Evangerion shin gekij˘ban: Jo (Evangelion: 1.0 You Are (Not) Alone) (Neon Gensis: Evangelion 1.01 You Are (Not) Alone) Reviews
As a fan of the original Evangelion series I was very interested in checking out the 'Rebuild' movies and viewed You Are (Not) Alone in Blu-Ray. I have to say this is a must see for any fan of the show. While much of this story repeats and condenses the first few episodes, there were enough changes throughout to keep me on my toes which leads to the climax of the story where it almost all goes a different way.
What is remarkable is the updated effects in the rebuild don't stand out or look out of place. There is a quicker pace to keep events moving when compared to the series and a few story elements introduced very (very) early by comparison but I think it's good to keep in mind that these new films will take the Evangelion story on a very different tangent - which seems evident from the more noticeable changes at the end of this film.
Still a great watch, the action, the effects and tension are all still there along with those character dynamics we love from the series.
The first of the proposed four film rebuild of Evangelion, Evangelion: 1.11 You Are (Not) Alone is essentially an introduction to the characters and story line of the series and one that sticks very closely to the original series narrative. There are some slight differences in story and certainly the film boasts a much bigger budget and utilizes the advances in the decade or more since the earlier films and boasts both hand-drawn animation and the latest CGI blended together seamlessly and visually it is gorgeous to view! While I've seen it on Blu-ray and admired the quality, seeing it at my local cinema recently along with 2.22 and 3.33 in a three-film marathon was a totally engrossing and visually sensational experience unlike any other! The CGI involved really adds to the style and feel of the series and breathes new life into the proceedings, especially the angels and their functionality. This first film is condensed certainly but still does a fantastic job at capturing the many battles with the various angels but more importantly it clings to the psychological and humanity of the central story arc and it's Jewish and Christian symbolism all of which add dramatic and visual depth to the series and of course this/these films!
The animation is indeed excellent and looks absolutely beautiful, even if at times it did just seem to show some new scenes where it felt like they were going, 'hey, look. We have a budget now!' which isn't necessarily a bad thing, I suppose. However, I will say that the animation on the Angel Ramiel was amazing and looked very creative and there is also a lot more blood added in these rebuilds. The characters are still great and even though everything had to be condensed down for a film, they still feel the same, even if we don't spend as much time on them as we once did, which will please fans who watched it for the action, but seeing Gendo in HD is absolutely glorious. I don't normally watch the dub but if Robin Williams had have been Gendo, that would have totally been something to watch, as well as that fake cast list that fake cast list that FUNimation released back in 2009, that'd have been interesting, Sean Penn as Pen Pen, I mean, wow. Also, I guess looking back on it and seeing that Robin Williams was such a big fan has a rather deep and sad meaning behind it.
Even with all the praise, like I said earlier about recommending the anime first, does that make it sound like this is inferior? Well, when it is put like that, yes, I guess so but judging the film as it is, it is perfectly fine. Another review called it, 'just another robot movie', and while I don't agree with that completely, it does highlight how different this is from the original 'Evangelion', as the anime was about a lot more than just robots fighting. But I am surprised by just how much I was satisfied with this, it felt streamlined, clearly, but streamlined for good reason and didn't just feel rushed as it very well could have been and it still contained all the iconic moments. The religious symbolism returns, despite the fact that it was apparently chosen because it 'looked interesting', but considering Anno is in charge, I still believe there is more to it and I have my own theories as to what they mean. My only real complaint is that Shinji's classmates feel a tad pointless, they're only in about three scenes and they see Shinji in the Eva very quickly and go from not liking to liking him too quickly and it didn't feel natural. Given how much else that was taken out, I think that could have gone as well, but they do appear more in the sequel, so all is good and even if there was no anime and this was just its own thing, I think I'd mention it anyway. Maybe they could have had that scene where they watch Shinji in the Eva in the next film but that would have messed up the pacing too much. It's funny; no one in their class ever seems to ask Rei why she always has a broken arm or an eyepatch or something. Of course some of the character development, namely Shinji, felt shortened from the anime but of course it would, this is a film, not a series that can go at its own pace and compromises have to be made. It isn't even bad; it's just something you notice if you're a fan. It's ironic, for a character so innovative at the time; some might just think he's a generic angsty teenager here. Given where Shinji ends up I think they could have given him just a little more confidence here, though. It also makes me laugh how NERV seem to have a never ending supply of money but given what they have to deal with I'm sure they have a blank check. The Doritos in Misato's room made me laugh as well.
It took a long time to finally get made and it's the production company's first film and while opinions are divided down the middle to where some might argue their first film wasn't that great, I'm still pleased with what I saw, I enjoyed it. It was streamlined without, then in turn, making it feel rushed and it still has that spark about it that makes it feel like 'Evangelion'. And even if I didn't like this, I'm going to judge it on its own merits as opposed to comparing it by saying, 'oh it didn't do x', 'it should have been more like y', because I have the original anime to go back to. It's like anything, if you watch these first your opinion will be coloured one way and if you watch the anime first your opinion will be coloured another way, that's just how it goes. Although, like most films based on a series, I don't really know why you'd want to watch this if you haven't seen the anime. If I may compare for just a moment, this does feel very clean, unlike the anime where you'd feel something after every episode, this lost some of that but it makes sense and it isn't a complaint, I'm just mentioning it. Co-director Kazuya Tsurumaki only agreed to help if film 3 was about 'the third Rei clone' and look how that turned out. Some could argue that this film was pointless but I do like trilogies that tell one big story as opposed to just being films that just have an increasing number on the end of the title, it's a risky thing to do but when you have an entire framework to work from, it's easier to achieve in film form, looking forward to the next.