We're just under two weeks away from the release of the long awaited film adaptation of Ghost In The Shell. The film - based on the groundbreaking anime of the same name - follows The Major (Scarlett Johansson), a cyborg police officer heading a task force called Section 9 in the fight against terrorism. The film has been mired in controversey because of the casting of Johansson over an Asian actress in what is an inherently Japanese story, but it also boasts some of the most impressive practical special effects seen in a while.

This is the film that inspired directors Lana and Lilly Wachowski to make The Matrix back in the 90s, so if you're not already a fan of GITS, you can already tell that there's some beautiful tech and ideas about life and artificial intelligence on display here. Regardless of how you feel about the more problematic elements of the film (even Hideo Kojima has his issues), the effects are batches on batches of eye candy. These and other elements might not redeem the movie, but they sure are cool.        

1. The robo-geishas were labors of love

The team at WETA Digital lent some of their practical effects wizardry to GITS, and they really outdid themselves with this one. Remember those creepy robo-geishas from the trailers? WETA Ceo Richard Taylor walked Adam Savage through a demonstration of all of the different ways they were brought to life. From form-fitting face masks and detailed busts to a gear-operated robot face, there's detail galore that adds dimension to this movie - and my nightmares for the next few weeks.

2. Scarlett Johansson's thermoptic suit is a silicone wonder

Savage also managed an exclusive look at the invisible suit that Major wears throughout the film. Costume designer Flo Foxworthy walked Savage through making the suit out of silicone; its form-fitting nature, its sleek futuristic look, creating magnet hold for the shoulder pads. It's an extensive look that will recontextualize that shot where Johansson jumps through the glass in the trailer: 

Those WETA designers truly earn their money. 

3. The original voice cast is dubbing the film for Japanese release


For those who don't know, films tend to be released in Japan in two ways: subtitled and with dubbed voiceovers. GITS will be getting the dub treatment, but the cherry on top is that the original voice cast from the anime is coming back to bring their old characters to life.Atsuko Tanaka will be returning to voice Major (apparently named "Mira"?), Akio Otsuka is on tap to voice Section 9's second in command Batou, so at least the Japanese version of the film will sound as good as it looks.

4.  The concept art book is chock full of cyberpunk eye candy 

If it wasn't already clear from the robo-geishas, this movie is no doubt gonna be gorgeous to look at. io9 debuted early looks at The Art Of Ghost In the Shell (which is available now) back in December, and it's full of character designs, landscape drawings, and all the makings of a future shrouded in tech and doubt.