I know I am tackling a pretty big franchise that has a crazy cult following, but regardless I can’t play favorites. Quite simply, Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth is a good film, but it is not great. For those turning to this film to answer all the questions that the last two episodes of the Evangelion series didn’t answer, I suggest you look elsewhere. The second part of the movie is called “Rebirth” and is simply the first part of “End of Evangelion” movie. So in a way, it’s almost a waste and certainly is a tease of what’s coming up. The focus of the first movie death is a recap of key scenes, which have been reanimated using theater quality cell designs, of the series as well as a few scenes which were never in the series such as a monolog from Gendo and Keel the two conspirators, or how Asuka tries to seduce Kaji on the way to Tokyo 3. This is true eye candy for fans and it is essential for those whom have not seen the entire series. Obviously, I can’t sit here and give you a synopsis as the series covers way to much material so this is all I can enclose. You shouldn’t be watching this film is it is your introduction into the Evangelion world anyway.
The action and emotional pitch are intense, really a step beyond most of the films I had seen before. Lacking any guideposts though, I found it difficult to piece together the story behind the action. A big pet peeve for me was that some of the characters have completely different voices from the series. While they managed to keep most of them decently close to the original, some are simply awful when compared with the original series. My bottom line is that there is nothing *wrong* with this, but there is nothing new here either.
The movies are even more adult orientated because it does away with all the light entertainment and goes directly into the deep and complex storyline which is simply too difficult to follow for children. The commentary offers little in the way of real insight, having very little to say about the underlying philosophies or symbolism. Death And Rebirth is really only for two groups of people. Those who haven’t seen the original episodes in awhile and needed a refresher course, and those who are Eva fanatics and snatch up pretty much everything they can find. If I am grading upon accessibility this knocks my final grade down quite a bit.
Although this film is almost an advertisement for End of Evangelion, it’s good to see how it starts and begins to develop and is more comprehensive than the original episodes 25 and 26. There is a ton of violence and gore done onto both humans and angels. There is also a lot of nudity and a scene of masturbation, which is all stuff you would expect from Manga. With all the time Manga has had the license to produce this, you would’ve expected them to release an S.E. flooded with features. All in all, I am disappointed but I am glad I have a gateway to check out the other films in the franchise.