EVA 30

“Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo” played today, July 20th at the Imperial Theatre.

Directed by: Hideaki Anno

Series creator, writer and director Hideaki Anno continues his remake of the stellar anime series Neon Genesis Evangelion in this third film (of four); Evangelion: 3.0. Evangelion has a long and complicated history, both in it’s story and in it’s production. So much so that even as a fan of the series, I find it hard to untangle the twists and turns that brought us to 3.0. in the simplest terms possible, Hideaki Anno created a series that was incredibly popular, but ended in such a bizarre and non-linear way, that many of his fans were upset. Years passed, and he decided to retell the story, this time in a series of four films, and promising a different conclusion. With 3.0, we’re now 75% of the way there.

As it was in the first two films, this movie trims a lot of the fat of the original series, and this serves to both streamline the action and reduce the amount of melodrama that the characters originally had dealt with. This is both a blessing and a curse, in my opinion. I have complained about the desire for studios to take every viewer by the hand and slowly walk them through the paces, treating us like memoryless goldfish. A recent example of this is “The Amazing Spider-Man” where Sony and director Marc Webb thought it was a good idea to spend 40+ minutes telling us, again, that Peter Parker was bitten by a radioactive spider and gained powers, self-respect and a sense of responsibility (in that order). I get it. I got it before, and I felt like my time was wasted when I could have been treated to more web-swinging action.

These Eva movies are the opposite. Hideaki is off to the races from the get-go, and it’s up to you to keep up. I understand this, and the fact that in Japan, Evangelion is a phenomenon and not just a movie (Evangelion 3.0 had the highest grossing weekend total for any film in Japan last year) but all the same, I wished the film had taken a bit of time to get me back on track be explaining a few things now and again, and I say that as a fan of the franchise. Anyone new to series will find it very hard to just hop in at this point.

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That being said, the animation in this film is fantastic. As american studios have abandoned classic animation in favor of CGI, Studio Khara has excelled in creating compelling, dynamic artwork and darkly disturbing visuals. The opening action sequence with 02 pilot Asuka on a recovery mission in outer space is mind-boggling in it’s direction, conception and execution. Truly among the best action animation I have ever seen. Even simple dialogue scenes are wonderful, and the camera shifts around and the characters emote and change expression, but do so while remaining true to the style and design of the film. Pure eye-candy for animation fans, and coupled with great sound, this was a great film to see on the silver screen.

Lastly, the crowd was great. This is why Fantasia is such a great festival. There was enthusiasm and anticipation as everyone found their seats. True fans came out in force, and when asked by the host “Who has never seen any Evangelion before this?” a hush fell and only one or two hands were raised. These were all people who had come to see a movie they really wanted to see, and not just to be seen at the event. It was great.

Check out the trailer below.

Fantasia continues until August 7th. Be sure to catch a few films there, because time flies when you’re… piloting mecha. I guess.

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