GO EVANGELION 1.0 Neon Genesis Evangelion creator Hideaki Anno co-directs the first in a planned tetralogy that reboots (and spiffs up with gorgeously soft-lit 3-D CGI) his beloved mid-'90s anime series, which was seminal enough to earn $1.4 billion-plus in revenue and, perhaps more tellingly, be referenced by Homer Simpson. Set in Japan's last surviving city, Tokyo-3, this apocalyptic action-drama focuses on the key players within NERV, a paramilitary force armed with piloted war machines ("mecha" to you anime novices) that protect their retractable-roofed metropolis by battling giant monsters called Angels. In the first 10 minutes, naïve high-schooler Shinji is summoned by his long-estranged father, wanders into a firefight, gets rescued by a flirty field commander, survives a bomb from inside a flipping car, and faces an ultimatum from NERV's grand poobah (yep, dad): Suit up in a prototype mecha, or civilization will be lost. This is mighty perplexing nerd kibble, its highfalutin philosophical and psychological banter way too outlandish to seriously engage. Yet as a visceral experience, it's entrancing, especially during Shinji's fight sequences, when his anxieties are cruelly exacerbated by having his body and mind symbiotically bonded to his father's combat toy. (Aaron Hillis) (Downtown Independent)
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