The reimagining of one of the greatest animes ever continues in glorious fashion.
With that said, I come to the issue at hand: Evangelion 2.0. Actually, I am reviewing the 2.22 Blu-Ray version, but that only adds some greatness of animation and maybe one or two minor scenes. Regardless, it is still basically the same film, but slightly better. However, the comparison is not between 2.0 and 2.22. It is between Evangelion and its progenitor, the universally acclaimed anime Neon Genesis Evangelion, a mid 90's program that along with Cowboy Bebop is considered by many, including me, to be a cut above the rest of anime television programs.
Here's some background information for you: NGE is a mecha-anime styled around a post-apocalyptic future. Humanity is under attack by huge monsters called Angels, and our the only hope for mankind rests on the shoulders of children that pilot humanoid/robotic giants called Evangelions, or EVAS for short. It deals heavily with emotional, psychological, philosophical, and religious themes and dilemmas, especially whenever the main protagonist Shinji Ikari interacts with his father Gendo. The show was excellent for 24 episodes; it simply blows every other show away with the drama, trauma, and when we finally find out about Rei, oh mama! However, due to many factors including sarin gas attacks by terrorists in the Tokyo subway, episodes 25 & 26 were drastically changed. Like, seriously for the worse. They are nothing but a long Q & A session. Completely boring and mind-numbing. Knowing that this was not the way to end the great series, Gainax, the company that owns NGE, set out to make things right with End of Evangelion, a film that essentially replaces eps 25 & 26. However, the film received mixed reviews, leaving the creators a goal to strive for: The Rebuild of Evangelion.
And so, what we have now is a four movie series based on NGE, but not entirely. As with Evangelion 1.0, 2.22 has taken some scenes from the original anime, and gave it a nice, remastered, Blu-Ray shine they so richly deserve. And beautiful they are. Every scene is like an orgy intended for the ocular facilities of the audience. Some of the greatest animation I have ever seen is encapsulated within these 112 minutes. Simply beautiful.
Not everything in this Rebuild of Evangelion is the same as NGE, though. There are new attitudes in each character (while completely ignoring Kaji, Asuka clearly has a crush on Shinji, who seems interested in Rei, which as all NGE fans know, is gross). There are new characters such as Mari, who is interesting at first, but then disappears for so much of the film that the character feels somewhat empty.
The overarching plot of the film is similar to the original anime, in that it is still hard to figure out what the hell is going on. What is SEELE's endgame? What is NERV's plan? And does Gendo have his own ideas for the future? It seems so convoluted at this point in the film series, but then again, we're only at the halfway point. Perhaps the writers know what they are doing, and will pull off that grand, mind-f*cking ending that so many NGE fans have been wanting for over fifteen years (I gotta admit, the last line of this film has me pumped for part three). Perhaps not, and we will see them make another attempt to get it right a decade from now. One thing is certain, I will be there at the end.
Evangelion is an incredible feat, almost on par with the anime series it was born from. The movie gives great depth to its characters, giving the audience a peek into the minds of these children as they try to save humanity from destruction. It is also a feast for the eyes, loaded with the finest animation the world has ever seen. At least, that is how it looked on my PS3. I do have a word of caution, though. I recommend that you watch the first film, 1.0 (or 1.11. However the numbering goes) before watching this film. By itself, Evangelion 2.22 will probably seem confusing otherwise. Hell, after watching it last night, I'm still a little confused. But hey, figuring out what's going on has always been part of the charm of this wonderful property.