14 years later...
With the delays between instalments becoming painfully long, hitting chapter 3 (of 4) in the Rebuild of Evangelion saga is a confusing time, thankfully also for its protagonist.Shinji Ikari is a young teen boy who has no idea what is going on. No idea why his friends have turned enemies. And why he’s wearing a bomb collar around his neck. He was once recruited by a clandestine paramilitary organisation called NERV to pilot one of several giant robots called Evas (which can only be piloted by a few gifted, but precocious, teens) in an effort to stop the attacks of monstrous otherworldly beings known as Angels upon the fortified supercity of Tokyo-III, which was capable of being dropped underground in times of conflict. The last attack, however, saw Shinji – and his Eva – merge and evolve, in order to save his best friend, the girl that he loves (who also saved his life), Rei Ayanami. That evolution triggered the cataclysmic Third Impact, and, although Shinji appears blissfully unaware of it, 14 years have passed since those events, and nobody who survived is particularly happy to see the boy anymore.It feels like we’ve waited 14 years for this third chapter in the series to finally be released too, and it has been an eternity given the film was completed and released in Japan in 2012. Thankfully it was worth the wait and, actually, whether intentionally or not, this third chapter – with its time lapse – works well at slowly putting the pieces together to inform you about everything that has come to pass across the decade-and-a-half, as its main character appears just as in the dark as we are. With spectacular battles in space and at sea, and complex pseudo-religious ruminations on evolution, mass destruction, death and rebirth, Evangelion continues to fit the bill as one of those top-tier anime franchises which hits all the right spots. Let’s just hope it isn’t another (1)4 years until the final part.
Picture QualityThe third Evangelion film maintains the exceptional visual aesthetic of the first two, and stellar video presentation, promoting the movie with a 1080p/AVC-encoded High Definition video rendition, framed in the original theatrical aspect of 2.40:1 widescreen (the first of the three to have the broader scope, with the earlier two parts framed in 1.78:1).
Often painting a vibrant, vivid and bloodily violent tapestry, Evangelion continues to be an visually opulent wonder.
Detail is excellent, with the newer style CG-enhanced animation techniques proving themselves far superior to those used in the original series – the line drawings offered up as strong and well-defined, and the CG effects looking noticeable but well-integrated with the rest of the proceedings. The action setpieces ignite the screen with space thrusters, AT-fields, massive detonations, and an unhealthy amount of crimson material, whilst the apocalyptic backdrop is rich in detail and depth. Overall, it’s an outstanding presentation and, barring some negligible banding, it’s otherwise demo excellence.
Sound QualityWith dubbing having come a long way (and the subtitles not quite grasping the sentiment when the Japanese Dolby TrueHD 5.1 track is played) the preferred option may well be the English Dolby TrueHD 5.1 mix, which is a stonking, demo beast. Dialogue is presented clearly and coherently, largely emanating from the centre channel, with some accompaniment from the fronts, but the effects and score are the real high points on this track.
On the aural front things are also excellent with dual lossless track that are equally impressive.
The many wide-ranging effects offer up some serious directionality across the surrounds: each discrete channel giving us a different element from both the ambient and more explosively-orientated aspects. The numerous battle sequences are punishingly brutal, with Eva vs. drone action, the electric chink of clashed AT fields and even some wild multi-Eva-on-Eva action, as things threaten to reopen the Third Impact. The score, initially following suit from the first two chapters, provides wonderful accompaniment before a third act dominated by the character Kaworu’s signature tune, Beethoven’s Ode to Joy.
Collector's Edition ExtrasEven the UK Collector’s Edition only boasts a limited selection of extras, which are primarily promo-driven, with what feels like two dozen TV spots gracing the package (somewhere in there, you get a single 10 minute making-of montage on the Rebuild of Evangelion 3.33), which matches up at disc-level, to its Amaray counterpart.
Nice-looking, but pretty empty inside, and far from matching up to the others in the series.
Indeed the only 'upgrade' is that the amaray case itself (which also contains a DVD copy) is housed in an oversized thick card box with room for a further booklet containing art for the various characters.
Blu-ray VerdictAfter a rocky start, proving itself to be little more than a polished-up, glorified replica of the original 1995 anime, the new Evangelion ‘rebuild’ blew away all doubts with its second movie, Evangelion: 2.0 – You Can (Not) Advance, an awesome, action-packed blast which was held together by a well-formulated narrative and some solid characterisation.
Now, a painful 4 years after that last one was released, we finally get the penultimate chapter, You Can (Not) Redo, and it was – just about – worth the wait.
The UK 'Collector's Edition' isn't much of a step up over the near bare-bones standard edition, it just comes in a box with a small booklet of unexceptional artwork; that said, even with a distinct lack of extras, the technical specs are impressive, with stunning video and audio which should excite all fans. Now let's just hope we get the last part before Fourth Impact.
Our Review Ethos
To comment on what you've read here, click the Discussion tab and post a reply.