Sunday, November 10, 2013

Reel Asian 2013 Film Review - Evangelion 3.0

Evangelion 3.0 is the third installment of the Rebuild of Evangelion series. The episode starts in earth's orbit. Askura Langley Shikinami is left on her own in Eva Unit 2 to battle the Steele drones released from Eva Unit 1 piloted by an unconscious Shinji Ikari. Unit 1 responds independently to destroy the drones before returning with Askura to earth.

Under the order of WILLIE Colonel Misato Kastsurgi Shinji is revived and fitted with an explosive collar that will go off by the colonel's hand if Shinji pilots another Eva. Confused by his treatment under the supervision of  his former allies Shinji demands an explanation only to learn that he has been suspended for 14 years in Eva Unit 1. Following another Drone attack Rei Ayanami arrives in seperate Eva unit rescuing Shinji before the WILLIE crew can react to detonate the choker taking him to NERV headquarters and its commander his father Gendo Ikari.

Hideaki Anno's writing of the opening sequence is chaotic and challenging to follow at best. It's chalked full of technical terms for the ships, maneuvers and defensive and offensive capabilities that the viewer is easily lost. If this is the viewers first experience with the series there are no clues to decipher who are the good guys and why each side is fighting the other. The best part of the opening portion of the scrip is Shingi's undefined role in the events that have taken place and the unexplained reason behind the cold treatment by his former colleagues.

The production does improve when the narrative focuses on NERV Headquarters and the interactions between Shinji, Kaworu Nagisa, Rei Ayanami and his father Gendo. The interplay between Shinji and Kaworu is very entertaining and the exchanges between the two are a highlight of the film.

The visuals are very well done especially the presentation of the ruins of NERV Headquarters full of  jagged edges and prickly points dominated by blood red structures giving the appearance of a location that is constantly suffering the effects of repeated volcanic eruptions. The Evas and the fleet's other ships are expertly crafted. Another superior visual is the WILLE fleet traveling through space led by Colonel Katsuragi at the helm of the Wunder. 

Production General Manager Anno assembled a strong group of actors to voice the characters. The standout of the ensemble is Yuko Miyamura voicing the overly aggressive Asuka Shikinami. Miyamura rises to the challenge of the emotionally intense Asuka who verbally abuses both living and inanimate objects during battle and is always looking to react physically to solve a problem. Fumihiko Tachini is notable at Shingi's father Gendo pulling the strings from his perch at NERV headquarters. Akira Ishida is also strong as Kaworu Nagisa in his role to gain Shingi's trust showing that the can work together first side by side on the piano then as a team in an Eva Unit.

The sound department led by Haruka Matsushita did their job on this feature.  Their efforts during the battle scenes are remarkable. Their work complements the visuals of several catastrophic events on screen. However the peak of their contribution to the piece has to be in the first battle sequence when Asuka battles the drones in her attempt to secure Shinji in Eva Unit1.

Evangelion 3.0  is a film that I would recommend to fans of the original television series and Anime fans in general. The opening sequence goes too far in depth on the minutia of the mechanics but the story builds on the deck of the lead WILLE vessel and grows when the action shifts to NERV.  The plot does suffer from middle instalment malaise as in the end its purpose is to set the tale up for the final episode. The goal of the production was to introduce the Neon Geneis Evangelion series to a wider audience that were not familiar with the television series.  With the two prior titles and this film that includes a hint towards the finally at the end the production team have hit their goal.

*** out of 4.

Evangelion 3.0 | Hidaeki Anno,Mahiro Maeda, Masauki, Kazuya Tsrumaki | Japan | 2012 | 96 Minutes.

Japanese, Anime, Neon Genesis Evangelion, tetralogy, Post Apocalyptic world, fantasy, science fiction.

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