After the second impact, all that remains of Japan is Tokyo-3, a city that's being attacked by giant creatures that seek to eradicate the human kind, called Angels. After not seeing his father for more than eight years, Shinji Ikari receives a phone call in which he is told to urgently come to the NERV Headquarters, an organization that deals with the destruction of the Angels through the use of giant mechs called Evas. Shinji's objective is to pilot the Eva Unit 01 while teaming up with the Eva Unit 00 pilot, Ayanami Rei.
1.01: An additional 266 enhancements from 1.0.
1.11: 2 minutes longer than 1.0 and 1.01 and created by processing the master digital data instead of the 35mm film.
In 2007, the film was awarded the DCAJ Chairperson Award during the 22nd Digital Contents Grand Prix. In 2008, the film won the Tokyo International Anime Fair award for anime of the year (with Hideaki Anno receiving the best director award for it), the Toukaimura Genpachi Award at the 7th Annual Japanese Otaku Awards and the Theatrical Film Award at the 13th Animation Kobe Awards.
I'm assuming that you've already watched the original EVA series before watching the movie before reading this. If not, spoilers abound.
So yes, this is basically a retelling of the original Evangelion in movie mode, and it's the first of 4 movies. This first movie covers the first six episodes of the original series, therefore not exactly innovative or anything shockingly interesting about the story. However, they did remove most of Shinji's self-pitying/emo-ing/bitching moments, so it's definitely one improvement from the original series.
The art is simply fabulous. The original series already had excellent artwork for its generation, and they've managed to improve it. Introduction of
CG was definitely a great move, and it made scenes even better, especially the fighting parts. They completely redid the scene with the Angel Ramiel, replacing traditional hand-drawn Ramiel with CG designs. Needless to say, that scene turned into absolute eye-candy. Other uses and integration of CG were more subtle, such as introducing it into the graphs, computer charts, and background. The human character designs were sharpened a bit from the original, but otherwise remained unchanged. But it was integration of CG into this remake which really stole the light.
The sound remained mostly the same, but they did add new sound effects, most notably to the EVAs and Angels, and an excellent new ending song.
Characters remained virtually the same, except they cut out a lot of Shinji's bitching/whining, so definitely a good move. Made the movie a lot more enjoyable, as we only seen about 5 minutes of whining, opposed to the half episodes of manbitching in the original series.
Seeing this movie was definitely fun to watch, because they basically took the original series, and remade with better graphics, with a few minor changes, so that it's enjoyable to watch without feeling it's the same as the original series, yet not different enough that it strays away from its original roots. This definitely will bring back nostalgic feelings from older fans whilst giving something new for them to watch and admire.
This movie is actually a good enough retelling that a newcomer to EVA can watch this instead of the original series, and will be able to know nearly everything that happened. (Of course, it's not really recommended, seeing how it's the original that was so profound and revolutionary.) After seeing this, I have high hopes for the following three movies, although I am a bit doubtful about the last one.
I just got back from seeing Evangelion 1.0 in theaters, and it was some experience. Though I didn't end up bringing the boom box playing a ripped CD of Prince's 1999 (and a bloody shame that is, too) it was still a real treat. The crowd was bigger than I had anticipated - I wondered if I might actually have the theater to myself, this being such a niche release and all, but it turns out I was dead wrong. While I wouldn't say every row was packed - it wasn't exactly a Transformers crowd (though one guy did have
a Transformers T-shirt) - I would readily say that well over half the theater was filled out. Incidentally, I also believe I was one of roughly half the audience that was present who had bathed within the last 24 hours, and of that I am proud. There was some brief buzz and exchange before the movie started, but in quick manner, start it did.
Well, first things first: It shouldn't be hard to tell from the trailers alone, but I can confirm that this movie is absolutely gorgeous. The animation is silky smooth, the attention to detail is breathtakingly rich, the CG is (contrary to some early rumors) largely well-incorporated, the Sadamato character designs are as beautiful, expressive and subtle as ever, if not moreso. Everything from the Evas to the heavy machinery to Misato's lingerie is rendered in a level of painstaking detail that the budget of a now-multimillion-dollar franchise can allow for. (Although it seems their only revenue isn't just from moviegoers and anime fans - Doritos® brand corn-based snack chips™ from Frito Lay® are now prominently featured in Misato's apartment, and Tokyo-3 seems to have accepted a hefty investment from Pizza Hut®.) This is one visually eye-popping movie. Speaking of eye-popping, this has a shocking amount of T&A for a PG-13 movie - in addition to the most memorable fanservice shots from the show, prepare to see a lot of new takes on Shinji's and Rei's (and even Kaworu's) naked buttocks, not to mention several surprise nip-slips from the latter (Rei, that is).
Audio-wise, the music is extensively and suitably upgraded from the show's questionable production values. Shiro Sagisu's new score contains a satisfying mix of new themes, extensively reworked versions of classics (a choral version of "Angel Attack" is particularly memorable), and even some faithful rehashes of songs from the original that have earned their places in fans' hearts. His musical style is still decidedly... unconventional, and I'm still not sure if I personally prefer him to the likes of, say, Kenji Kawai or Kaoru Wada. But hey, he's Anno's choice for a composer, and I respect that. One certainly can't argue that the music for Evangelion isn't iconic. On the translation/voice acting side, there's likewise some new and some familiar (in fact, that statement could pretty much apply to anything about the movie). Spike Spencer and Allison Keith naturally steal the show with their leading roles that they only continue to perfect over time. The various newcomers all get the jobs done; I wouldn't necessarily pick them over the cast members they're replacing, but at least there aren't any stinkers (which is more than can be said for the last two times the show was recast...). Greg Ayres plays Kensuke a little too high-pitched (even by Greg Ayres standards), John Swasey is still no replacement for Tristan MacAvery, and while I'm generally a fan of Colleen Clinkenbeard, I'm just too used to Sue Ulu's voice as Ritsuko to really accept her; conversely, Brina Palencia did a far better job at Rei than I could have ever anticipated (even as REI, she still stands out), the new Keel Lorenz has the deep and foreboding voice that he always should have had, and the new Kaworu (from the maybe 3 lines of dialogue he speaks) seems to get the character just right. The translation is effective, but seems to lack just a little bit of that Woolsey-ish magic that made the original so memorable. This being a Funimation production, the general dialogue flows more smoothly and naturally than most dubs, but it's a little disappointing to see how they've altered a couple of iconic lines (fortunately, "I mustn't run away" isn't one of them). Also, SEELE no longer has fünky accents. Of this, I vehemently disapprove. It reminded me a lot of playing the newer, re-translated versions of classic video games like Chrono Trigger and Final Fantasy IV; the translations may be more accurate and natural-sounding now, but they've lost a little bit of that 90's charm they once had. I wouldn't quite say it ruins the experience, though.
Now, for the most important part: the plot. For the first half of the movie, I really had one word going through my head: rushed. Because that's what it is. It really just seems like the movie is racing to knock off one highlight moment from the show's first four episodes after the next. The pacing and even the dialogue feels rushed. It's quite interesting, then, that by about the half-way mark (or what felt like the half-way mark, anyway - I wasn't keeping time) the movie suddenly slows down not to relish action sequences or even to recreate familiar scenes, but to linger on moments of character interaction and inflection. The familiar scenes range from painstakingly recreated to subtly altered in significant ways, but cleverly hidden among them are several new scenes that, while easy to miss, imply some crucial new angles on the plot. The shocking scenes with Lilith and the SEELE moon base have already been remarked upon by all who have seen them, but less widely noted - and, in my opinion, even more significant - is a new scene of interaction between Gendo and Fuyutsuki, in which Gendo explicitly states that "the Children are acting out the scripts we wrote for them 14 years ago." More chillingly still, he states that "soon Shinji will begin to get closer to Rei", among other predictions that seem to break the fourth wall. (Keep in mind, while in Evangelion's world "14 years ago" marked the beginning of Second Impact, in OUR world 14 years ago marked the beginning of Neon Genesis Evangelion. Hmmmmmm......)
Which brings me about to what is really the #1 theme of this movie, and which I suspect will become much, much more important down the road: recursion. The film simply does not stand on its own as an independent experience; I know I personally would hesitate before showing it to someone who hadn't seen the series already. It rushes through a lot of the crucial scenes, and skips vast amounts of exposition, to linger solely on moments that are particularly potent for those who have seen the series before. I've had my suspicions for a while, but after seeing the movie I'm now quite certain that this is absolutely not a mere retelling of the series; Anno clearly knew when making this that the vast majority of the audience would be people who had already seen the series, and while it seems to play coy with this fact on the outside, it doesn't take much digging (at least as far as I see it) to uncover that film is tossing a mocking wink and nod at viewers at every possible opportunity. In addition to the aforementioned altered and new scenes that drastically undermine the plot as we know it, there is that aforementioned theme of "recursion". On top of Gendo's dialogue with Fuyutsuki, motifs of "fate", "recurrence" and "rebirth" are rampant. One new visual motif many have noticed is the rainbow, which shows up at a number of crucial scenes and as far as I can see is a new symbol of recurrence and rebirth. SEELE's stepped-up logo now features actual, printed lyrics from the "Ode to Joy" - a song/poem that has quite a bit to say about fate. And with Kaworu's remarks in the final scene, he might as well be looking straight at the audience and quoting Homer Simpson: "Why are you paying to see in theaters what you could watch for free at home [or in this case, have already bought multiple times]?? If you ask me, everyone in this theater is a complete moron, especially YOUUUUUU!!!!!!" I've heard a number of things (probably too much) about the second movie, and all I can say is I am now 100% confident that the 4.0 will be a complete, unabashed mindf**k directed squarely at a base of viewers who, in Anno's opinion, should not still be paying to see essentially the same thing over and over anymore (in regards to the anime industry at large).
But like before, Anno's beloved brainchild is not merely a disgruntled, cynical commentary on the world and the anime industry. It's also a very personal journey and parable. For a good chunk of the movie I wondered if not even Evangelion could reach my heart anymore; it was once the case that I felt right there in Shinji's shoes, sharing all his struggles and tribulations. Now, at 18, I don't know if I can still relate to the 14-year-old character in the same way. I've developed differently over these years, and the struggles I face now are so different, yet so uncomfortably similar; yet all around, the ways in which I can and must face my troubles are different now. Maybe I felt so separated from the film for the same reasons I feel so separated from others; I've locked away my emotions, all my fear and sadness, and thrown away the key, someplace where even I can't find it. I can no longer be so open, so in touch with those things as Shinji is. But there were crucial parts of the film that, ultimately, made even me remember what I truly hope for in life. Those few, tender, tantalizing moments of closeness and understanding that Shinji has with Misato and Rei near the end of the film are a reminder, a reminder I needed so very, very much, about what can be truly beautiful about the interactions between people. That simple motif of holding hands spoke more than any words could...
And so, as an anime fan, as a film enthusiast, and as a person, I am proud to say that I am back in the world of Evangelion, and I will be eagerly following the progression of this new series. The themes of rebirth and dogged hope are those which are deeply relevant to me this time around, and while I try to put the cracked and shattered pieces of my life together, I look forward to making the journey to love and self-affirmation with my old friend Shinji once again.
Seeing as how I am a fanboy of the original series of Neon Genesis Evangelion, you will have to take everything I say with a grain of salt. That said, it is pretty much inevitable that everyone watching this is already a fan of Evangelion anyway. So let's begin by making this clear: This is not Evangelion. It may look like Evangelion, it may claim to be Evangelion, but it isn't.
The movie covers episodes 1 through 6, beginning in much the same way as the series did, and ending with the 5th Angel's attack. We see much of the scenes faithfully recreated, up until Misato
comes to pick up Shinji, and they begin talking as fast as they possibly can. The dialogue moves by ridiculously fast, in an incredibly thinly-veiled attempt to cram as much of the series as they can into the space of a single movie, with horrible results. Their sacrifice of quality for the sake of quantity thoroughly destroys the pacing, which, upon retrospect, was a big part of what made Evangelion what it was. There were a lot of long, atmospheric shots that helped to build the tone of the series, and here, they're gone.
In fact, even the overall style feels different. It seems to opt for darker, richer colours than the original, which honestly doesn't suit the style of the original series at all. It could be argued that animation has since moved on from the original series, but then, look at End of Evangelion. That was fantastically animated, and kept with the style of the series perfectly.
Another thing it seems to have lost track of is the soundtrack. Another interesting part of how the original series was directed was how rarely they used background music, often opting for silence punctuated only by the cicadas. Here? Pretty much every scene has a musical score behind it. This is how normal shows function, not how Evangelion is supposed to function. And even then, some of it actually seems like something Gainax would have used in Gurren Lagann, as opposed to Eva. Even with their choice to use more music taken into account, it still feels like they could have done a better job, although this is a comparatively minor nitpick.
Another major point is that the dub is very badly done. Aside from the fact that all the acting is forcibly quite bad (although this is less the actors fault and more the fact that they have to talk very fast to keep up), one particularly noticeable thing is that most of the original cast has been replaced, mostly by much less fitting voice actors. Whilst some changes are welcome, for example Touji sounding considerably better than he ever did in the main series, most are very distracting. And even the ones who stayed don't sound remotely similar to how they did 14 years ago. The most noticeable example is Spike Spencer's performance as Shinji. For the first half of the movie, I was thoroughly convinced that they had replaced Shinji's voice actor. With a female one, no less. Shockingly, Spike is still in the role, but sounds absolutely nothing like he should. How this could happen is an absolute mystery, considering he's been playing nothing but Shinji and Shinji knockoffs for the last 14 years, but somehow he botched his performance quite badly.
Now, I know that a fairly basic argument against this is that it isn't trying to be like the original series. This is somewhat thwarted by the facts that A: Pretty much everyone who watches this will be judging it by the standards of the series, and B: It doesn't stand up very well on its own either. The pacing and dialogue have ruined any chance this had of being a replacement Evangelion in its own right, as well as the plot and directing being skimmed over. Considering the series always had a habit of throwing you in without knowing what the fuck was going on, imagine how that works when everything is thrown at you at a mile per minute. Hint: NOT VERY WELL. I can't imagine a newbie to the franchise would have the slightest clue what the fuck was going on.
All in all, I was somewhat worried that Hideaki Anno might have lost it, what with being sane now. And to my surprise, I was right. This has completely failed. It doesn't capture anything that made Evangelion a loveable series, and while it does clear out some of the faults it had, it doesn't balance things out nearly well enough. The only redeeming features are a handful of new scenes, all of which are quite good, and strangely more in the vein of the show than anything else in the movie, most notably the final scene that raises an enormous amount of questions about Kaworu, and promises that the single greatest reason to watch this movie is the promise that the next one will do things very differently.
Final Words: What a disappointment. Let's just hope 2.0 makes it worthwhile.
That's right, 10's across the board. I'll go in depth a little bit about each category further proving my point.
Story: The story, as a remake of the original series, is fantastic. The plot is the same thus far (as I'm sure it will change in the next movies to come). The story has changed slightly in some aspects. Depending on how well you watched the first one, you'll see minor changes, (like the new NERV and SEELE logos). Also, there is less character analysis. You focus on the main characters (Shinji, Misato and Rei up until now). You don't see Shinji in the classroom at
all, there is very little interaction other than the important ones. The reason being; you should've watched the first series first. That would've given you a little more character background. One of the biggest changes as far as the story went, was the battle with Ramiel. In the original series, it was a simple shot of the sniper rifle... Ramiel had 2 attacks. Very basic. In the new movie, the battle lasts nearly two times longer, and even though Ramiel is still killed with a sniper rifle, Operation Yashima is MUCH more thought out. Rameil's arsenal now includes about 5 or 6 attacks (which, are all impressive to be seen with the CGI enhancement)...
Art: Like I just mentioned, there is CGI enhancement. They show it a lot during the battle with Rameil, but also, it's used a lot within the entry plug, and within NERV headquarters. It's very impressive and well done; it wasn't overdone to say the least. Just the right amount of enhancement. You still get the vibe you're watching a hand-drawn anime, but, with a little kick to it.
Sound: Very impressive, as is everything else. The music has changed up a little bit from the original series' line up. It has the classical music playing in more critical areas. Aside from the music, there is also the sound effects. The sounds of shots, rawrs from angels or evas, and even just small random effects; they are all in sync and all match the correct time to be matched with.
Character: The characters, are still spot on from the original series. In some instances, I believe Shinji is a little more masculine than the original series, but, I never had a problem with that to begin with (as most people who judge the series apparently do). Misato develops her affinity towards Shinji a lot sooner. She is already holding his hand in some instances, and in one scene slaps her self after scolding Shinji because she obviously had regret for doing so. The rest of the cast are roughly the same. Minor changes obviously, but nothing huge.
Enjoyment: I've watched it twice so far...a week apart from both. The original series (as well as the manga) are/is my favorite series. They are perfect in my mind, and with the upcoming of this new series, I see little reason to say it's flawed in any way. It's just as good as the original, and with all of the enhancements, it has the capability of being better...or at least tied, to satiate you old school lovers.
Overall: Well, through the 5 previous categories, I think I basically summed up my views and hopes for the series. I am avidly awaiting Rebuild of Evangelion 2.0 : Division as I write this.
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