Monday, November 7, 2011

Evangelion: 2.0 You Can (Not) Advance

I would have seen this sooner, but I'm no longer in the habit of paying for DVDs of movies I haven't actually seen yet and Netflix took their sweet time making it available for rental. The second part of Hideaki Anno's theatrical retelling of the Evangelion story satisfied me more than the first, covering more of the original series' plot and doing so in a less easily predictable way. There were some slight differences between the events of the first movie and the handful of episodes it covered, but they generally weren't significant enough to pay much attention too. They really took strides towards their promise of doing something different with You Can (Not) Advance though, introducing new characters, shuffling around their appearances, and changing certain memorable events in significant enough ways to produce even more major changes down the road. It's often just the little things, but the twists they add in make the project seem worthwhile rather than just a way to cash in on the franchise's large number of fans.

If you don't already like Evangelion, I don't think anything about this movie will change your mind. It's definitely made for people who already know what the story is about. There's a certain feel to the proceedings that make them a bit esoteric, where it's much easier to follow what's going on if you've already seen the several hours of episodes that the less-than two hour film summarizes. It results in a film that's a lot of fun for certain people, but probably wouldn't play to a larger audience very well. Personally, it's hard to be bothered too much by that - I'm aware that the structure of the story doesn't fit the traditionally acceptable mold for a feature film, but I also don't care so much because it's really interesting to see these familiar events play out in a slightly altered way and with significantly higher production values. The animation and art design in general on these films is top notch, and with the right appreciation for the medium you might get something out of them even if you have no idea what's going on otherwise. The frequent fan-service is a distraction, but not enough to keep the movie from being the most enjoyable animated film I've seen in a little while. I know it's going to be another long wait before we get the last two movies, but I guess I can live with that.

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