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Masterpiece Cinema - The End of Evangelion

 article about Top movie reviews
Welcome back! Kick off your shoes and enjoy a review, why dontcha? This week: a gem of Japanese animation.

The End of Evangelion

Starring a bunch of Japanese or English voice-over actors, depending on which dub youd prefer to listen to.
Written by Hideaki Anno, Shinji Higuchi & Kazuya Tsurumaki
Directed by Hideaki Anno & Kazuya Tsurumaki
Genre: Sci-Fi/Animation
Released: 1997
Running time: 87 minutes.
Rated: PG-13/M15+ (American/Australian rating forwell, a bunch of violence, some adult themes and a bit of naughty language).

IMDb link: http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0169858/

Okay,
so, who in the class knows what anime is? Hands up. Wow, that's a lot
of you. I shouldn't be surprised - you're all very highly educated
people with good taste and nice haircuts. And I bet you all smell nice,
too.

But for those of you who don't know, it's that genre thats
often mistakenly referred to as manga and referred to in a vaguely
racist manner as Japanimation.
The Japanese have an absolutely
booming animation industry. Ignoring the huge business they generate in
the western world, Japan's animated films rank highly in box office
grosses, where animation isnt seen as purely childs fare. Sure, there
are cartoon kids movies, but theres also stuff for adults. The End of
Evangelion is an example.

Let me begin this by stipulating
that, if you haven't watched the anime television series Neon Genesis
Evangelion, you shouldn't begin by watching this movie. I mean, look at
the title it's the end of the entire story. You're not going to
understand what's going on, much as you wouldnt understand what was
happening in a play if you walked in on the final act. So, if you've
never heard of Evangelion before, take this review to be in support of
both the movie and the excellent, groundbreaking, immensely popular TV
series that preceded it. Consider this review as a glimpse at the
treasure that awaits you at the end of the rainbow. Believe me, The End
of Evangelion is a treasure.

Neon Genesis Evangelion
seemed to be nothing more than your typical giant robot sci-fi anime
series when it debuted back in 1995. It was full of blue-haired
characters, large action pieces, goofy comedy bits and a smidge of T
& A. However, slowly, as the series progressed, it became evident
that there was something else lurking beneath the surface of this show.
Religious iconography and occult mythology was used in new and
imaginative ways, layering meaning into a show that dealt with
psychological and emotional issues in intense and visceral ways.

But,
man, did people ever get pissed off when the series reached its finale
an episode that takes place entirely inside the mind of the main
character, despite the fact that there was no real, onscreen
explanation for how the audience got there and what the hell it all
meant.

So, in response to the outcry, The End of Evangelion
was crafted two new episodes that are meant to supersede the final
episode of the series and give fans a greater sense of closure. And
theres closure. And theres not. And, man, is it ever amazing to watch.

Theres
so much in this film to give college professors and university tutors
to mull over and debate and analyze. Its nine months pregnant with
meaning, with symbolism and with psychobabble. Its an epic in the
greatest sense of the word; if fans were left scratching their heads
with the way the series originally ended, theyre left downright
flabbergasted by this bombastic display.

The End of Evangelion
reinforces in my mind why I like anime so much: between the giant robot
battles and the Christ metaphors, you gain an appreciation for how
theres nothing like this coming out of Hollywood at the moment (if
there ever will be).

It's not something to be viewed lightly
and as I said earlier, it's not something you can just walk into cold.
But if you put in the effort, if you watch the series and then watch
this movie, it will give you something thatll hook you, that''ll keep
you coming back over and over again for another go, for another try at
unraveling the mystery. And even then, youll still be left wondering.

But that's all part of the fun, isn't it?

Next time: A Spike Lee joint.


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