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Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo
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by Jay Seaver

"Another one (not) just for the series' fans."
2 stars

SCREENED AT THE 2013 FANTASIA INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL: "Neon Genesis Evangelion" has been a manga. It's been a TV series. And now, three quarters of the way through the "Rebuild of 'Evangelion'" film series, I can't help but wonder: When are the folks involved going to create a version that lives up to their impressive ambition by telling the story clearly and well?

It's been fourteen years since the events of Evangelion 2.0, although Shinji Ikari (voice of Megumi Ogata) has missed them, orbiting the Earth in a sort of stasis. His former teammate, Asuka Shikinami (voice of Yuko Miyamura), retrieves him, but things have changed - Asuka and Misato Katsuragi (voice of Kotono MItsuishi) are now part of "Wille", a convoy of survivors running from NERV in the hopes of finding what they need to fight back. Things are different at Ikari's father Gendo's organization, too - the friend Shinji risked his life to rescue, Rei Ayanami (voice of Megumi Hayashibara) is replaced by a hollow, soulless clone, and Gendo (voice of Fumihiko Tachiki) means for his son and new EVA pilot Kaworu Nagisa (voice of Akira Ishida) to retrieve two massive spears of incredible power for reasons that are, as always, mystical and mysterious.

Well, maybe not mysterious to the longtime fans that this series is, in large part, made for (although the storyline is supposedly departing from the source material here). While it's coming into a bit more focus for the rest of us, there is still a lot of reliance on Capitalization Without Explanation in the subtitles (even not knowing Japanese, one can hear these vague concepts as proper nouns in the dialog). To be completely fair to You Can (Not) Redo, one can get the basic gist without the mythology - teen hero wakes up in [even more] dystopian future, finds friends in opposition to each other, is convinced to use his special skills on import mission. One's eyes may glaze in between, but the idea is simple enough and the post-apocalyptic setting reduces the number of weird tonal shifts drastically - no comic-relief penguins or secret identities, and the tight jumpsuits aren't quite the fanservice that was jarring in a property that wants itself to be taken so very seriously.

This streamlining doesn't help with the gigantic problem with the story: Shinji is every type of idiot he can be - slow on the uptake, gullible as a toddler, and not exactly decisive. Sure, the folks who went a heck of a great distance out of their way to get him back don't exactly overburden him with the information he needs to make good decisions, but would it help? It can be hard to tell whether things are nonsensical or just confusing because series mastermind Hideaki Anno is trying to cram a lot of story into relatively little time, and even for the penultimate film of a series, the end leaves the audience in a passive, unsettled place.

Even the animation - generally a high point for the franchise - is somewhat disappointing. Oh, it's terrific in spots; the opening sequence with Asuka blasting into orbit is thrilling, for instance, and some of the CGI effects impress. The character animation is all over the place, though; Asuka's features deform in way other faces don't, and some supporting characters seem to have been created in a completely different style. The scale of the EVA mechs and their enemies doesn't always come across, and the level of detail just isn't up to the series's previous standards.

The occasional roughness makes me wonder if the previous features were found to not have an audience beyond the core fanbase, causing the producers to scale the budget back on this newest entry. A bit of a shame, if so - the eye-popping animation is the only part that appeals to everybody. There's still enough of interest to get me to see the conclusion when it is released - hey, I've come this far - but on the whole, the series is shaping up to be something of a mess.

link directly to this review at http://www.hollywoodbitchslap.com/review.php?movie=25459&reviewer=371
originally posted: 07/21/13 11:07:21
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OFFICIAL SELECTION: 2013 Fantasia International Film Festival For more in the 2013 Fantasia International Film Festival series, click here.

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Australia
  01-Sep-2013


Directed by
  Hideaki Anno

Written by
  Hideaki Anno

Cast
  Megumi Ogata
  Megumi Hayashibara
  Yuko Miyamura
  Maaya Sakamoto
  Akira Ishida



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