With the Super Bowl only three days away, the game’s high-profile commercials are beginning to get pre-broadcast debuts online. And perhaps no film-related spot will be bigger than the one for Rupert Sanders’ Ghost in the Shell, the live-action remake of Mamoru Oshii’s immensely popular and influential 1995 anime (itself based on a popular manga of the same name) about a cyborg cop on the trail of a mysterious hacker in futuristic Tokyo. It’s a story that marries sci-fi action with weighty philosophical queries about the nature of self, although more compelling to many will probably be the saga’s fixation on its heroine’s buxom body — as confirmed by the above Super Bowl spot.
In the 30-second commercial, we get considerable views of Scarlett Johansson’s Major in her formfitting, flesh-colored thermoptic suit, which allows her to become invisible. The original manga character often appeared fully undressed, but the movie opted for something slightly more demure. “We’re not actually trying to pretend she’s naked,” producer Avi Arad told IGN last year. “The suit emulates some of the ideas of the panel lines. When you see it in the movie, you’re not meant to think that that she’s naked.”
While wearing her signature getup, she plunges off of a towering skyscraper and materializes out of thin air to fight enemies. Those sights should only further stoke excitement for Sanders’ film, which looks like it will deliver not only action, but surreal visuals, as evidenced by shots of a malevolent mecha geisha and Johansson’s own face being removed from her robo-skull.
Given that Johansson’s part was originally conceived as a Japanese woman, Ghost in the Shell will no doubt continue to be criticized for whitewashing ahead of its release. Nonetheless, its stunning Super Bowl promo also suggests that it will have source-material-faithful style to burn when it arrives in theaters on March 31.