– by Joseph Jammer Medina

Image via IGN

Image via IGN

Where Assassin’s Creed may look to change things for the video game movie genre, Ghost in the Shell may very well do the same for the anime-to-live-action genre. Bold words? Quite possibly. The film was in development for some years, and as soon as it gained some momentum, it became controversial over the casting of white actress Scarlett Johansson for the role of Motoko (a.k.a. Major). Setting aside any quibbles one may have about that, however, everything we’ve seen thus far.

During the season finale of Mr. Robot, the studio threw in a handful of 15-second teasers. While these teasers didn’t do much to whet the appetite of those looking for some exposure to the narrative, it did give some extra insight into the visuals we could be expecting. In many ways, the shots looked like they were ripped directly from the anime. It looks a bit odd, visually, ut in the context of the story, if done correctly, it can do wonders.

But if none of those clips were enough to sate you, IGN is now sharing a featurette that goes behind the scenes of the visuals. It even shows the director of the anime, Mamoru Oshii, on set, praising the film.

Check it out below!

As mentioned in the clip, this film will be very faithful to the anime, and as such, there is one iconic scene that will be recreated in the film: the shelling sequence wherein Motoko’s android body is assembled. This is done in the opening of the film, and is set to an an cappella choir.

You can check out those iconic opening visuals below (NSFW nudity).

Speaking with IGN, Weta’s Richard Taylor discussed his mindset behind this “shelling” scene, as they’re calling it.

“If you look at things like the transitions of light through the skeletal structure and the exposure of the understructure the skeleton with the ballistics gel and the muscularity of the visual imagery and so on, you can start to appreciate at some level the challenges around building objects that can emulate this. The animatronics required are some of the most advanced we’ve done.”

“I did a diagram almost like a chocolate factory. Because if you were making cyborgs in the future, you would make them in no different way, mental way, thank you would making chocolate in a factory today. So I drew it as a factory, and the process and then I split each one of those out and then I did a drawing on how we were to achieve each effect. And then i showed those drawings to Ari and Rupert, and then the designers went and conceptualized each of those and then Jan [Roelfs, the production designer] took that concept and he did a much more beautiful way to visualize it.”

Listening to this, you may get the impression that this version of the film is nothing more than a re-creation of a vision already established in the anime — which is based on a manga. This isn’t the case. While they’re not starting from scratch completely, they’re taking aspects of the anime, and mixing it in with their own visual ideas to create something that’s not only unique to live-action, but unique to the story, said producer Avi Arad.

“What was so great about that was, you’ll see, we all jointly made our own decisions of our version of it, but they broke it into pieces so we could understand exactly what it was. And, in ways in which it never dawned us to get as literal. So suddenly we could see, here’s exactly what’s going on. So our ability to be creative on our own level was a million times better. It was just such a revelation was like, ‘Ooh, that’s what’s actually happening.’ So when we were doing our version of it, you could still keep the principles intact, but you’re not sort of chained to the superficial level.”

While we’ve yet to get a glimpse of how the film will execute the story, I have to say that I am optimistic, purely based on what we’ve seen from the visuals. Should the script match up to the visuals, I don’t see any reason why this couldn’t be a classic in the making.

What do you think of the visuals? Let us know in the comments down below!

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Joseph Jammer Medina is an author, podcaster, and editor-in-chief of LRM. A graduate of Chapman University's Dodge College of Film and Television, Jammer's always had a craving for stories. From movies, television, and web content to books, anime, and manga, he's always been something of a story junkie.