wrote the Oscar-nominated screenplay for Straight Outta Compton while Jaime Moss is co-credited for Street Kings (2008). To me, this pairing suggests a dramatic cop thriller approach in terms of story. However, for all I know, these two writers may be fanboys of the anime series. They may be respectful of the source material and manage to infuse the philosophical sci-fi elements that were the hallmarks of the property.
Perhaps they may turn out a decent adaptation after all, but the odds are not in their favour especially if they do not have a passion for the source material.
For now, we can only hope for the best, and perhaps prepare for the worst.