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Sunday, 31 January 2010

Movie Review: Evangelion: You Are (Not) Alone 1.01

I recently managed to get my hands on a DVD for this movie from Chong Hock and while I’m not quite an Evangelion fanboy, I did like the manga by Sadamoto Yoshiyuki enough to want to experience the other incarnations of the original anime. I myself have been unable to find a way to watch the original anime series but I have watched the End of Evangelion movies in their RAW format for which I’m not sure whether or not would have been more disturbing had I understood the terminology heavy parts. It runs a reasonable 98 minutes for a movie of this fashion.

First of all I need to point out the reason for the title of the movie. I very much lack skill in the field of sarcasm so I honestly cannot tell if that (Not) is meant to be played straight or subverted but I do know the reason for the 1.01 numbering. Most fans should know that the 4 remake movies are to be thematically title “You XXX (Not) YYY 1.0/2.0/3.0/4.0” but there’s an extra bit to that. You see, GAINAX loves their remakes. They love them enough to make 3 versions of the same movie only to make the latest version even more visually spectacular than the last. To my understanding of this particular Sankaku Complex article, 1.0 is the movie shown at the cinema, 1.01 is the first DVD release and 1.11 is the re-remastered release and they altered scenes in each release despite the story content being the same. It’s basically a downgraded version of the Endless Eight debacle but in this case the changes might very well be worth it considering the excellent action scenes. What’s my take on it? I wish that my source had 1.11 in stock instead of 1.01.

Now, onto the contents of the movie itself. I really have to say that the first 10 minutes of the movie were a whirlwind intro with pacing that the word “rushed” would only begin to describe it. I’m comparing this to my experience watching the first EoE movie which was more disjointed than rushed which it still was. It doesn’t really get better in terms of pacing after that but the next few minutes of Unit 01 fighting the fourth angel and going berserk was an absolute adrenaline rush. This particular scenes had an excellent blend of action, mind screw and music. Unfortunately, that was the best fight in the movie and despite it being an excellent way to capture the viewer’s attention I wished they had upped the Holy Shit! factor on the following fights. It’s not that they weren’t great but you really shouldn’t throw out the best part at the beginning of the movie.

After that first fight, they padded it with scenes of Shinji adapting to his new environment and his role in the survival of the human race. I vaguely remembered this part from the manga and assuming that these scenes were taken straight from the anime then nothing significantly different was done here except for maybe the scene where Shinji meets the penguin which I found hilarious in this incarnation. I also thought that Misato was harsher and more cynical in these scenes than in the manga though. The actual struggle between unit 01 and the fifth angel lacked intensity of the first fight in the movie so it really wasn’t very impressive. This part of the movie was well done though thanks to the bits of mind screw they put in here. The Eva’s glove armor melting off to display human hands underneath and Shinji’s desperation really worked wonders for the fight. The former was quite easy to miss in the manga by the way while the latter is better animated.

I pretty much glossed over the next part up till the coming of the 6th angel since I remembered this part of the story from the manga quite well so I have nothing in particular to say about it. The appearance of the 6th angel was pure brilliance though. It’s hard not look on in absolute fascination and/or abject horror when it hypnotisingly changes shape and begins melting away everything in the way of its wave motion cannon. Between this and their rematch it was very much the a good deal of development between Shinji's relationship with Rei. The sniping scene was very much the same as in the manga except for how Shinji bails Rei's entry plug out ofunit 00. Those squelching sounds when Shinji pried open the back hatch with his progressive knife were rather unnerving albeit effective. The movie ends right after he rescues Rei from the entry plug followed by a teaser of Kaoru on the moon. Not just any moon but the blood scarred moon from End of Evangelion, a total mind screw to those who thought this was a simple remake.

There were some really interesting changes made in this movie alone. Lilith replacing Adam in Terminal Dogma and Adam and Kaoru being on End of Evangelion's scarred moon are indicate that the story will not end the same way in this universe. I'm thinking that these movies might be inspired by the famed Re-Take doujin which managed to find a way to tie in all these evangelion spin-off works while adding onto the original ending. The second movie's trailer show us a new character and eva unit so that means this movie is a slow start to what seems to be an incredible sequel to the series. I'm eagerly anticipating the next movie which I hope will be soon.

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