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Movie review: 'Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance'

January 20, 2011|By Robert Abele

The anime feature "Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance" is the continuation of a projected quartet that re-imagines (and condenses) an influential mid-'90s Japanese TV series called "Neon Genesis Evangelion."

To recap the apocalypse as intriguingly conceived by animator Hideaki Anno, the world is beset by catastrophically destructive behemoths called Angels, and only moody teens neurally plugged into giant combat robots called Evas can save humanity.

It was the best of times, it was the end of times, in other words, since this nerd soap delivers plenty of orgiastically designed battle sequences, futuristic fortress-themed visuals (cool retractable buildings, Tokyo!) and a deep empathy with the confusion and alienation in its adolescent heroes, who are led by Shinji — who seeks praise from his taciturn father — and silver-haired, quiet-voiced loner hottie Rei.

Trying to comprehend the jargon-rife storylines and high-minded philosophical talk is a demanding task when the pace is so unforgiving, which suggests that this new concentrated "Evangelion" might best be appreciated by those who remember the psychological nuances of the small-screen version.

Amid the eye-popping bursts of spirographic CGI imagery there are dramatically interesting kernels, though, like the character of gung-ho pilot Asuka, and dehumanizing issues surrounding high-tech warfare.

But for the most part, this is the kind of immersive fanboy experience that doesn't suffer wandering attention spans.

"Evangelion 2.0: You Can (Not) Advance." No MPAA rating. Running time: 1 hour, 49 minutes. Playing at the Downtown Independent, Los Angeles.

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