My original intention was to wait for all four of the Gainax-produced, Hideaki Anno-written remake (rebuilt) Evangelion movies to come out before reviewing them as a whole. I thought that since they all contributed to a full and complete story when viewed together that the best and most fair way to tackle this project would be as a complete whole. Then the third movie came out. Now... well, now I'm not so sure that I even want to finish this series.
But let me backup and try and clarify things here with lots of spoilers (for both the original series and End of Eva, and the Rebuild movies).
Evangelion takes place in the year 2015, in a world ravaged by natural and man-made disasters. It is the story of a borderline autistic 15-year-old wienie named Ikari Shinji, who, because of a variety of reasons, is the only person in the world who can pilot the giant robot/alien in purple and green armor and size 15,000 Reeboks known as the Evangelion Unit-01. Everybody that Shinji meets after being summoned to NERV central command (NERV being a militaristic UN's super secret agency put together to save the world from giant, creepy, alien life forms known as "Angels") by his father (the dicky and uncaring Ikari Gendo who runs the org.) is also mentally screwed up and in need of massive therapy, but instead they're put in charge of soldiers, giant science labs, and made to pilot enormously destructive — but only slightly contained — versions of their enemies. Kind of like any real world government agency if you think about it, and the most realistic aspect of the show.
So Shinji pilots the EVA Unit 01, kills lots of Angels, causes lots of architectural damage to the battle-city located directly above the NERV base, and along with his fellow pilots (the quiet, albino Ayanami Rei, and the LOUD German exchange student Asuka) they end up saving the world from utter destruction, until Gendo tricks everybody and ends all sentient life on the planet with Shinji and Rei as the catalyst for the apocalypse. Everybody turns into primordial soup and forms one giant, creepy being, but there's the potential that all the melted people can come back to life. And then we end everything with Shinji strangling Asuka on a deserted beach with a giant decapitated Rei's head sitting in the ocean in the distance. The End.
The fanbase for Evangelion remained pretty damn strong even 10+ years after the show first aired, but then Studio Gainax got into some major debt to the yakuza (due to the president and Anno's expensive addiction to Fabergé eggs) and they decided to remake the entire series, but this time in the form of 4 big-budgeted CGI-laden movies that they could charge upwards of $20 per ticket (seriously, Japanese theaters are exxxxxxpensive!). The world of fanboys then, well, we didn't necessarily rejoice per se, but we were curious as to just what the fuck head-writer Hideaki Anno planned to do with the new movies. Anno stated early on that the first flick would be a straight-up remake of the first 3rd of the series, the second would tell the middle part of the tale, with about a quarter of it being new stuff, the third movie would cover the last part and have about 2/3rds new material, and the final film would be an entirely new storyline to end this shit once and for all... Though nobody in their right mind actually believed this last bit. But anyway, onward to the plots of the movies!
Evangelion 1.11 - You Are (Not) Alone
This flick is almost a shot for shot remake of the first quarter of the original series, only with a shit-ton more CGI Angel and EVA Unit battles. To be fair though, the computer generated imagery is actually pretty damn impressive in this thing, and not at all as shoddy, shiny, and shitty as I feared it would be. It integrates itself very well into the whole look of the rest of the hand-drawn animation. The tension of the Angel attacks is ramped up too, and the NERV operations that are put together to take down the Angels are dramatically larger and scarier than the original's.
All in all, even though it was pretty to look at, Eva 1.11 had absolutely nothing new going on that I cared about. It's an abridged version of episodes 1-6 of the original series only with better character designs and a lot more background art detail. It's pretty boring if you've see the TV series as many times as I have, and the only real new twist to the whole thing was seeing the 17th Angel from the show (Tabris/Kaworu) on the moon with an imprisoned giant Lilith who had an enormous IV in its arm. No explanation for these visuals at all.
This last scene, and Kaworu's cryptic conversation with Keel Lorenz's black monolith, at least gave me hope that Anno and Gainax were going to attempt SOMETHING new with this movie series (by making this an actual direct sequel to the TV program, along the same lines of the new Battlestar Galactica: This has happened before, and it will happen again)... But I still didn't know if it was going to be worth the effort and man hours to tell this story again just for that plot device.
Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaand that's really all I have to say about that.
Evangelion 2.22 - You Can (Not) Advance
Then a few years later the 2nd movie came along. Things start off in (Not) Advance with the audience meeting a brand new EVA pilot that nobody had seen before. The pilot in question, one Mari Makinami (a firecracker of a girl who's so sure of herself that she makes Asuka look like a wallflower with confidence issues), uses the 4-wheeled EVA Unit-05 to take down the escaped 3rd Angel in the middle of a NERV base way out to sea, and then shit gets interesting.
Asuka and Ryoji Kaji come from from a European NERV branch in order to join the Tokyo-3 Angel fight, Asuka single handily destroys an enemy, and Ryoji starts mackin' on purple-haired hottie Misato. Gendo and his yes-man Fuyutsuki go to the moon to see some EVA Units under construction (LOL, wut?), and come into contact with Kaworu (who just hangs in the vacuum of space without a suit or anything), while Team Misato (meaning Shinji, Asuka, and Rei) take down a giant body-dropping Angel determined to land and smoosh Tokyo-3 and NERV HQ in one fell swoop.
Then some more new stuff happens when Mari secretly parachutes into Japan (and right into Shinji's face), a field trip to a water-treatment plant (that's trying to save the oceans from all the LCL that they've been contaminated with after the Second Impact or some shit) takes place, and Rei tries to set up a dinner party to heal the broken bonds between Gendo and wussy Shinji. But that last item gets cancelled when another Angel infiltrates the newest EVA Unit to be transferred to Japan (with Asuka as its test pilot). Shinji has to fight the giant rampaging creature, but refuses to hurt it when he finds out it has a child pilot like himself inside it. So Gendo gets all Gendo-y on him, cuts Shinji's connection to the EVA-01 that he's driving, and lets the beast trapped within the NERV armor come out and rip the Angel-EVA to fucking bloody shreds. When he gets control of the monster back, Shinji then tries to destroy NERV HQ in a giant hissy-fit of rage, but gets bitchslapped down and then kicked out of the agency.
Then yet another Angel attacks (this time it's the out of sequence Zuruel), takes the battle straight to the underground NERV HQ with little resistance, but then gets slightly stalled by Mari piloting the EVA-02. Zuruel wins easily enough though, but then Rei and the EVA-00 try to N^2 bomb the Angel into oblivion. Instead, Zuruel eats Rei's EVA-00 whole, then assimilates it and is able to use its security clearance to easily advance on the rest of NERV while all the itty bitty humans watch on in horror. Just as it looks like the end of the world is about to occur (which would happen if the Angel reaches the hidden and secure Terminal Dogma room below the base, where something bad and very destructive is being stored), Shinji charges in like a hero (for once), pulls Rei out of the Angel somehow (to Misato's and everybody else's cheering), but shit goes sour fast when Shinji finds he can't control his EVA-01, and it starts to initiate the Third Impact, which will turn everybody on Earth into human soup faster than Santa can make his once-a-year rounds. But THEN the Lance of Longinus comes crashing down from the heavens and pierces the EVA-01, stopping the Impact, and Kaworu then descends from the sky saying that THIS time he'll make Shinji happy, and then fade to black!
Truly and honestly, THIS was more like it! The way that the plot of the series was tweaked with enough changes to make the entire thing interesting and intense really pulled me into the story and made it all fresh again! The battles were bigger and meaner than they were in the original, and the ending truly made me wonder just what the fuck Anno had planned for the last two movies. It was at this point that I actually first got excited about the Rebuild flicks! I found it very difficult to wait for the next one, which took a few more years to come out (which I found out later was due to Anno stopping production at one point and completely scrapping most of movie three's plot in order to do something completely different).
I really liked the fact that character motivations in 2.22 seemed different, and a lot of social interactions were changed (either left out [like Asuka not being interested in Kaji anymore], made more hopeful [like Rei trying to get Shinji and Gendo to be on better terms], or made more desperate [like Shinji growing a pair and actually physically attacking NERV HQ after being forced to obliterate the Angel-controlled EVA piloted by Asuka]). It was a great balance of old and new. Unfortunately the third movie completely forgot this lesson and went bat-shit loco with the new for the sake of being new.
Evangelion 3.33 - You Can (Not) Undo
You Can (Not) Undo? Goddammit I wish we could. I would so totally undo this third Rebuild flick and do something, hell ANYTHING different. Anno dropped the ball on this movie like no other time in his career. Seriously, the last two episodes of the original TV series are works of art compared to this amalgamated, shit-upon, annoying, and inexplicable pile of cinematic turd.
3.33 begins with an alive and well Asuka and Mari in their EVAs in space, trying to recover a giant coffin. They are attacked by a ton of SEELE-created artificial Angels, then Mari bails, but due to a laser shooting out of the coffin and destroying the alien beings, Asuka is saved. It turns out that the EVA-01 is inside this floating-in-space coffin (what the fuck), and when it's brought back to Earth, Shinji is removed from it and his EVA Unit is hooked up like a building-sized battery to a giant flying battleship that looks like Gargoyle's floating warships in Fushigi no Umi no Nadia. Then Misato meets everyone's least favorite wuss in the battleship's bridge and orders a choke-collar bomb to be placed around his neck a'la Battle Royale. She makes it clear to him that she has the trigger to make it go *BOOM*. Then everybody gives Shinji the cold shoulder and begins treating him like a dirty leper with AIDs who just fucked their mothers. Everybody fucking shits on Shinji's parade and acts all angry at him for no goddamn reason, and they never answer any of his simple questions that he has like "Where am I? Is this really 14 years after that battle with Zuruel? Where's my dad? Why do you hate me now when at the end of the last movie you were cheering me on? And where's Rei? Seriously, I pulled her out of that Angel for sure, so why wasn't she in the cockpit with me when you saved me from space? Wait, space? How the fuck did THAT happen? Why was I in outer space in a giant coffin? And how come you can afford this cool, new, flying battleship, Misato-san, but Asuka still has duct-tape holding her plug suit together? And don't they have artificial eyes 14 years in the future? Why does Asuka look like a pirate? How can she seriously pilot an EVA with non-3-dimensional vision? What? How? WHY!?"
Okay, so Shinji didn't ask ALL those questions, but he should have. But even if he did, they wouldn't have told him anything. NOTHING is explained in this movie. All we're given instead is small nuggets of bare information like 1.) Everybody is pissed at Shinji and treats him like moist dog-crap that they just stepped in with sandals on their feet with no explanation ever given as to WHY. 2.) Misato, Ritsuko, Asuka, Mari, and a butt-load of hastilly-trained civilians are a part of a new organization called WILLE that opposes NERV and is trying to destroy it... They never tell Shinji WHY, just the fact that that's their plan. 3.) No, there is no #3. They seriously don't drop hints about anything else that might make an interesting plot point at all. God it's annoying.
Anyway, soon WILLE's battleship is attacked by an aquatic Angel and the vessel takes to the skies and blows the beast to infinity and beyond pretty easily (whilst the Nautilus' triumphant fan fare is blasted through the speakers like a retro in-joke). Then the WILLE fleet (apparently all hanging from the main battleship with fishing line [seriously, what the fuck was up with that?!]) is attacked by the EVA-00 piloted by REI II. Rei came to collect Shinji, and since all Misato and her PMSing minions ever did to him was GLARE angilly at him with no explanation as to what he did to earn their wrath, Shinji jumps into the EVA-00's hand and they fly away (on giant rockets that the 00 somehow materialized [never explained]).
Shinji then wakes up in an abandoned NERV HQ, with his only company being Rei, his asshole father (wearing Keel's eye-wear for no explained reason), Kaworu, and an older, fuddier-duddier Fuyutsuki. Rei doesn't remember anything that Shinji remembers her doing, Gendo just mocks his son (for good reason), and Fuyutsuki does something that has NEVER been done before in ANY Evangelion storyline and simply straight out tells Shinji/the audience that Rei is a clone of his mother, and that his mother's soul is inside the EVA-01. Then Kaworu plays a piano duet with Shinji with even more massive homosexual under/overtones than episode 24 of the original series had. Then he and Shinji are best buds forevs, and to prove it Kaworu takes the bomb choker from Shinji (something that nobody had yet offered to remove for the pud up till now) and puts it on his own neck. Do not ask why. The Angel in the form of a boy then takes Shinji outside of NERV HQ and shows him that when he started the Third Impact at the very end of the previous movie he killed everybody in Tokyo-3 and possibly the world, but if the wuss goes along with Gendo's plans with Kaworu he'll have the chance to fix everything... Honestly, this part is NEVER explained: HOW did Shinji kill all of Tokyo-3 with the Third Impact? Kaworu had STOPPED the goddamn Impact from occurring! We SAW THIS HAPPEN. And if everybody was melted into prehistoric goop, then how did Misato and most of NERV avoid it in order to run away and form WILLE? They were almost right at ground zero! And if NERV is only made up of Gendo, an old man, Rei II, and Kaworu, why is WILLE the one on the run? It's obvious that Anno originally had one plan for the third movie, actually had most of it animated (as is seen in the trailer for You Can (Not) Undo at the end of the 2nd film, which showed that it was supposed to be set right after part 2, featured a world that was still alive, and even had Kaji in it), said "Oops! Never mind... I'll just use this retarded storyline instead because the fans don't hate me enough now. Gotta fix that quickly.... THERE! NOW they'll have enough ammo to keep their loathing for me going on the webs for at least another 10 years!"
*DEEEEEEEEP SIGH*.... Okay. I'm okay now. So, after that Shinji's all like "Fuck yeah! Let's fix this shit! I'll follow you, Kaworu, into the anus of the Earth to correct these shenanigans!" And so off they go, into the dual-plugged EVA-13, with Rei in her new EVA right behind them. Then Mari and Asuka show up from out of fucking nowhere in their EVAs to piss on Shinji's birthday cake, and Asuka calls the wuss names in order to keep him from touching two spears sticking out of what looks like a rotting Lilith/EVA hybrid that's just sitting there in Terminal Dogma. Shinji basically says "Fuck off," and grabs the two spears (where the fuck did ANY of this shit come from? The Lilith melded with an EVA? The 2 spears? Way down in Terminal Dogma, about a mile under the Earth?!), and despite Kaworu's sudden change of heart to leave shit alone, Shinji restarts the 3rd Impact. Kaworu's choker explodes in a bloody volcano, and then shit goes to hell down a crusty and fetid sewer pipe.
Mari and Asuka stop the Impact (goddamn, this is getting fucking old) by yanking out the entry plug of Shinji's unit and then self destructing the EVA-02, and then the whole thing ends with Asuka dragging a wimpy, whiny Shinji away with Rei II in tow, since she's just a little confused about everything herself. The end.
I fucking HATED 3.33! It was confusing for the sole purpose of being confusing, and the choices that Anno made for its plot are just stupid! Nothing in the end paid off for the lameness that filled out that wasted hour and a half. I wanted to see the movie that the trailer at the end of the second flick hinted at, not this retarded piece of Ryo-Ohki carrot droppings! The whole thing felt like a very expensive prank pulled upon the audience. End of Eva may have been a bit trippy, but I got it — It made sense within its own universe. 3.33 is just garbage thrown at the wall, but the wall is Teflon, so no matter how juicy or rotten the trash being thrown is NOTHING sticks.
I could accept some parts of the story if it made any kind of thematic sense, but everything about this movie screams that Anno (the creator and destructor of this whole frickin' universe!) has forgotten what needs to go into an Evangelion tale — namely characters that don't act like pouty, insulted, spoiled bitches, nor characters that freely dole out plot points as if the audience is made up of mentally handicapped kindergartners. Fuyutsuki and Kaworu simply spilling the beans over age old mysteries (that have really only been hinted at in the past) was probably the biggest kick to my enormous scrote, even more so than Misato and her rag-tag crew of retards simply just GLARING at Shinji instead of explaining the whole situation to him like adults. There is a happy middle ground, Anno! And the younger you would have found it and made it golden! You fucked up to the extreme, my crazy Japanezy amigo...
So, I'm pretty sure that the only people left in the world are Misato's WILLE group, Gendo, Fuyutsuki, Shinji, and Rei II; the only color pallets left in Studio Gainax are dull browns and reds; and nobody is willing to talk about jack shit about the plot or missing 14 years as if Tyler Durden is standing right behind them popping his knuckles. The word "disappointment" is the only thing that comes to mind when I think back on 3.33. And now I don't want to see how Anno plans to end this whole thing. I'm afraid that all 4.44 is going to do is piss me off more and just make things stupider and more depressing. The depressing part I can handle (hell, EoE was beyond depressing, but very fun), but movie 4 is going to be a retarded depression, you just know it.
Fuck you, Anno.
Beyond that I feel that I must warn you that these are NOT stand alone movies. You cannot understand them (even the first movie) without first seeing the TV series. These are direct sequels, make no nevermind about that. Don't try and introduce a n00b to the world of Evangelion via these flicks; you'll just confundle the fuck out of their teeny tiny little minds, and then when they get to the third movie they'll punch you in the ear. And you'll deserve it.
I saw the TV show years ago. Don't remember much of it other than some loser kid with no friggin' backbone was supposed to be the only person in the world who could pilot a giant, purple robot. Just like half of all the shows ever made in Japan.
Then the Rossman told me that they remade the purple robot show in movie form, and it was much cooler, and that he was going to watch the first 3 movies all in a row now that the third one was just released. Since my killin' the farm animals was done for the day (NOTE FROM THE ROSSMAN: The Wolfman does not live on or work at a farm), I decided I had nothin' better to do. So I joined him. I am very glad that I did because I didn't realize just how awful something could be. How painful something like an animated movie could be. I never realized that bad storytelling could cause migraines in people, but now I know, and now I know how to torture people and animals worse than one of those hammer guns that guy with the bowl-cut used in that No Country For Old Men flick.
I am for serious here. These movies were incomprehensible to me. They just kept throwin' visuals and weird twists and shit at me, and none of it made much sense. Then the third movie was just so stupid it made my eyes roll up and caused me to puke on the Rossman's dog, who then ate it, which caused the Rossman to puke. It was like a scene straight out of Family Guy.
These new Evangelical cartoon movies were so impressive that they gave me the wonderful idea to create a.... A... Oh, confound it! That's a lie! They were so repetitive or weird or strangely repetitive that I fell asleep cursing their boring selves!
I even got a crick in my neck from falling asleep improperly on the couch... I just might invent my own time machine in order to go back into the past and give the writers and directors a good swift kick to their rumps! That might teach them to not be so crazy and repetitive!.... Repetitive.