NYT review of _2.0_

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition").
The third installment debuted in Japan on November 17, 2012.

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NYT review of _2.0_

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Postby gwern » Wed Jan 26, 2011 1:59 pm

The NYT had what I considered to be a pretty error-filled review of _2.0_.

But before I fire off a snarky letter to their corrections department, self-righteous in my Eva knowledge, I thought I'd run my claims and corrections past you all since I'm not actually 100% sure about some of my claims (especially the re-used vs new animation claim).

The article in question ( http://movies.nytimes.com/2011/01/21/movies/21roundup-20_RVW.html ) makes a number of dubious comments, I think.

> That 1995 anime revolutionized the giant-robot genre and spawned a billion-dollar franchise

It's well into the multi-billions now; it passed the billion mark way back in the '90s. (Matt Greenfield of ADV claimed in 2006 Eva had grossed at least $2 billion, and the 2 new movies have increased that by at least $100 million.)

> which may be why the films keep being released in the United States, even though the adult-oriented story never made much of an impression here.

I suppose it depends on what 'impression' is. If impression is defined as general popularity like _Titanic_ or gifted with a massive Disney-style release like _Princess Mononoke_ or _Spirited Away_, then that is true. But as anime go, it was extremely popular in the US, routinely appearing at the top of best-seller lists, and made ADV's financial fortune - fans sometimes quipped that ADV (the largest anime distributor in North America before its recent collapse) was 'the house that Eva built'.

Indeed, that _1.0_ and _2.0_ even appeared in theaters, despite the runs being doomed to financial loss and Oscar ineligibility, is a remarkable tribute to Evangelion's enduring popularity in America - Funimation wanted the licenses *so* badly that they were willing to meet Studio Khara's crazy demands for theatrical runs.

> it reuses some animation from the TV series but appears to be mostly new. (That’s not as cynical as it sounds: the earlier “Evangelion” films consisted entirely of re-edited TV footage.)

This is mistaken on many levels. Only one Evangelion movie, _Death & Rebirth_, reused animation. _End of Evangelion_, _1.0_, and _2.0_ were all brand-new animation. (Money and time were no longer an object.) The reviewer is perhaps misled because _1.0_ re-animated many scenes from the TV series, faithfully enough that one has to compare them side by side to see that they actually are new animation; perhaps he made a similar error when claiming _2.0_ re-used animation from the TV series.

> But to what point? If you don’t already know the story — about young robot pilots being used to battle mysterious “angels” that threaten to destroy Earth — the film, which recasts events from roughly the middle of the TV series, will make no sense.

Not a correction but a comment - well, yeah. What do you expect? Would _Empire Strikes Back_ make a whole lot of sense to someone who hadn't seen another _Star Wars_ movie or at least knew who the characters were?

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Postby Legendary » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:32 pm

I suppose it depends on what 'impression' is.

Pretty sure they meant the first kind of impressoin.

Funimation wanted the licenses *so* badly that they were willing to meet Studio Khara's crazy demands for theatrical runs.

Actually, they ran 2.0 (poorly) all by themselves. No demands from Khara at all.

Not a correction but a comment - well, yeah.

I believe he means "If you haven't seen the parts of the TV show that line up to this movie roughly, this movie makes no sense," which *is* a bad thing.

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:56 pm

I find nothing wrong with this article. It may be scathing, but it's not really bogus, things that I would disagree with are largely opinion or interpretation.

> That 1995 anime revolutionized the giant-robot genre and spawned a billion-dollar franchise

It's well into the multi-billions now; it passed the billion mark way back in the '90s. (Matt Greenfield of ADV claimed in 2006 Eva had grossed at least $2 billion, and the 2 new movies have increased that by at least $100 million.)

I doubt they mean to say that it just surpassed a billion dollars. I think they simply mean to say that it has surpassed a billion dollars.

> which may be why the films keep being released in the United States, even though the adult-oriented story never made much of an impression here.

I suppose it depends on what 'impression' is. If impression is defined as general popularity like _Titanic_ or gifted with a massive Disney-style release like _Princess Mononoke_ or _Spirited Away_, then that is true. But as anime go, it was extremely popular in the US, routinely appearing at the top of best-seller lists, and made ADV's financial fortune - fans sometimes quipped that ADV (the largest anime distributor in North America before its recent collapse) was 'the house that Eva built'.

Indeed, that _1.0_ and _2.0_ even appeared in theaters, despite the runs being doomed to financial loss and Oscar ineligibility, is a remarkable tribute to Evangelion's enduring popularity in America - Funimation wanted the licenses *so* badly that they were willing to meet Studio Khara's crazy demands for theatrical runs.

I'm fairly sure they meant on the general scale, in the way that Pokemon or Dragon Ball Z have. Ordinary people know what Pokemon is, but they have no bloody clue what Evangelion is.

Also, FUNimation claims that the theatrical runs are not a requirement of their licensing agreement. They claim that they and their licensing partner both want to see it happen, so that's why they're doing it.

> it reuses some animation from the TV series but appears to be mostly new. (That’s not as cynical as it sounds: the earlier “Evangelion” films consisted entirely of re-edited TV footage.)

This is mistaken on many levels. Only one Evangelion movie, _Death & Rebirth_, reused animation. _End of Evangelion_, _1.0_, and _2.0_ were all brand-new animation. (Money and time were no longer an object.) The reviewer is perhaps misled because _1.0_ re-animated many scenes from the TV series, faithfully enough that one has to compare them side by side to see that they actually are new animation; perhaps he made a similar error when claiming _2.0_ re-used animation from the TV series.

All four Evangelion films reused animation in some degree. Even The End of Evangelion used animation from the TV series. The issue is the term they used, "Re-edited". They probably meant "re-used".
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:59 pm

I'm not sure if this mas has even seen 1.11. By the look of the review, no. He hasn't seen 1.11.

"Re-use" animation can be a very loose terms at times. There was some in the Bardiel battle, but even then it was very sparse.

And, of course the movie's ending, which the whole movie spent time building up to, makes no sense. Since when as anyone stopped watching the original NGE after viewing episode 19 for the first time and said, "I got it! It makes perfect sense!"

Stopping after viewing 2.0 is, within terms of story structure, equivalent to just that. (Again Rebuild's current status as "unfinished" being it's biggest problem at the moment.) By stating: "The message of the current installment appears to be that puppy love can both save the world and end it", assumes the stories within the film have finished leading up to the morals, and seeing how 2.0 is only the middle movie, it clearly hasn't done that.

"But to what point? If you don’t already know the story — about young robot pilots being used to battle mysterious “angels” that threaten to destroy Earth — the film, which recasts events from roughly the middle of the TV series, will make no sense."

What does that even mean? You just explained the story right there, dude. What he basically wrote was "If you already know the story, which is plainly described both in the movie and in this part of the review, you won't get the story."

*reads Legendary's post*

Haha! How'd you get a job at the NYT? That's so awesome! Congratulations, dude!

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Postby NAveryW » Wed Jan 26, 2011 2:59 pm

The only problem I had with the review was the stuff about the reused footage. The "(That’s not as cynical as it sounds: the earlier “Evangelion” films consisted entirely of re-edited TV footage.)" thing is quite untrue.

The review doesn't even seem "scathing" to me, just mixed and ultimately rather pointless. It feels like it's mostly there just to have a review there.
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:04 pm

View Original PostNAveryW wrote:The review doesn't even seem "scathing" to me, just mixed and ultimately rather pointless. It feels like it's mostly there just to have a review there.

The review does seem very poorly written. Even in just basic sentence structuring. Something tells me the editor told him to miss a movie he really wanted to see and to review 2.0 instead, or interrupted his weekend for it. So the columnist just did a lazy job over it.

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Postby Warren Peace » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:24 pm

"... even though the adult-oriented story never made much of an impression here."

I'd argue against that statement. Eva was never some major crossover hit, no, but it was one of the earlier tentpoles that helped create the American anime market. To this day, it remains somewhat of a "gateway" anime for new fans.
Last edited by Warren Peace on Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:25 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:24 pm

View Original PostNAveryW wrote:The review doesn't even seem "scathing" to me, just mixed and ultimately rather pointless. It feels like it's mostly there just to have a review there.

When I see someone trivialize something, that's analogous to being scathing.
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Postby Legendary » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:25 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:What does that even mean? You just explained the story right there, dude. What he basically wrote was "If you already know the story, which is plainly described both in the movie and in this part of the review, you won't get the story."

No it doesn't. "If you don't already know the story, the film will make no sense," means "Know the TV show or you won't get it."

Haha! How'd you get a job at the NYT? That's so awesome! Congratulations, dude!

I'm a much better reviewer than the man who wrote this. I would have focused on much more tangible issues and focused less on Evangelion's popularity; it doesn't really matter.

Way to troll though.

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Postby Xard » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:33 pm

View Original PostThe Eva Monkey wrote:All four Evangelion films reused animation in some degree. Even The End of Evangelion used animation from the TV series. The issue is the term they used, "Re-edited". They probably meant "re-used".


No they didn't. Not a single key frame was reused from NGE in Rebuild. If you go over NGE key animation and compare it with key animation in same scenes in Rebuild they are different.

I don't know about EoE, although I can't remember for now. There might be some reused animation somewhere but for life of me I can't remember a single instance. Oh, unless you refer to "flashback" bits from pre-Instrumentality but that shouldn't count as reusing anymore than using footage from earlier scene in flashback later on counts.

But claim that Rebuild reused animation is fucking wrong. Flatout wrong
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Postby The Eva Monkey » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:52 pm

View Original PostXard wrote: But claim that Rebuild reused animation is fucking wrong. Flatout wrong

http://wiki.evageeks.org/File:Nge-vs-rebuild1_toji-shinji.gif

LOLWHUT?
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Postby Warren Peace » Wed Jan 26, 2011 3:55 pm

I think of "reused" as meaning "the exact same footage inserted into 2.22", not virtually identical "new" animation.

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:06 pm

View Original PostWarren Peace wrote:I think of "reused" as meaning "the exact same footage inserted into 2.22", not virtually identical "new" animation.

Reused footage would be to take footage that already exists, and insert or re-edit it.

But animation is merely a series of images that implies motion. They took the animation that already existed, and re-did it digitally in order to create new, high definition footage.

Death & Rebirth uses re-edited footage.
The End of Evangelion reuses footage.
1.0 and 2.0 reused animation. They did not reuse or re-edit footage.
Last edited by The Eva Monkey on Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:07 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Postby gwern » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:07 pm

View Original PostWarren Peace wrote:I think of "reused" as meaning "the exact same footage inserted into 2.22", not virtually identical "new" animation.


Yes. That gif clearly is not the physically same animation, pulled out of a locker and dusted off. (The clothes aren't the same, even if you dismiss the building background as edited in.)

It's a faithful re-animation. Not cheap cost-saving re-use. I made this distinction in my draft...

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Postby The Eva Monkey » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:11 pm

View Original Postgwern wrote:Yes. That gif clearly is not the physically same animation, pulled out of a locker and dusted off. (The clothes aren't the same, even if you dismiss the building background as edited in.)

It's a faithful re-animation. Not cheap cost-saving re-use. I made this distinction in my draft...

You're confusing animation and footage. They took the animation that existed, and used it as source material for finished footage, in the same process as was done originally. This is why cel painters are not animators. The animation is already done, they're just inking and coloring it. Most of 1.0 was created from the same groundwork animation from the series. Aside from some new elements and new scenes, it isn't new animation.
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Postby Xard » Wed Jan 26, 2011 4:34 pm

View Original PostThe Eva Monkey wrote:You're confusing animation and footage. They took the animation that existed, and used it as source material for finished footage, in the same process as was done originally. This is why cel painters are not animators. The animation is already done, they're just inking and coloring it. Most of 1.0 was created from the same groundwork animation from the series. Aside from some new elements and new scenes, it isn't new animation.


No.

This is completely wrong. IIRC AniPages Daily even broke down the animation years ago when the film came out and well illustrated this point.

ALL KEY ANIMATION WAS REDRAWN. When I said they didn't use same animaiton that is exactly what I ment. I'm not talking about colouring or whatever. They redid everything from the scratch. This way Anno & co. could change some keys they weren't entirely happy with in the original etc.

I'm also pretty sure the format alone is very different between NGE cels and Rebuild ones. To animate things in HDTV quality they must use cels of different size in comparison to ones used in past. NGE's animation cels are different from ones KyoAni used in Kanon for example and NGE for this reason can't even in theory reach same image quality.

I'm pretty sure that modern, digitalized HD animation for cinema is world apart from the cels used in original show.

Really EM, where are you getting these ideas? The major point of Rebuild 1.0 was that it was redrawn from the scratch instead of lazily copypasting cels from original.

You should see this from the gif you used. Proportions of characters vs. rest of the screen is different. These perspective & "lenses" things are done already in the animation stage.
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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:25 pm

View Original PostLegendary wrote:I'm a much better reviewer than the man who wrote this. I would have focused on much more tangible issues and focused less on Evangelion's popularity; it doesn't really matter.

Way to troll though.

I was merely kidding around. I apologize if I came off too harsh, dude.

View Original PostLegendary wrote:No it doesn't. "If you don't already know the story, the film will make no sense," means "Know the TV show or you won't get it."

Well, if that's what he meant, then that's what he should have written. But that's not what he wrote. He simply stated that one story point about teenagers fighting "angels" and said "if you don't understand this part, then you don't understand the movie". I mean, he's an online Times writer. I'm pretty sure he writes what he means. (Tries to, anyway.)

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Postby Xard » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:37 pm

In any case I'm sure we as a bunch of reasonable, rational eva fans can agree that the review is shit and we should start building the mail bomb we're going to send :)
ran1: Oh gosh this sentence gave me an internet boner. You're so tsundere.
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And don't forget to wear the Ran mask.
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Gob Hobblin: Sanctimonious, subtly racist, vaguely misogynist, somehow says something while at the same time saying...nothing, really, at all....

Nice, Xard. That's nice.

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Postby Warren Peace » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:46 pm

I don't see the point of even writing a review that short. The film credits underneath the thing are about half as long as the actual piece! Whatever 2.0 is worth, surely it deserves more.

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Postby esselfortium » Wed Jan 26, 2011 5:59 pm

View Original PostFreakyFilmFan4ever wrote:I'm not sure if this mas has even seen 1.11. By the look of the review, no. He hasn't seen 1.11.

Actually, he has. It's the same reviewer who panned 1.x, and said the series was a far better investment.

"Re-use" animation can be a very loose terms at times. There was some in the Bardiel battle, but even then it was very sparse.

It was evidently enough for a fan and critic to find it noticeable. It's been stated by quite a few people that the film's relentless pacing and tendency to leave major plot points and characterization elements to offscreen interpretation gives it the feeling of a clipshow, even moreso than 1.x had, despite it being composed largely of new content. Thus, to someone who's not going through with a fine-toothed comb to compare against the equivalent episodes, it can easily feel like you're watching a collection of things that were made previously and pieced back together for this. Case in point: this reviewer.

And, of course the movie's ending, which the whole movie spent time building up to, makes no sense. Since when as anyone stopped watching the original NGE after viewing episode 19 for the first time and said, "I got it! It makes perfect sense!"

Stopping after viewing 2.0 is, within terms of story structure, equivalent to just that. (Again Rebuild's current status as "unfinished" being it's biggest problem at the moment.) By stating: "The message of the current installment appears to be that puppy love can both save the world and end it", assumes the stories within the film have finished leading up to the morals, and seeing how 2.0 is only the middle movie, it clearly hasn't done that.

A film, in a trilogy or otherwise, inherently should stand on its own. Of course the overarching story isn't completed, but there's a story arc of each film with a beginning, middle, and an end.

"But to what point? If you don’t already know the story — about young robot pilots being used to battle mysterious “angels” that threaten to destroy Earth — the film, which recasts events from roughly the middle of the TV series, will make no sense."

What does that even mean? You just explained the story right there, dude. What he basically wrote was "If you already know the story, which is plainly described both in the movie and in this part of the review, you won't get the story."

It means "the film will make no sense," exactly as it states. What's the question? :-\

*reads Legendary's post*

Haha! How'd you get a job at the NYT? That's so awesome! Congratulations, dude!

Don't hold back, tell us how you really feel!

And I completely agree, Xard. He wasn't nearly critical enough, and missed many of the most glaring issues entirely! :P


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