In the earliest battles against the monstrous Angels, young Eva pilots Shinji and Rei were forced to carry humanity’s hopes on their shoulders. Now, with the deadly onslaught of the Angels escalating and the apocalyptic Third Impact looming, Shinji and Rei find their burden shared by two new Eva pilots, the fiery Asuka and the mysterious Mari. Maneuvering their enormous Eva machines into combat, the four young souls fight desperately to save mankind from the heavens but will they be able to save themselves?
The eagerly anticipated Evangelion: 1.01 is the first installment in a four-feature retelling of Hideaki Anno’s watershed series Neon Genesis Evangelion (1995). Anno has said he is re-creating Evangelion as he wanted it to be initially, unconstrained by technological and budgetary limits. The first film covers the same material as episodes 1 through 6 of the series: In 2015, 14-year-old Shinji Ikari arrives at the headquarters of Nerve, a scientific organization that represents humanity’s last defense against the Angels, mysterious beings bent on destruction. Assigned to pilot the gigantic cyborg Evangelion Unit 01, Shinji proves a reluctant, neurotic hero, whose problems are rooted in his estrangement from his father. Anno was able to rehire most of the staff from the original series, but the use of computer graphics enables the filmmakers to amp up the visuals. When the army deploys an array of tanks, planes and missiles against the Angel Sachiel, the viewers sees the ranks of ineffectual machines moving into position–and being destroyed by the Angel’s terrible power. Operation Yashima, the climactic battle with the Angel Ramiel, ends the film. In the television series, this Angel was just a blue tetrahedron; in the film it reconfigures itself into a fantastic array of geometric shapes. Shinji’s destruction of the Angel with an experimental “positron cannon” eclipses the earlier version. The entire Japanese voice cast returned for the remake; in the English dub, Alison Keith and Spike Spencer re-create their roles as the exuberant Misato and the angst- ridden Shinji, while Brina Palencia capably takes over as the distant Rei Ayanami. The tighter story-telling and dazzling visuals of Evangelion: 1.01 will win over even skeptics who doubted whether there was any need for yet another version. (Rated PG-13: violence, nudity, alcohol and tobacco use) –Charles Solomon
Stills from Evangelion: 1.01 (Click for larger image)
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