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August 11, 2008 | by  | in Film |
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Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone

Directed by Hideaki Anno

If you’re making a film based upon a pre-existing series, it helps if the series is awesome. Hideaki Anno really couldn’t have screwed this one up if he’d tried. But compared to the epic radness of the original he hasn’t exactly outdone himself either.

Evangelion 1.0: You Are (Not) Alone is the first part of a series of four movies that will take another look at the story from Anno’s 1995-6 masterpiece. You Are (Not) Alone essentially provides a recap of the early episodes, and it was interesting to see just how little Anno has deviated from the original. There is the obvious special effect improvements and other small touches here and there; the hands of Eva-01, the nods to the Creation myth with characters’ burnt hands, and the major improvements to the battle against the fifth angel is vastly improved. But for the most part, this is not straying from the beaten track.

Given the much shorter screen time, something has had to be cut. For the most part, this has been done sensibly. Fan service has been cut down, the ultra-long shots that gave each moment an added depth have been removed (unfortunate, because these show the extent of Shinji’s social awkwardness, but fair), and everything generally streamlined. The focus is on the mecha battles, which makes sense. A feature film can’t focus on character development the way a series can; explosions and giant robots are simply better suited to this length. But it was the character development that really made Eva so amazing to begin with, and… Maybe too much has been culled? It’s hard to tell.

Because of this, I have difficulty recommending You Are (Not) Alone to Eva fans. But let’s be honest; if you’re an Eva fan, you’ll be seeing it anyway.

On the other hand, this IS still Evangelion. In compressed form even. You Are (Not) Alone would be a great way to introduce your friends to anime, and an even better way to introduce them to Eva. That way they can’t make the (possibly fair) complaint that “I don’t get it. Nothing happens,” in relation to the first episodes.

Every Eva fan has their favourite character [Film Ed: I want more Asuka] and in this sense the missing character development was tough to take, but the overall streamlining of the series will be easier for the uninitiated and will hopefully attract them back to the original Evangelion. Bring on 2.0.

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