20 July 2013 | Space-Sweeper
"Destroying the world is only too easy. Rebuilding it is not so simple, however."
The Rebuild saga blazes onward in Anno's world flipping master act. This is the world of Evangelion unlike anything that's been done before, boasting a new, clear and confident vision that brings our heroes and anti-heroes through endless strife and the most horrific of imaginable emotional confrontations. At times it's hard to watch for that reason, but the fact that an 'out' even exists, in all of its mysterious grandeur, shows us that this doesn't have to be the end
and it's already gone beyond THE End that we've previously been met with.
Atmosphere is what the entire movie is about. Dialogue is minimal, and much is left to the visuals to tell the story of the Fourth Impact. Those visuals are quite unlike much else I've seen in a film, carrying on Evangelion's hellish, dreamlike tradition of an original, complex, and thought-provoking art direction. The cryptic nature of every artistic level, be it writing, animation, design, or music cues, that the feature works on, recalls once again, the work of Stanley Kubrick and his 'Kubrick's Cube' of visual parallelism. Aside for some visual nods to Kubrick's work (2001: A Space Odyssey, in particular), Hideaki Anno produces a visual wonder through animation, as he has with the previous Evangelion entries (and the parallels between NGE and Rebuild, in their universe hand-offs, progressions, and quantum entanglements), and goes above and beyond. It's truly a masterpiece worthy of seemingly endless dissection.
One shot that stands out in particular for me is Shinji, listening to his Walkman in the foetal position in the ruins of NERV HQ as the green grass that has grown through the oppressive concrete floor over time rustles softly in the wind. It's melancholic and establishes the feeling of the film's middle act- its heart. Between that is the confusion of being in Shinji's shoes and facing a world fourteen years passes, for what is mere moments for him. It is effectively soul-crushing, driving one to desire a brighter future for all who still live on the Earth; but there's no way it will ever be reached without a battle hard-fought.
This is much the story of two particular characters, Shinji and Kaworu than the others and while at times that can feel disappointing, to recognize the importance of the plot's gaze is essential to understanding where the Rebuild is going. For every time I crave more of Mistato's development or an appearance from Kaji, the look back toward Shinji and Kaworu is ultimately as fulfilling. Visually, the movie presents so much to analyze and merely take in, that I feel we'll have enough to puzzle over right up until 4.0— Final. It's an absolute beauty, and to watch it in anything less than high definition is more than a disservice.
As if the startling premise wasn't enough of a radical change, the final 20 or so minutes takes Evangelion to unheard of heights and, in some cases, lows. These are the best kinds of each.
Though I can understand the dislike for this movie from fans of Evangelion, I urge them to look back upon it with eyes and a mind free of expectations and see it as something that isn't meant to be the Evangelion we know- the point of the movie is to venture into the unknown, not follow the path we've seen in Neon Genesis; from the end of 2.22, it would seem this was made clear.
It's new, it's mysterious, and quickly advancing toward a new ending that could be the end of all things, the breaking of the cycle that we've been experiencing for the past 18 years, across anime, manga, and feature film. But what is the element that Shinji must perform to finally defy every quantifiable expectation? Let's see what Mr. Anno has to present him.
"Everybody finds love in the end..."