For me, and I imagine many others who run movie blogs, the Super Bowl has become as much about posting trailers than watching the actual game. It's kind of frustrating, to be honest. The most watched event of the year is the studios' chance to get as many eyeballs on their biggest upcoming projects, and they've pulled out all of the stops for Scarlett Johansson's Ghost in the Shell. Personally I'm just glad to have one TV spot out of the way.
Universal has a lot riding on this one, but they have a ton of reasons to be optimistic. First of all, the film is based on Masamune Shirow's beloved manga and classic anime, and they've got Johansson who proved with Lucy that she can carry a franchise all by herself. Marvel might want to take a hint. Anyway, the live-action film is directed by Rupert Sanders (Snow White and the Huntsman) with Pilou Asbaek, "Beat" Takeshi Kitano, Juliette Binoche, and Michael Pitt, with Johansson as the cybernetic agent known as The Major. Here's the synopsis:
Based on the internationally-acclaimed sci-fi property, “GHOST IN THE SHELL” follows 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.
Sanders is really pushing the envelope visually in a way that is both an homage to the source material and yet completely separate. Concerns about Johansson playing a character traditionally seen as Asian seem to have quieted and hopefully it stays that way. Ghost in the Shell opens March 31st. And just in case you haven't seen Mamoru Ishii's 1995 classic, the original movie is returning to 110 theaters on February 7th-8th courtesy of Lionsgate and Funimation. Check your local theater listings to see if it's in your town!