Tonight 14 cities across the United States had a very special event. Anyone lucky enough to be in one of those cities got to see the first 15 minutes of the Ghost In The Shell movie that will be hitting theaters on March 31st. Denver just so happened to be on that list and I just so happened to be one of the lucky people to go see the event.

The ticket instructed to show up early. Easy enough for me ever since the Army drilled punctuality into my brain. There was already a line formed on the first set of stairs leading up to the theater, so I took my place on the bottom step. A limited edition poster was given out to attendees and several sweepstakes were held, none of which I won. Denver Comic Con was there to host the sweepstakes and the prizes were actually pretty nice. One of the prizes even included a full weekend family pack of passes to this year’s Denver Comic Con.

Representatives from the production studio were there to police anyone who might try recording or snapping photos during the showing and informed us that should anyone pull out a phone they would be escorted off the premises. As would happen at any movie showing the United Artist/Regal roller coaster opener played and then we got into the preview. I want to add, the showing was in an IMAX and in 3D. This would normally be kinda cool, but the glare reflecting off the back of the 3D lenses was kind of annoying and I prefer to be able to focus on the entire screen at once. However, the 3D did lend a considerable effect to this particular movie and if 3D is your thing, you won’t want to miss out on seeing this in 3D format.

As the movie opens they do a little bit of brief back story on how The Major came to be. They refer to her under a different name than fans are used to from the anime, but I really wasn’t all that bothered by it. Then comes a scene that was very visually stimulating and will be familiar to fans of the original anime. This is the scene that depicts the Major’s creation in the tanks at Manko (in this version) Cybernetics or Robotics. I can’t remember which. There is a conversation between two characters where one reveals the Major’s fate and explains his feelings about what she is. ONE YEAR LATER displays on a black screen and we find ourselves watching another familiar scene. The Major is perched on the edge of a building wearing a long black coat. Again fans of the original anime will recognize this scene. The characters in the hotel and the purpose of their meeting is where this scene strays from the original anime and begins melding it with elements from the stand alone full season arch from the second season of the series. They mixed it with some elements from the first episode of the first season by using the geisha bots that we have all seen in the trailers. The whole scene plays out wonderfully and is very visually dynamic. Think of how mind-blowing the Los Angeles cityscapes were in Blade Runner back in 1982. Then try to imagine having that experience in the VFX-rich cinematic world we live in today. That is how powerful and visually stimulating this was.

At the end of the preview they showed some rapid footage in the typical trailer form, again displaying familiar scenes from the original anime that they just absolutely nailed. This was where it got interesting. The dialog hints at a plot line that also takes very strong cues from the Arise Quadrilogy. We also saw a brief snippet of Togusa. He appeared to be in an office and the target of an attack or ambush. I’m hoping we get to see some Togusa back story that would also fall in line with what we see in Arise.

My impressions from the preview: The crew that worked on this movie absolutely nailed the visual dynamics of the anime and from what I can tell, they’ve blended elements from across the franchise to make one comprehensive story that I hope is only the first of several movies. This is one movie I will likely go see several times just because of the imagery. When I wrote my first script back in high school I imagined what it would look like as a movie. The visual dynamic in this movie hits my vision of science fiction right on the head.

Mark your calendars, folks. March 31st is going to be a great day to go to the movies.

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