Nov 13, 2016

Trailing Off: "Ghost in the Shell" (2017)

Welcome to the weekly column Trailing Off in which I take a look at a trailer from the past week and analyze its potential. This will be done using an obnoxious amount of analyzing and personal thoughts on the cast and crew as well as expectations. Coming every Sunday (it's called Trailing Off for a reason), I will attempt to highlight films ranging from new blockbusters to lesser known indies and give them their due. Partially to spread awareness, I do believe that there is an art to the sell and will do my best to highlight why these trailers matter or don't with approval (trove) or disapproval (trash). So please stop by, recommend some trailers, and I will see you next time.

Trailer in Discussion

Directed By: Rupert Sanders
Written By: Jonathan Herman & Jamie Moss (Story), Masamune Shirow (Manga)
Starring: Scarlett Johansson, Michael Wincott, Michael Pitt

- Preamble -

There is one simple truth. I am not someone that you'd go to for any sort of conversation about anime. To me, it's an art form that largely escapes my inner bubble. Even the mainstream ones that everyone likely knows, I am not sure that I would. This is in part because Japanese-inspired stories don't interest me, especially as they delve into sci-fi: a genre that baffles me at times in any language. So with all of that said, I mostly chose this trailer this week because it is an American revision of a popular manga. I figured that if nothing else, it would lead to interesting results. Also, it has Scarlett Johansson, so what's not to like?
I am aware that there's controversy over her casting. Speaking as I have no entry point or comparison, all I can really do is agree with people on the broad notion of casting a white person in the place of an Asian character. With that said, I do think that Johansson has been one of art house sci-fi's more interesting faces in recent years. I will bring to you Lucy, Under the Skin, and Her as just three examples. In each she has proven her capability to play an archetype other than sexy heroine as she has done in all of the Marvel movies. I think that it's the most reassuring tool by which her future when the superhero films trail off will have. I definitely think that she'll use her clout to great use.
Though I do wonder if Ghost in the Shell will be any good for someone like myself. I am not somebody who has any interest in the film, nor am I immediately impressed by the imagery that the trailer came with. The presence of Snow White and the Huntsmen director Rupert Sanders definitely doesn't help. I am very skeptical, even with the knowledge that this could be a rare exception to the remake culture that tends to produce uninspired and lackluster work. Either way, this is about middle of the road for me, and the trailer can go either way. Fingers crossed that it goes the right one.

- Dissection -

Well, I hate to break it to everyone but this was definitely too weird for me. I feel like the best that I can say is that the imagery is striking and sticks with the viewer after they see it. However, it feels so far out there that I cannot really connect with what I see. It's over the top and crazy. I don't like the trend of doing slow covers of pop songs, in this case Depeche Mode's "Enjoy the Silence," and I feel like it only adds to making this feel conventional. It looks chaotic and confusing, and I don't know if it's entirely effective in making me intrigued by the product. At best, I would watch this on a Sunday afternoon on basic cable. There's not much to grab me. I guess I should've predicted that going in. It's just that Johansson's involvement made it seem a tad more promising.

- One Sentence Sell -

Scarlett Johansson stars in a remake of a popular manga where she plays a robot or something living in a weird world.

-Trove or Trash-

Sorry, but I just do not get this trailer at all.


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