Last night was the first of two showings across Canada of Evangelion 1.0, part one of a four-part retelling of the popular Neon Genesis Evangelion anime series, revamped with new scenes and new graphics for an old, an undeniably well-loved, story.
I went to the showing in Halifax, Nova Scotia, along with over 200 fellow fans – not only did the show almost entirely sell out but we also made up the biggest turn-out across the entire country! Way to come out and show your support, Haligonians – you guys rock! Winning moments include a fun pre-show with lots of prizes and trivia and an impromptu light show during the film’s closing credits where everyone took out their cell phones and swayed them to the lovely Utada Hikaru song.
As for the movie itself, Evangelion 1.0 proved a movie well worth taking the time to see in theatres. As a redo of the original series’ first quarter, it did a fantastic job keeping remarkably faithful to the original down to almost identical shot-by-shot scenes. The graphics have a snazzy update, with high digital quality and the use 3D animation. The 3D is used to make the machinery more detailed and smooth without actually looking blatantly 3D, which helps seamlessly weave the effects in with the 2D segments (which is still the majority of the movie) and proved a winning combination.
The dub wasn’t perfect but still worked well overall, bringing back a majority of the old voice actors. Rei has a new voice actress but one who lends her talents perfectly to the role, and Shinji’s high-pitched whining returns in a more consistent fashion that, despite its more ear-splitting moments, works to remind us we’re watching a film starring a prepubescent.
I also realized that I don’t dislike the lead, Shinji, as a character despite the high level of animosity he often falls prey to from viewers. As when I first watched the series (almost ten years ago, yikes!) I still think he’s a sympathetically realistic character considering the situation he finds himself in. He acts, reacts and thinks in a way that keeps such a fantastical mech series feel surprisingly grounded, albeit I’ll fully admit that being privy to his (internet-coined) ’emo-tastic inner dialogue often leaves it hard to take him seriously.
Fantastic backdrops and high-energy fight scenes aside, my favourite scenes in the movie were undoubtedly when the screen filled with shifting gears, moving mechanics and a slew of stress-stricken but methodical countdowns and confirmations of their status as another mission literally shot into place. It was these moments where I felt not only did the updated graphics play the strongest role but also that the dub felt the most natural. Exciting stuff!
So overall a great movie to see in theatres – no substitution for seeing an EVA vs Angel battle up there on the big screen. For all my fellow Canadians out there who joined me in viewing the movie in theatres across the country, I hope you enjoyed it as much as we Haligonians sure did.
As a reminder, Canadians can still catch another showing of Evangelion 1.0 in theatres this Saturday morning at 10am. You can find more information on the locations on Empire Theatres’ website.