Okay, let me put it out there right off the bat - I haven't seen Eva in probably close to ten years, which means I was a wee little brat at the time and hardly consider my recollections about the series accurate or remotely fresh. My memory of the series is thus, should I say, sketchy, and I can't say I recall too much other than the following details: Eva 01 acquiring the S2 engine was awesome, Shinji was a total bitch, and the ending somehow inspired the Matrix trilogy to try to best it in lameness. Even so, I remember enjoying it for the most part; after all, it was the first subbed anime I ever set my eyes on.
That said, for me Eva has always been a pretty standard anime - it's neither unequivocally awesome nor despicably atrocious. Thus, when I expected Rebuild of Evangelion to follow this same trend of decency, I made the right choice. Indeed, by merits of an action-mecha flick it is superb - the first three Angel fights are covered and each serves as an exceptional bout of eye candy. In terms of drama, however, much of story centers around the battles with very little emphasis on the characters (aside from Shinji...of course.) For example, save for a very brief spell toward the beginning of the movie, Misato's exorbitant drinking is decidedly absent. This didn't bother me too much, but I would have preferred a little more balance between the other characters and the "woe is me" monologues.
Shinji's insecurity, however, tends to be downplayed in importance this time around despite the substantial amount of airtime. Though he obviously has his issues, he's not excessively annoying to the point where it becomes a primary plot point. Given how his copious amounts of crying turned me off in the series, this twist proved surprisingly refreshing; the world is actually threatened by the Angels and not Shinji's wrist cutting.
The animation was a true catch twenty-two: it worked enormously well at times and yet poorly at others. Stylistically speaking it bore an enormously striking resemblance to its original source, but unfortunately this just didn't mix too well with modern day CGI - it made everything undesirably dark and hard to see. This made it feel tacky in many places, as while the graphic improvement was nice it melded poorly with very dated character designs and scenery by means of hard lines and edges. Overall it came across as somewhat disappointing - for being hyped as an artistic overhaul, its improvements were debatably effective.
The graphics did manage to shine in a number of places, though, but most especially in the Angel fight scenes - they were, simply put, totally badass. If you need but one reason to relive (or live for the first time) the Eva experience, the battles are it. If nothing more than a truckload of eye candy plastered on a familiar face, they really drive the movie's entertainment factor. I don't know what more to say but that; they make the whole movie worthwhile in and of themselves.
Ah, the nostalgia! While the animation might have suffered some discrepancies due to its age, the music remained timeless. Despite the huge span of time between last hearing many of the insert tracks, they immediately brought back memories and fell into place flawlessly - if anything about the movie really rehashed the feel of the series it was definitely the music. I'm not sure if the same voice actors were used for their respective roles (I'm assuming not), but overall they did a fine job.
I will note, too, that sound effects were used exceptionally well at a number of junctions. From the frenzied screams of Eva 01 during the opening sequence to the high-pitched blare of an Angel's weaponry, during the most important scenes the sounds compliment the music and graphics hand-in-hand.
Nobody ever listens to me. Nobody appreciates me. I hate everyone! I hate the world! I hate life! I HATE IT ALL!
There - I've just summed up Shinji in a nutshell, and in a mere ten seconds (not the hour the movie takes to do so.) As in the series, he spends a majority of the movie whining and moaning about typical teenager problems, but given the rapid progression of events his bickering is somewhat tolerable. After bitching for five minutes he usually "goes out and kills shit," which implies a lot of explosions, destruction, and mayhem - and rightfully so. Still, for about every minute of action two are spent listening to Shinji lament about how horrible everything/everyone around him is. Fortunately I think the hint was taken this go around to not make it overly obnoxious, as while it's annoying at times I found it generally productive in fleshing out his character.
Even so, my main gripe is that no other time is spent developing the rest of the cast. Misato comes across much more militaristic in nature than in the series, as the amount of time devoted to her generally only entails her giving orders during combat. The movie does take a little time to get going, though, so characters like Rei don't make much of an appearance until the very end; the movie isn't a complete work in and of itself. Since the film is but the first of four parts to encompass the entirely of the story, however, I'm not going to dock many points for this flaw. All in all, just like the series, the characters aren't that bad overall, and while a little bit more flexibility in character development would have gone a long way, the movie did a fairly good job in general.
For all you Eva fanboys and fangirls out there, it should come as no surprise that I specially recommend giving Rebuild of Evangelion a whirl. For the rest of you like myself who simply enjoyed the series for being a decent/above-average anime, it's still definitely worth your time. While the movie won't be making it onto your favorite-of-all-time list, I'm sure it will slither its way into the ranks somewhere toward the top. And lastly, for all those not acquainted with Eva at all, I think the movie serves as a great introduction to the franchise. Much of the philosophical lambasting seems to have been cut to expand its appeal to a broader audience; if you're looking for a solid hour and thirty minutes of action coupled with a decent story, Rebuild of Evangelion won't disappoint.
Following a disastrous event known as "The Second Impact," humanity teeters on the brink of extinction. Having not completely eradicated mankind previously, creatures known as Angels begin attacking once more in an attempt to create a third, and final, catastrophe which will annihilate mankind once and for all. When conventional weapons fail to stop the Angels, however, the Japanese military organization NERV proposes the use of strange mecha called Evangelions. When the first Evangelion rejects its pilot, though, NERV's commander is forced to draft his estranged son, Shinji, as mankind's savior. Bitter of his father's estrangement and insecure in his abilities, Shinji struggles to overcome his doubts and fears in the face of certain death, but ultimately continues to fall short despite his efforts. As he slowly improves his skills, however, he must come to terms with the greatest question of all: is humanity worth saving after all?
Though I'm a big fan of slice of life and romance, I'll watch just about anything that catches my interest. My opinions tend to be pretty level-headed, but I have been known to be controversial from time to time! Feel free to lay into me if you so desire, as I always appreciate feedback - positive or negative. I hope you enjoy reading!