A slight balancing act. — 5 years ago
I’ve been a fan of Evangelion since I first saw the original series back in the late 90s. Even though I grew out of the whole anime scene after high school I still find myself coming back to watch the series again and again because it’s just so damn good. Needless to say, when I heard Anno was revamping the series into a tetralogy of films, I was both enthusiastic and skeptical about the whole thing.
After finally seeing the first film though, I have to say that both sides were well founded. On the positive, Evangelion 1.0 does a nice job of repainting the first six episodes of the original series, condensing them into roughly an hour and a half, with a number of scenes either modified or removed entirely to push the narrative along at a faster pace. The graphical effects have been touched up nicely with some nice CGI work that doesn’t detract from Eva’s already stunning 2D artwork. Also, it sounds like the majority of the voicework has been redone.
The biggest (and arguably the best) changes come in the last half. There are a ton of new scenes added that build on the relationship between some of the main characters in a way that was really lacking early in the original series. These scenes mostly fit in perfectly, and don’t really change the plot at all; hell, they would’ve been even better inserted into the episodes of the original.
Unfortunately there are a number of things that disappointed me with this film. First off, I don’t like how much they condensed everything. Sure, it’d be difficult to keep everything in a movie this short, but at the same time they could’ve extended it to two hours and easily have kept a lot of the more important scenes from the original. The entire first episode of the series is shrunk down to fit into the first ten minutes of the movie! And what Anno did decide to cut really makes the flow of the first half feel incredibly rushed and disconnected.
Some scenes do also feel a bit extraneous, like they’re only there to provide some sort of explanation that really wasn’t needed in the first place. I mean, why waste time adding that sort of thing in when you’re cutting out other parts that would fit better?
Regardless, Evangelion 1.0 is worth checking out for fans of the series. It doesn’t stray too far from what you’re already used to, but the trailer at the end of the credits suggests that from here on it’s going to be drastically different. Can’t wait to see what’s going to happen with Evangelion 2.0. And again, I say that with some enthusiasm and some skepticism.