You Can (not) Make Any Damn Sense: Evangelion 3.0


Quick catch up for anyone who has no idea what I’m talking about: Neon Genesis Evangelion is a famous anime series from the 90s. I like it. Now they’re putting out “rebuild” movies that are essentially a retelling of the series that go off in their own crazy direction. I absolutely loved the second one. This is the third one.

Note that this will be spoiler-free. Let’s get on with it.

I’ve never been a big fan of the idea that remakes or sequels should hew closely to their original, often beloved progenitors no matter what the fans may claim to want. I like to see a familiar story go in directions I’m not expecting. Eva 3.0 definitely delivers on that front, opening with a series of action scenes that make it clear right off the bat that this isn’t the Evangelion you know and love. And yet it feels like a logical progression to the core Eva story, a direction the original series could have easily gone in. A new thematic through-line is established in the opening 15 minutes, one that when you think about it was always there in the background of Evangelion but was never emphasized this heavily. Startling new character motivations and directions are revealed, and I found myself wondering how these people were going to make it through the story intact. Yes indeed, the first half of this film really is something to behold.

The problem is the second half.

When the Rebuild project was first announced it was tentatively suggested that movies three and four would actually be one film. At some point it was decided to cut them in two instead, and the resulting gaping wound was not patched over with particular skill. Simply put, the movie is too short. Character arcs that begin in the first half either aren’t paid off at all or are rushed through such that they lack the impact they should have had. The thematic connective tissue is lost amid rushed world-building and confusing techno-babble. People have accused the film of simply pulling shit out of mid-air and not making a whole lot of sense. That’s true, but no more so than in the original series, the End of Evangelion film or the second Rebuild movie. It’s just that everything is happening at once and none of it has the proper context or set-up so it feels like a string of bizarre events and incomprehensible action scenes. Most movies are a bit too long; this one could have easily done with another 40 minutes and even that might not be enough to save it. The story feels like it was designed to be a TV series instead of a movie.

Does that mean I disliked Eva 3.0? No. I sure had a good time watching it and it’s visually spectacular to a degree few movies could ever hope to top. The closing scene alone is gorgeous enough to almost justify the entire project. But it’s just too short and too truncated and condensed and it’s doesn’t really work as a result.

It’s a real shame because I can see what they were trying to to do, I really can. I understand why all of the creative choices were made and how they tie into the central theme that I think the movie is trying to present. But something clearly went wrong during production and we ended up with a rushed, sloppy mess of a film.

Will the fourth movie salvage things? Maybe. I can see how it could slot in neatly at the end of 3.0 and continue on all the fascinating set-up. I want the full story Hideaki Anno and crew are building here instead of the cliffs notes version.


9 thoughts on “You Can (not) Make Any Damn Sense: Evangelion 3.0

  1. Paleii

    I agree with Eva, I thought the movie was pretty dynamic. It may be like catching fire in hunger games. Laying the ground work for the next movie. Or so I hope …

    Anyways the only thing I was disappointed at was the lack of psychological development that characterized the earlier eva shows. Not to mention the new characters made me want to gag in disgust. Honestly what was the purpose of adding these irrelevant outlandish people other than the cosmetics?

    What I did enjoy was watching Shinji facial features change from fear to scorn to pain and etc. etc. The facial expression were so uncanny realistic that I had no choice but to conclude that it was engineered thoughtfully.

    So what does this sum up to?
    A) It should not revolutionize anybodies thought process. Or else it would mean that the person who watch this is rather dumb or I am dumb.
    Eva 3.0 is not a thought provoking movie. Hence the pulling shit out of their ass phrase.

    B) There are still a few micro highlights in the movie that can be seen with a subtle eye.
    Which can enrapture most of your attention if you are a micro person like myself.

    Oh yeah and the action scene was nice. Whatever. It wasn’t mind boggling.

  2. Eva

    I am extremely surprised at the number of people who where confused or disappointed at this film. I am confused as to whether or not we just saw the same movie. If this movie is confusing then Evangelion is not the series for you, stick to something lighter and easier to digest. EVA has always been for the hardcore anime fans and 3.0 delivered a mind-blowing epic storyline with absolutely amazing visuals.

    It was a surprise that the story took a different turn, but it was pleasant because its new material for the true EVA fans. Do you really just want to keep watching a remake of the old series crammed into an 1hr with better graphics? Not only is this new material, but it is executed extremely well, and I am sure the true EVA fans can appreciate. The storyline is so deep and touches elements of philosophy, psychology, and spirituality. It’s understandable that many people simply cannot fully grasp all the depth that is contained in this film.

    1. Fayt

      Lol at idiots like you who say “If this movie is confusion then Evangelion is not the series for you” you act like you got something less intelligent people didn’t get when in fact these rebuild movies are just bad. He explained it perfectly: They pull shit shit out of mid-air and don’t explain probably because they figure they wont have to and fans will either be stunned by how “cool” the movie looked or think the writers made it “deep” and you have to think really hard to get it when in fact they themselves don’t know what the fuck they made. The old show was good and smart, these movies cool looking, pointless, and unintelligent in every way

    2. Master Yoda

      If this movie is confusing then Evangelion is not the series for you, stick to something lighter and easier to digest.

      im sorry mate, but thats just prententious.

      1. ronanwills Post author

        I’ve watched the entire series and both previous movies and loved them. Evangelion is indeed “for me”, whatever that means. This movie is just poorly written and no amount of hand-waving will change that.

        (Also, I don’t think you understand what the word pretentious means)

          1. ronanwills Post author

            Oh, sorry! It’s been so long since I wrote this post that I forgot what had been written in previous comments.

  3. Pingback: Wolf Children | Doing In The Wizard

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