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Neon Genesis Evangelion: Death & Rebirth (1997)

Director: Hideaki Anno, Hideaki Anno
    see all cast/crew...
Studio: Manga Video
Genre: Anime, Foreign, Robots & Cyborgs, Anime Feature Films, Mecha
Running Time: 115 min.
Languages: English, Japanese
Subtitles: English
    see additional details...

Synopsis
Hideaki Anno directs this hallucinogenic animated feature, created mostly through a compilation of clips from the wildly popular series Neon Genesis Evangelion. Spliced together with minor amounts of new footage, the film is meant to be viewed after the ending of the TV series, but before watching Neon Genesis Evangelion: End of Evangelion, to offer a new perspective on the surreal conflux of symbols, metaphors, and subtext. Death & Rebirth recounts the TV series' story of monstrous, destructive angels and spiritually imbued robots, beginning in the year 2000, when an angel named Adam is discovered in the depths of the South Pole. After uncovering him causes a metaphysical breach resulting in an impact that melts the ice shelf -- flooding the world and darkening the skies with ash -- half the world's population is dead, and humanity is now locked in a pitched battle for its existence against these so-called messengers of God. Only 14-year-old children can synch themselves mentally and physically with the giant robots called Evas that humanity utilizes to fight the angels, and just what power lies within the Evas is unclear. In 2015, teenaged Shinji is instructed by his scientist father to pilot an Evangelion, alongside Asuka, a beautiful, but haughty red-headed German lass, and Rei, a quiet girl whose past appears to be connected to Shinji's in strange and unnatural ways. Each of these children has his or her own questions about identity and love, but as the story swells to its climax, the larger questions become ones about who or what God is, and what humanity is afraid of. ~ Jonathan Crow, All Movie Guide

GreenCine Member Reviews

Interesting, but mostly nothing new. by JTurner1 June 1, 2004 - 11:23 AM PDT
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4 out of 4 members found this review helpful
GAINAX's Neon Genesis Evangelion has captured a large size of the Anime market in terms of sales and fans, but the last two episodes of the 26-part apocalyptic tale caused controversy from both critics and audiences alike. Apparently director and creator Hideaki Anno (Gunbuster, Nadia: The Secret Of Blue Water, His & Her Circumstances) wasn't so thrilled either, so he decided to remake the ending as a movie -- two movies to be exact.

The first of these movies, entitled Death & Rebirth, is actually two movies in one. The first section of the "feature", Death (running for about three-quarters of the 110 minute film), is basically a recap of the first 24 episodes -- all out of order and interspersed with additional footage and/or scenes of the protagonists (including lonely Shinji Ikari, enigmatic Rei Ayanami, and bitchy Asuka Langley Sohryu) at violin lessons. I did find this somewhat interesting, poetic, and artistic to look at -- the tricks they performed with the credits in particular are really impressive -- but what "new" scenes included are scattered and few, and the material isn't really much more than stuff that we've already seen.

Following the "movie", ***SPOILER ALERT!*** which concludes with the death of the "final" angel, Kaworu, (yes, the infamous one-minute pause in-between his final sentence to Shinji and his death is included), ***END SPOILER*** is a brief intermission which eventually leads into the second "part" of the movie. Rebirth is the first 20 or so minutes of the "remakes" of the last two episodes. I could talk about them here, but these 20 minutes are actually identical to those of the second Evangelion movie, The End Of Evangelion, the supposedly "final" entry in this confusing, labyrinthian tale.

In other words, Death & Rebirth doesn't really feel like a great purchase if you've already seen the show. I should have listened to those who warned me in advance. Evangelion completists may find it to be rewarding, but I was a little disappointed with it, especially since I was expecting more.

On an even more ironic note, the DVD presentation feels uneven. The video quality is decent throughout, and the interactive menus are beautifully constructed. The MOKUJI interactive feature is also said to be helpful, but I haven't checked it out yet.

The audio seems to be one of the unfortunately weaker aspects of the DVD. The English dub can be heard in either 5.1 or 2.0 sound, but the Japanese track is in 2.0. And the dub feels unpolished. It benefits strongly from having most (if not all) of the actors from the original Evangelion dub return to once again lend their voices to this dysfunctional cast of characters, but at the beginning, they sound a little out of it, and the new actors, although decent for the most part, don't seem to suit the characters well. In addition, the pronunciations are slightly different from ADV's release of the series -- mainly that of "Eva". On top of that, the dub feels poorly mixed -- the music, dialogue, and sound effects are not as vibrant or equalized as on the Japanese language track.

There is an audio commentary track by Amanda Winn Lee (the dub director and voice of Rei Ayanami) for people who are interested, me included. I have yet to hear the entire track, but what I heard so far did sound interesting, especially since I'm a bit more of a dub enthusiast.

The only real drawback of the DVD, however, is the mere fact that it's DOUBLE-SIDED. I hate it when DVDs are presented like this; it makes it easier to lay fingermarks or scratches on it when you don't want to. Plus, you have to flip the disk (thankfully not to see the entire movie) to get to the other features that "SIDE A" doesn't have. MANGA ENTERTAINMENT has received a lot of flak about their DVD releases lately, and it's unfortunate that this DVD suffered as a part of that trend. I will not go so far to slam-dunk this release, but I think it could have been much better.

All in all, Death & Rebirth appears to be restricted for diehard Evangelion fans, enthusiasts, and completists only. For others, I wouldn't suggest this as a good introduction, as it will feel disjointed and confusing -- as if the show isn't already enough of that. I don't know what to think about my choice to purchase it, but I fall in the middle of regretting it and being glad that I did. I guess I'll never know what to think. Still, the cinematography is interesting and the music is beautiful.

Love the series, sad about this one by DPOWERS November 5, 2002 - 5:59 PM PST
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3 out of 6 members found this review helpful
EVA is so high among my favorite television series i almost can't bear to express disappointment in this first follow up installment.

but let's put it this way. if the transcendental, self-reflexive ending of EVA made you swallow your heart in pleasure, this blood-guts-and-noh continuation could just make you regurgitate it. it's still remarkable scene design and "shot" selection but baby, ambiguity, that's over.

the first part, evangelion: death, borrows from the passionate and difficult i want to return to that day, the closure movie for the television series kimagure orange road (whose eternal summer design and chopped up storytelling were used liberally by the original EVA series).

the KOR closure movie formalized the hard part to make it harder. but this EVA closure just seems to return the sum of the parts to nothing.

Getting ready for the End by hneline1 October 8, 2002 - 6:23 PM PDT
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7 out of 7 members found this review helpful
First, don't watch this until AFTER you've seen the Neon Genesis Evangelion TV series (DVD volumes 1 thru 8). If won't make sense otherwise. Second, if you've already seen the TV series, watch this! The first half, Death, is a recap of the key events in the original series, but it's spliced together into a fast-paced flashback that's pretty breathtaking. The second half, Rebirth, shows what happened after the 17th Angel is defeated and Seele sends in the troops -- it's bloody and intense because suddenly it's people attacking, not faceless aliens. Asuka is back and she kicks ass. As always, Gainax does a great job getting you into the story.. and then leaves you with a great cliffhanger for the final movie, Evangelion: The End of Evangelion.

Note that this DVD is a doublesided disk and the anime is on the side titled "Alpha". On the side titled "Omega", there is an "interactive" version of the title where you can stop the film at certain points to read liner notes. My DVD player didn't like that, because when I started watching it, at certain points the DVD would suddenly skip back to the first liner notes. Also, this version is in English only. If you want to read the liner notes (which are a good summary and have a few spoilers), go to the "Archives" section on the Omega side. In addition, there is a complete film commentary by the English voice actor who plays Rei and a few other people on the Omega side.




GreenCine Member Rating
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(Average 7.11)
171 Votes
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