"Woke" cinemagoers heading to their local multiplexes in March will have a major dilemma on their hands: should they boycott whitewashing superstar Scarlett Johansson and the racially insensitive studio execs behind the anime-with-a-white-woman adaptation Ghost in the Shell? Or awkwardly admit that the live-action reboot looks sort of cool and impressive, and just fork over their money anyway...
Whatever their eventual decision, the latest trailer for Rupert Sanders's update of the iconic Japanese anime should push them one way or another. Expanding on the clips released so far, the latest teaser is another bevy of relentlessly vivid sci-fi scenes, all taking place in a futuristic Japan straight out of the Wachowski playbook.
Johansson plays a cyborg counter-terrorism agent investigating a new threat to cyber-security, who quickly unearths dark secrets about her own identity. Juliette Binoche is also there, cashing another "minor role in a Hollywood blockbuster" paycheck four years after Godzilla.
Johansson has recently spoken out about the accusations of whitewashing levelled at the film, following the film's reluctance to cast an Asian actress in the lead role and debunked rumours that producers dabbled with using CGI to make Johansson "appear Asian". But despite having months and months to prepare a substantial statement on the controversy, Johansson still managed to rile up observers.
"I certainly would never presume to play another race of a person," she told Marie Claire. "Diversity is important in Hollywood, and I would never want to feel like I was playing a character that was offensive. Also, having a franchise with a female protagonist driving it is such a rare opportunity."
By seeming to separate race and feminism into two separate boxes, Twitter naturally sought to correct her.
Ghost in the Shell, in all its controversial, big-budget glory, opens March 31.