“Ghost in the Shell” is looking very close to the animated film…but could this mean trouble?
The latest trailer for the Scarlett Johansson adaptation of “Ghost in the Shell” shows off a variety of elements mimicking the original film. Compared to the first short trailer, this trailer provides more context in regards to the origin and stunning visuals as well. It almost looks like a 1:1 adaptation of the popular anime. Take a look at the trailer below.
I recently revisited the original film and I can definitely see a lot of mirroring occurring in this trailer. Fans may appreciate the honest approach if this film is essentially a live action carbon copy, but this method could steer the film in the opposite direction as well.
As a fan myself, I tend to respect film adaptations that stick to the source material, but my years of writing has taught me another valuable lesson as well. Movie adaptations that stick too closely to the source material also fall under a higher level of scrutiny. As fans watch an adaptation they are familiar with, that familiarity sometimes triggers a more critical response to the more minute details. With a film that’s more loosely adapted, there’s less familiarity with certain aspects allowing audiences to essentially turn off that critical eye.
There’s also another element of adaptability that would be of particular interest in regards to “Ghost in the Shell.” Creating a live action film from a distinctly different source poses issues when it comes to translating to the big screen. It’s not always a director or studio taking creative liberties. Sometimes a book, comic book, video game, cartoon, or in this case, anime, does not carry over its original appeal.
Viewing this trailer, I admit that I have become a little weary myself. There is a definite appreciation for how closely things seem to be adapted. But there’s also certain aspects that concern me and may impact how “Ghost in the Shell” is received by critics and audiences. I immediately thought of “Aeon Flux” starring Charlize Theron. This anime shared a similar look and feel with a highly sexualized tone. The film adaptation was highly scrutinized by fans and critics. This may be to the studios taking more creative control of the film, but it also lacked that edginess of the original shooting for its PG-13 rating. We already see some slightly toned down elements in “Ghost in the Shell” like the body suit. But this is a minor detail for the time being and hopefully this adaptation does not fall into the same category as “Aeon Flux.”
There’s also the element of color correction. Circling back to the “Aeon Flux” comparison, the visual tone of the film falls outside of the cinematic realm. It utilizes highly saturated visuals to capture that anime feel but adjusts to meet film aesthetics. “Ghost in the Shell” has this same element that could be a concern. While scenes may look vibrant, the tone could be a bit too surreal for audiences.
For now, the trailers are all that we have to go by and maybe “Ghost in the Shell” can escape the negative impact of poorly adapted films. With their attention to detail we’ve seen thus far, it may be an accolade that proves to be a triumph for this film. But with a well known, fan-favorite like this, it is all a balancing act at this point. Let’s hope that the scale is tipped in the right direction.