Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

Discussion of the new series of Evangelion movies ( "Evangelion Shin Gekijōban", meaning "Evangelion: New Theatrical Edition"). The final instalment made its debut in Japan on March 8, 2021.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Archer » Wed Apr 07, 2021 7:28 pm

Edit: recovered my original post, hid the “new” one in a spoiler

View Original PostElMariachi wrote:snip

My complaint is that when we’re not given the context for WHY characters act in apparently stupid and irrational ways that make complete sense from their perspective, it just looks like they’re acting stupid.

- for Wille, I still fail to see how treating Shinji the way they did was in their best interests. Them treating him like shit is pretty much directly responsible for him just.. willingly going along with NERV’s plans. Even him resisting and being forcibly kidnapped by Rei would’ve changed things significantly, since Gendo would need to do a ton of sweet-talking and propagandizing to get Shinji to work with him. In the context of 3.0 itself, we’re not given WILLE’s perspective on this, so it just appears to us as if they’re acting irrationally and against their own best interests by treating him like shit at the beginning.
- for Kaworu, we have literally no idea what the fuck is up with him. He goes from hyping Shinji up about the plan to turning around on it at the last minute. Of course we know he probably has some sort of hidden agenda, but in the context of 3.0 itself this isn’t made clear, so his sudden, apparently unexplained turnaround just looks like stupid, irrational behavior.

These are the two big points I want to address, because most of the plot hinges on the fallout from these decisions. Shinji gets a pass, he’s been lied to by everyone throughout the whole movie I don’t fucking blame him for just doing whatever he wants at that point. I can totally understand why he’s acting stupid.

When your entire plot hinges on people making bad decisions, you REALLY need to make it clear to the audience the motivations behind them, that they’re making bad decisions but for good reasons. “People making bad decisions that the audience can understand and empathize with” can result in a great tragedy of failure through miscommunication, where we see the ultimate result as an inevitable occurrence. We don’t need to look far for an example - NGE does this really well once things start falling apart. On the other hand, “people making bad decisions for reasons that might make sense to them but are not immediately clear to the audience and require in-depth analysis to catch and will only be properly explained in the next movie” can be EASILY mistaken for “people randomly making bad decisions to generate conflict so that we can move the plot along”, and there’s literally no reason you should ever want your story easily confused for bad writing.

SPOILER: Show
View Original PostElMariachi wrote:snip

Lol, had a whole long post typed out but it got lost and I don’t have it in me to rewrite it so I’ll just summarize my points.

Having characters arbitrarily act in stupid and irrational ways as a means for generating conflict is a hallmark of bad writing. I’m not saying this is what happens in 3.0, which is having characters act in seemingly stupid and irrational ways for reasons that actually do make sense to them but are not clarified to the audience, which is really easy to mistake for bad writing. I think it’s pretty obvious to say that you do not want your audience mistaking your story for bad writing.

If your goal is to show a massive failure as a result of miscommunications on all fronts, you have to make it clear WHY the miscommunication is happening. NGE does it really well. When things start falling apart because of everyone’s bad decisions, we see it as an inevitable tragedy because we understand why everyone made the decisions that they did. In 3.0, the only character whose irrational behavior is properly justified is Shinji. He’s spent the whole movie being lied to by everyone, I don’t fucking blame him for just doing whatever he wanted at the moment.

When the audience isn’t given enough context to understand WHY characters are acting the way they do, it just looks like people are being stupid for no good reason. That’s why 3.0 doesn’t work for me in the same way the latter part of NGE does: instead of the conflict coming off as the inevitable end result (due to us understanding everyone’s thought process and motivations for acting the way they do), it instead comes off as completely avoidable if only everyone wasn’t acting like an idiot, because we’re never given clear context for WHY everyone’s actions were justified from their point of view.

Yes you can make inferences. Yes you can read deeper into the movie and come up with assumptions for why everyone is actually completely justified. But you shouldn’t HAVE to. Besides, as a writer, how does it benefit YOU to have the audience’s initial impression to be “....couldn’t this whole story have been avoided if everyone wasn’t acting like an idiot?”

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Zusuchan » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:05 am

Archer wrote:

My complaint is that when we’re not given the context for WHY characters act in apparently stupid and irrational ways that make complete sense from their perspective, it just looks like they’re acting stupid.

Unless you actually bother to try and understand why they act in apparently stupid and irrational ways, which would be a logical course to do after watching a rather intentionally confusing and limited-POV film, no?

for Wille, I still fail to see how treating Shinji the way they did was in their best interests.[...]
In the context of 3.0 itself, we’re not given WILLE’s perspective on this, so it just appears to us as if they’re acting irrationally and against their own best interests by treating him like shit at the beginning.

But we're not supposed to look at Q as an independent work, because it's not. There's already Jo and Ha, in which we get plenty of insights into many of the main characters, which should make it understandable that there's more going on underneath, especially with Q ending with Shinji causing Fourth Impact. Idk, but to me Q just begs to be rewatched and thoroughly interpreted, especially in terms of how it presents stuff that doesn't make sense at first glance, like indeed the way pretty much everyone has acted. And even though Q doesn't explicitly offer any reasons whatsoever as to why Misato and Co. acted the way they did, the previous two films and simple reasoning should make it clear that there's probably more going on underneath anyway-and when Q itself shows Misato struggling with killing Shinji, then I feel the film already hints at not everything fitting into the idea that Wille was just evil and hated Shinji or that they were just consistently stupid.

Wille fucked up yes, but it's an understandable fuck-up in accordance with the characters as we know them. Misato has to put on a tough leader stance and has complicated feeling for Shinji, given as to how she was her foster son and how he also indirectly ended up causing Third Impact. Asuka has complicated feelings because she has lived in a pretty shitty state for the last 14 years and has been brought up to meet a Shinji who still has not changed, which irritates her. And well, it's not like Asuka was ever the most stable and rational character in either NGE or NTE. The rest of the crew? Some think he's evil because he fucked over their childhoods and the rest just don't know what to think of the person who inadvertently caused a catastrophe now strolling around again, acting as if nothing has changed.

When it comes to Kaworu, the thing is slightly trickier since we don't really get as much of his character from Jo and Ha. But once again, even though Q does not make it explicit that Kaworu has some hidden agenda, stuff like Kaworu consistently answering rather vaguely to several of Shinji's questions ("We can even fix the world with the Spears" not "we will fix" etc. or "people think you caused Third Impact", not "you caused it") and the fact he does not even once mention Seele and doesn't explain why he even is in Nerv and his sometimes creepy behavior toward Shinji (from the really serious "This time I will show you true happiness" at the end of Ha to, like, his entire mode of behavior in Q validating Shinji constantly, even when that validation consists of saying stuff akin to "I dig empty voids as long as you're there") should make it clear not everything is as it seems. Pretty much the entirety of Q has an aesthetic that makes it seem as if something is either missing or strangely tilted, so reasonings of "there's something more going on here" especially when coupled with stuff that Q hints at, should make it clear not all is as it appears.

When your entire plot hinges on people making bad decisions, you REALLY need to make it clear to the audience the motivations behind them, that they’re making bad decisions but for good reasons.

Yeah, I just really have to disagree with this. One of the main points about Q is that is almost entirely presented from Shinji's very limited POV, so any attempts to make it easier to understand what's really happening would in my view lessen the film's artistic worth by breaking the film's internal fourth wall-because the film isn't just about failures of communication, it's about putting the audience into Shinji's shoes as much as deemed necessary for a lot of thematic reasons.

there’s literally no reason you should ever want your story easily confused for bad writing.

There's also literally no reason why any serious artist should ever want to make their works less interesting, new, complex and artistic just so that the parts of the audience unwilling to seriously engage with the artwork and its themes anyway (which IMO "not bothering to make inferences and read deeper into the artwork" falls under) could understand things more easily.

If your goal is to show a massive failure as a result of miscommunications on all fronts, you have to make it clear WHY the miscommunication is happening.

I'm not sure that's the goal as much as "putting the audience into the shoes of a subconsciously selfish child with a limited viewpoint who can't possibly understand the full picture and is thrown into a strange new world".

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Archer » Thu Apr 08, 2021 6:34 am

We clearly fundamentally disagree on this, so I’ll just say that having your audience’s first impression be “wait, this writing sucks” isn’t a great way to invite deeper investigation to find out that what you thought was shitty writing actually makes sense if you make a bunch of assumptions. A good “confused audience” is one that thinks, “wow, that movie made no sense at all, there was so much going on that I need to rewatch it 5 more times to catch all the details”. A bad “confused audience” is one that things “wow, that movie made no sense at all, nothing fucking happened and the whole plot hinges on everyone acting like a dumbass, I’m not rewatching this shit”. If it made a good impression on you, then great, I can’t take that away from you. But after I saw Q, it didn’t make me want to rewatch it, it turned me off the Rebuilds entirely because by that point I was pretty sure there was no way it could possibly end in a satisfying way. It literally wasn’t until the 2.5 hour runtime leak a month before Shin released that I changed my opinion, because only then could I even entertain the possibility that Shin might actually be good. And I’m not sorry for that either - I’ve been burned enough times by shitty endings, NOBODY gets the benefit of the doubt. I’d much rather be mistaken and surprised with a good ending than optimistic and sorely disappointed with a shit one (pouring one out for all the Attack on Titan fans out there... rip.)

If the point of the movie is to show everything from Shinji’s limited and incorrect perspective, then you need to reveal at the end that the movie is from his limited and incorrect perspective, to show the audience that he (and by proxy the audience) was wrong. If you don’t make the misdirection obvious, the audience will just keep on assuming that their mistaken viewpoint is still right.

If the point of the movie was to show a clusterfuck caused by miscommunications, then you need to reveal why everyone’s actions made sense to themselves.

Both of these represent SOME sort of change in perspective for the audience, where we spend the entire movie believing one thing only to find out that what we believed was incorrect due to information being purposely hidden from us. Without that last turnaround, the movie ends up without a narrative payoff, which is why it feels like nothing happens.

I guess I just fail to see how not giving a movie a narrative payoff is more “artistically interesting” - or rather, why being “artistically interesting” is better when it comes at the cost of a clear narrative arc. Because frankly, I don’t buy the notion that just being different automatically makes something better. Narrative conventions exist for a reason, if you break them, whatever you put in it’s place better be worth it. For 3.0, whatever they were trying to do just didn’t work for me at all.

Unless 3.0+1.0 gives a watertight justification for WHY it was necessary for 3.0 to not have a narrative arc, and shows that giving 3.0 a narrative arc would’ve made the Rebuilds as a whole worse, I don’t think I’ll be changing my mind on this. If such a justification IS given, feel free to confirm it here (or PM me if you judge it to be too spoilerful for this forum).

————

In short, while I can buy an argument that not giving 3.0 a proper narrative arc by not revealing the misdirection in the movie itself is a bold artistic choice, I fail to see how that makes 3.0 a better movie because I fundamentally disagree with the notion that being “artistically interesting” automatically makes something “better” than a more conventional alternative.
Last edited by Archer on Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:47 am, edited 4 times in total.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:44 am

^ It's good in these situations to remember that

A. Eva Q and Shin Eva were originally designed to be double features, and

B. NTE as a whole will have a longer legacy as a complete and finished series than it did as a series of movies slowly coming to theaters. Keep in mind that The Empire Strikes Back was considered to be the worst Star Wars movie due to its opened ending for 3 whole years until Return of the Jedi finally premiered. Now after 40+ years of hindsight, people generally think that The Empire Strikes Back was the best of the Star Wars original trilogy.

The target demographic for these movies are tweens and teens, and some of them going into Shin Evangelion were only born around the time Eva 1.0 came to theaters. Already, this idea of Eva Q being flawed simply because it's the 3rd out of 4 whole movies is starting to crumble within its own core audience, because they were introduced to NTE as an already completed series of films.

So, yeah, you make a good point. But even 5 years from now, nobody new to the series is going to care. (Which kinda sucks, because damn that wait between Eva films was kinda long and weird, what with Eva Q being the way it is.)

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Archer » Thu Apr 08, 2021 8:30 am

I mean.. I KNOW that, that’s why I bring up my last point: does giving 3.0 a proper narrative arc make the Rebuilds as a whole worse? If there’s something in 3.0+1.0 that makes this answer a resounding “YES”, then I take back everything I’ve said because my entire argument hinges on the idea that unambiguously confirming in 3.0 that (1) Shinji is responsible for 3i and (2) Kaworu is explicitly duplicitous (without actually explaining the why’s and the how’s, which is presumably done in 3.0+1.0) has no negative impact on the overall story.

If these things CAN be addressed in 3.0 to no negative effect to the overarching story, though, I think it SHOULD have been, because it would have made 3.0 a lot easier to swallow in the present without ruining anything that came after.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Zusuchan » Thu Apr 08, 2021 9:07 am

Archer wrote:We clearly fundamentally disagree on this, so I’ll just say that having your audience’s first impression be “wait, this writing sucks” isn’t a great way to invite deeper investigation to find out that what you thought was shitty writing actually makes sense if you make a bunch of assumptions.

Well, I don't think I'm the only one to have thought "Hmm, there' s something more here than appears at first glance" after watching Q-there were probably many others too and the support for NTE and Q shown by some people proves that. Of course, if you feel differently, then, well, that's your experience and there's nothing to be done about that, but personally I don't consider Q flawed for the reasons you do simply because for me it was quite apparent that there's some weird, unexplained shit going on and that it would be better to rewatch the film. And I guess IMO making a film that doesn't explicitly show Shinji was in the wrong, but rather lets that to be inferred is more in accordance with showing Shinji's self-absorption, egoism and selfishness as bad things than making some sort of an implicit point at the end of the movie that what he did really was wrong-and with Q specifically, that would either require a longer runtime or for the film to be different from the "limited POV' angle in order to work well.

I guess I just fail to see how not giving a movie a narrative payoff is more “artistically interesting” - or rather, why being “artistically interesting” is better when it comes at the cost of a clear narrative arc.

Is "clear narrative" really necessary for good art, though? The amount of good art that goes against some of the conventions of its time to me shows that it's not-artworks that disregarded the "normal" way of doing things are probably more remembered and well-known today than those that were truly "normal". Of course "normal" art can be magnificent as well, but I feel that anything approaching traditional conventions is something art has no obligation to keep in mind, because its greatness lies in themes, aesthetics and meaning more than it does in following the rules.

All in all, it seems you and I just have very different views on what art is and what it must do to be good, so I guess that explains our different thoughts on the matter.

(As for Shin validating Q, I think it does, but since I have not seen the film, I can't say anything with maximum certainty. If you wish, you can ask something from people like Nuclear Lunchbox or Pluto who have seen the film.)

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Archer » Thu Apr 08, 2021 10:23 am

All I’m saying is if the initial impression your “art” gives off is that it’s poorly written, with the “twist” that’s only revealed upon deeper analysis being that it is in fact NOT poorly written, you don’t get to complain that most people aren’t giving your story a chance. Sure you and some others on this forum might’ve been hooked and wanted to dig deeper, but it’s impossible to deny that 3.0 is a very divisive movie, and pretty much everywhere else I’ve gone the reception has skewed negative. If the goal was to get the general audience interested into digging deeper, I think it failed.

Also, the negative opinions aren’t helped by the common defenses of “you just didn’t get it, you just need to read deeper to see that it’s actually a very bold artistic choice!” I’m sure it’s not your (or anyone else’s) intention but without an actual discussion like we’re having here it comes off as snooty and pretentious, being dismissive of legitimate criticisms by just saying “you just don’t GET art” without actually explaining how it being more “artistic” should make me like it more, or how it makes it a better movie.

Like, after each having a few paragraphs to express each of our perspectives, it’s obviously just an irreconcilable difference in opinion. You think it being “artistically interesting” is enough justification in and of itself, whereas I fundamentally disagree. You think the movie putting us in Shinji’s shoes without ever deviating from his perspective has value in its own right, whereas I can’t see the value of it if it hurts the narrative of the movie. But that’s very different from “lol this movie fucking sucks” being responded to with “lol you just didn’t get it”, which is what it seems like most 3.0 “debate” ends up devolving into.

——

At the end of the day, based on the general bits and pieces I’ve heard from 3.0+1.0, I can say that I get what they were going for and still disagree with it. Maybe my opinion will change once I see 3.0+1.0, only time will tell.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby baldur » Thu Apr 08, 2021 5:56 pm

View Original PostArcher wrote:All I’m saying is if the initial impression your “art” gives off is that it’s poorly written, with the “twist” that’s only revealed upon deeper analysis being that it is in fact NOT poorly written, you don’t get to complain that most people aren’t giving your story a chance. Sure you and some others on this forum might’ve been hooked and wanted to dig deeper,

There are a number of things wrong with your argument here, but the biggest problem is how you don't seem to comprehend that your experiences are not universal. You might not have liked the film on first watch, but that does not mean that not liking the film on first watch is an intended or inherent part of the experience. There is no "twist" in 3.0 that can only be noticed upon revisiting it - if any film in the series is like that, it's 2.0. With 3.0, what you see is what you get. I can only speak for myself, but I never had to "dig deeper" with 3.0. I loved it on first watch and I only love it more with each subsequent one. Now, is 3.0 disorientating? Of course it is. But that's hardly new to the series - we're all familiar with The End of Evangelion.

View Original PostArcher wrote:you don’t get to complain that most people aren’t giving your story a chance
[...]
it’s impossible to deny that 3.0 is a very divisive movie, and pretty much everywhere else I’ve gone the reception has skewed negative. If the goal was to get the general audience interested into digging deeper, I think it failed.

Film criticism is not a popularity contest, nor does evaluation of art become objective if enough people agree. I think pretty much everyone who really likes 3.0 understands, on some level, why it was divisive. Who's complaining that "most people aren't giving the story a chance"? What does that have to do with the quality of the film or its writing?

View Original PostArcher wrote: Also, the negative opinions aren’t helped by the common defenses of “you just didn’t get it, you just need to read deeper to see that it’s actually a very bold artistic choice!” I’m sure it’s not your (or anyone else’s) intention but without an actual discussion like we’re having here it comes off as snooty and pretentious, being dismissive of legitimate criticisms by just saying “you just don’t GET art” without actually explaining how it being more “artistic” should make me like it more, or how it makes it a better movie.

This is just a strawman. Typically (from my experience anyway) people defending 3.0 will argue their position with much more detail than people who despise it, especially since they generally tend to be swimming against the current. Ironically, you use a strawman depicting 3.0 fans dismissing legitimate criticism for the purpose of dismissing legitimate rebuttals to said criticism.

View Original PostArcher wrote: You think the movie putting us in Shinji’s shoes without ever deviating from his perspective has value in its own right, whereas I can’t see the value of it if it hurts the narrative of the movie.

Again - clearly there is disagreement here over whether it actually hurts the narrative. Clearly many of us think it does, in fact, enhance the narrative. You pay lip service to the idea of respecting that other people have differing views, but still act as if your experiences objectively correspond to reality. You frame the debate as "Group A thinks its good to tell a story from Shinji's POV, even if it hurts the narrative, while Group B doesn't want to do it if it hurts the narrative" when it's actually "Group A thinks telling the story from Shinji's POV is valuable to the narrative while Group B thinks it isn't". I'm not saying this is intentional on your part, but your lack of consideration for even the possibility that you're wrong about this comes through in the way you frame things.

View Original PostArcher wrote: But that’s very different from “lol this movie fucking sucks” being responded to with “lol you just didn’t get it”, which is what it seems like most 3.0 “debate” ends up devolving into.

That's not exclusive to 3.0. This is what literally what every single debate about a piece of art's quality looks like.
Last edited by baldur on Sat Apr 10, 2021 11:10 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Archer » Thu Apr 08, 2021 7:21 pm

baldur wrote:This is just a strawman. Typically (from my experience anyway) people defending 3.0 will argue their position with much more detail than people who despise it, especially since they generally tend to be swimming against the current. Ironically, you use a strawman depicting 3.0 fans dismissing legitimate criticism for the purpose of dismissing legitimate rebuttals to said criticism.

I literally say that I understand that's not where they're coming from, but that that's what a lot of the rebuttals start sounding like after a while. And those first three statements - "You just don't get it", "You just need to read deeper into the movie", and "It's actually a bold artistic choice" are absolutely not strawman statements, they might as well be paraphrased from actual discussions I've read. I'm not using it to explain how I feel either, I'm using it as an example for why a lot of people don't take defenses of 3.0 seriously, because it all starts sounding the same after a while.

baldur wrote: Who's complaining that "most people aren't giving the story a chance"?

I will admit this is me coming from the Western perspective of Hollywood putting out bad movies with zero appeal to audiences and then whining on Twitter when their shitty movie bombs. I have been horribly embittered by the American movie industry throughout this past decade, and sometimes that's hard to separate from discussions where it's not relevant. I concede that this isn't really applicable to 3.0, and that Hollywood isn't really a good analog for Japanese anime movies. However, I can rephrase this into a general point that if you're making an artsy experimental movie that you KNOW will have limited appeal, you can't act surprised to see a ton of backlash when it is screened to general audiences.

baldur wrote:Film criticism is not a popularity contest, nor does evaluation of art become objective if enough people agree.

Look back to my statement. The problem I posed is an objective one specifically dependant on how the audience feels. If you goal is to make the audience feel confused, and make them want to rewatch the film for more clues; but what actually happens is the audience feels alienated and writes off your movie because of it, then you've failed in attaining that objective metric. We could debate if this WAS their goal when making 3.0, but my original statement holds: IF "their goal was to make a movie that would captivate general audiences and make them want to rewatch for details" THEN "3.0 failed in this task, as evidenced by its general reception".

baldur wrote:Again - clearly there is disagreement here over whether it actually hurts the narrative. Clearly many of us think it does, in fact, enhance the narrative. You pay lip service to the idea of respecting that other people have differing views, but still act as if your experiences objectively correspond to reality.

baldur wrote:but the biggest problem is how you don't seem to comprehend that your experiences are not universal.


If I'm coming off as if I'm claiming that my experience is the objective reality, that's not the intention. When I talk about my opinions, I speak only for myself. I don't think I've ever implied here that anyone should change their view on the movie based on what I'm saying. When I say that I think it hurts the narrative, what I actually mean is, "I think it hurts the narrative, based on my own subjective expectations of what a narrative should be". Personally, I do not consider the act of "putting us in Shinji's shoes" to even BE a narrative in and of itself.

We can agree on the facts:
(1) "We are in Shinji's perspective for the whole movie"
(2) "This means that other character's motivations and actions are not as clearly justified and must be inferred")

I explain my requirements for what I consider to be a "good narrative":
- The main "theme" of a movie should be paid off in the movie itself
- The payoff should be clearly presented, and should not have to be inferred by the audience

I explain my reasoning for why I think 3.0 doesn't do this:
- If the main theme is "we are in Shinji's perspective for the whole movie", there is no payoff where we're clearly shown that his perspective is incorrect
- If the main theme is "everyone fucks up due to miscommunications", there is no payoff where we're clearly shown that everyone's mistakes are actually completely logical from their point of view

Therefore, because my opinion for why I disliked 3.0 is founded in agreed-upon facts and follows a logical progression of thought, it is exactly as valid as someone who might think: Given (1) > This makes the movie more artistically interesting > I think this makes 3.0 a better movie.

--------

At the end of the day, I don't care about debating the "quality" of 3.0, or of any piece of media. I don't think it's possible to objectively define "quality", thus I don't see the point in discussing it at all. I am only arguing that my reasons for disliking 3.0 are 100% justified, and that "it's more artistic" is not a valid defense of 3.0's objective quality (which isn't a thing that can even be defined), but only of your own subjective enjoyment of it. You liked it because "it's more artistic", I disliked it for that same reason. I'll grant you that I might have slipped up here and there said I thought that made it a bad movie, so I'll clarify that all I'm defending here is my right to dislike the movie and disagree with its artistic choices without being told that I just don't get it. Maybe it's not the fault of anyone here in particular, but among defenders of 3.0, I all too often get the vibe that they think "3.0 is good, actually" is the only correct opinion and that everyone else just needs to be enlightened, as if "3.0 is artistically interesting, therefore 3.0 is good" were an objective fact that should change my mind and not just their personal opinion.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby pwhodges » Fri Apr 09, 2021 3:23 am

View Original PostArcher wrote:I'm using it as an example for why a lot of people don't take defenses of 3.0 seriously, because it all starts sounding the same after a while.
Defences against the same repeated criticisms do tend to sound repetitive, true!

IF "their goal was to make a movie that would captivate general audiences and make them want to rewatch for details" THEN "3.0 failed in this task, as evidenced by its general reception".
It was clear from the very first week of release that strikingly many people were going back to rewatch the film. I have no idea whether that was the aim - I think simply that Anno made the film that he wanted to, and the reception, as evidenced by the theatre take, was in no sense a failure.

We can agree on the facts:
<snip>
Actually, I don't agree on much of this. For a start, inference is not something optional stuck on top of more normal thought processes - it's how we attempt to convert our sense impressions into a coherent view of the world.

I don't think it's possible to objectively define "quality", thus I don't see the point in discussing it at all.
You're right on the first part, but the second doesn't follow.

In any case, disagreements about art are an inherent part of the process of understanding it. Did you know that when Mozart sent a copy of one of his symphonies to his father, he got a reply along the lines of "you must have made a mistake when you copied that"; and the first performance of one of Beethoven's late string quartets was described by a critic as "meaningless noise"?
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Before 3.0+1.0 there was Afterwards... my post-Q Evangelion fanfic (discussion)

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Zusuchan » Fri Apr 09, 2021 1:01 pm

Archer wrote:
Therefore, because my opinion for why I disliked 3.0 is founded in agreed-upon facts and follows a logical progression of thought, it is exactly as valid as someone who might think: Given (1) > This makes the movie more artistically interesting > I think this makes 3.0 a better movie.

Personally my thought process goes more like:
1) This is an interesting film, but quite confusing and some things don't make a lot of sense, I feel there might be something else here
2) I rewatch the film and find several new things that lead me to come upon my understanding of what Q's and NTE's themes are.
3) Since I consider Shin something that will "fix" some of Q's lesser flaws and since I find Q's themes understandable and even paid off within itself (in terms of Shinji causing an entire Impact due to his incapability to understand reality, refusal to admit the past can't be undone and Kaworu's validating Shinji to the point he'll do whatever he himself wants) and don't consider the non-explicit discussion of the themes problematic due to considering it an intentional decision that works and due to my love for implicit, complicated stuff in general, not to mention Eva was already implicit in a lot of ways even with the original.
4)Therefore I consider Q a great film and am not troubled by the common criticisms (I have a few criticisms myself, of course, but they're not the common ones).

Edit: Also, for that matter, I don't think "majority opinions" mean much, unless we want to argue Avengers is a better film than NGE due to being more generally beloved. I think I get what you tried to say(if Q ended up not making a lot of people want to rewatch it and dig deeper, that can be argued as being the film not managing to succeed in its own intentions), but the majority of people will always be more interested in what is generic than what is interesting, so I'm not sure if that's that much of a good comparison.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby baldur » Sat Apr 10, 2021 12:26 pm

View Original PostArcher wrote:We can agree on the facts:
(1) "We are in Shinji's perspective for the whole movie"
(2) "This means that other character's motivations and actions are not as clearly justified and must be inferred")

I can agree with that, sure. Though, I think that the motivations for the actions of characters can be clearly inferred by the end of the film. It might take a rewatch for many to catch that, but it's not a "twist". It's the same thing with NGE. Information received throughout the course of the story will help in decoding characters.

View Original PostArcher wrote:I explain my requirements for what I consider to be a "good narrative":
- The main "theme" of a movie should be paid off in the movie itself
- The payoff should be clearly presented, and should not have to be inferred by the audience

I'm not 100% sure what you mean here by "payoff", to be honest.

View Original PostArcher wrote:I explain my reasoning for why I think 3.0 doesn't do this:
- If the main theme is "we are in Shinji's perspective for the whole movie", there is no payoff where we're clearly shown that his perspective is incorrect
- If the main theme is "everyone fucks up due to miscommunications", there is no payoff where we're clearly shown that everyone's mistakes are actually completely logical from their point of view

There can be more than one main theme, but I don't think either of these can be classified as such. The story being very fixed to Shinji's POV is not a theme, it's a way of framing the story. You could say that miscommunication is a theme, but I personally wouldn't say it's a primary theme. I'd consider the primary themes of Q to be guilt, failure and the idea that "you can never go back" - you can (not) redo. Even then, I still don't think you're right about what you claim 3.0 fails to do.

We are clearly shown that Shinji's perspective is wrong with three revelations in the film's latter half.
1) When Shinji learns that the world is in ruin and that he is responsible for it to some degree because of NTI.
2) When Shinji realizes that Rei Q is not the Rei he saved.
3) When Shinji pulls out the spears and starts the next Impact instead of restoring the world.

Importantly, before each of these revelations there are characters that try to indicate or explain things to him but Shinji either doesn't understand or willfully rejects these. By the third time, the audience will probably have realized that Shinji has no idea what's going on and things will not go as he thinks. This might cause reevaluation of whether the other characters are unjustified in their actions towards him.

View Original PostArcher wrote:Therefore, because my opinion for why I disliked 3.0 is founded in agreed-upon facts and follows a logical progression of thought, it is exactly as valid as someone who might think: Given (1) > This makes the movie more artistically interesting > I think this makes 3.0 a better movie.

Your perspective is valid, but it's not "founded in agreed-upon facts". Nor does it have to be. I'm not sure why you're so transfixed on that.

View Original PostArcher wrote:At the end of the day, I don't care about debating the "quality" of 3.0, or of any piece of media. I don't think it's possible to objectively define "quality", thus I don't see the point in discussing it at all. I am only arguing that my reasons for disliking 3.0 are 100% justified, and that "it's more artistic" is not a valid defense of 3.0's objective quality (which isn't a thing that can even be defined), but only of your own subjective enjoyment of it.

You confuse me a little bit. You're completely right that objective quality doesn't exist for art. But then you say things like
"it's more artistic" is not a valid defense of 3.0's objective quality
and then you immediately follow it back up with
(which isn't a thing that can even be defined)
So, I don't quite understand what you're getting at. Is anybody arguing that artistic merit is quantifiable, much less that it's a mark of objective quality? From where I'm standing you're the one who sounds most concerned with objectivity.

View Original PostArcher wrote:You liked it because "it's more artistic", I disliked it for that same reason.

No, and this is the crux of the issue. No one liked Q because it's "more artistic", because "artistic" is not a universally agreed-upon term. When people say something was "more artistic", it's just a way of expressing that something was interesting or bold to them in a way that enhanced their overall experience.

View Original PostArcher wrote:I'll grant you that I might have slipped up here and there said I thought that made it a bad movie, so I'll clarify that all I'm defending here is my right to dislike the movie and disagree with its artistic choices without being told that I just don't get it.

I don't think you slipped up there, honestly - you're free to think it's a bad movie, just like others are free to think it's good.

View Original PostArcher wrote: Maybe it's not the fault of anyone here in particular, but among defenders of 3.0, I all too often get the vibe that they think "3.0 is good, actually" is the only correct opinion and that everyone else just needs to be enlightened, as if "3.0 is artistically interesting, therefore 3.0 is good" were an objective fact that should change my mind and not just their personal opinion.

When people say something is "artistically interesting" I doubt they're trying to say that it's objectively good. In fact, I doubt they're even indicating that you have to agree that it is artistically interesting in the first place. I'm not trying to invalidate your experiences, though, it could well be that many 3.0 defenders are intolerant to other people's views, even if I haven't really noticed it myself. You're free to call anyone who's acting like that out for their bullshit. I don't know if anyone in this thread has been acting like that, or if I have. If you feel I've been intolerant or hostile, I apologize and want to make clear there's no ill intent, I just like debating about art that I like.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Archer » Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:03 am

Okay, so when I say “artistically interesting” I’m talking about a matter of INTENT: that it was an intentional choice by the creators that they thought was “artistically interesting”. Like, I get what they were going for with framing it from Shinji’s perspective - I can agree that their methods were suitable in achieving their intended goal - I just disagree with it as an artistic choice and would rather they have not done it. It’s the same with the more over-the-top action of the Rebuilds. I understand that it’s an intentional creative decision, but knowing that it was done on purpose doesn’t make me like it anymore, I’m still gonna think Cat Unit 2 is dumb as hell. For the record I don’t even think 3.0 is necessarily a “bad” movie. I just think the fact that I’m literally unable to form a fair opinion on it without needing to see 3.0+1.0 first is a flaw that didn’t really need to exist in the first place. In the sense of “payoff”, what I mean is some sort of growth or change in a character’s perspective, e.g. “Shinji realizing he was wrong”. I was not clear about this previously, and what I had said was that the audience should be made to see these things clearly. But after thinking on it a bit more, my issue with it is that Shinji isn’t made to acknowledge that he was wrong, therefore leaving him with a completely flat character arc.

I just think media discussion in general should be centered less around trying to debate or determine something’s quality (which can never ever be agreed on), but just discussing everyone’s feelings on it and why they felt that way. Because ultimately you could say that the purpose of ANY media is to make you feel something, you can discuss “what the authors wanted the audience to feel” vs. “what you felt” or “what the general audiences felt”. Feelings cannot be debated - it’s literally impossible to challenge the assertion that “X made me feel Y”. I think that immediately makes for a much more healthy playing field, because now the goal is to empathize with someone you might not agree with and try to understand where their opinions come from, with the end goal being to agree on a set of basic facts but disagreeing on how said facts made you feel.

On the other hand, literally the title of the thread immediately sets a combative tone. I think “debate” has a very specific connotation of an argument with a “winner” and a “loser”, with “winning” and “losing” then being associated with “who is right” and “who is wrong”, with the intent being to convince others (be it the other side, or independent observers) that your side of the debate is “correct”. Even if nobody here is acting in an openly combative manner, the very fact that I’m in a thread called “Debate the quality of the Rebuilds” will automatically make me start construing statements and arguments in possibly a more aggressive way than they were intended, reading in the implication that whatever’s being said is intended to change my mind on the matter of the “quality of the Rebuilds”.

If this were instead called “Discuss the quality of the Rebuilds”, you’re not automatically starting off in a hostile environment, because “discussions” don’t have the connotation of there being a “winner” and a “loser”. But hey, maybe that’s just me.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby baldur » Sun Apr 11, 2021 11:26 am

View Original PostArcher wrote:I just think media discussion in general should be centered less around trying to debate or determine something’s quality (which can never ever be agreed on), but just discussing everyone’s feelings on it and why they felt that way. Because ultimately you could say that the purpose of ANY media is to make you feel something, you can discuss “what the authors wanted the audience to feel” vs. “what you felt” or “what the general audiences felt”. Feelings cannot be debated - it’s literally impossible to challenge the assertion that “X made me feel Y”. I think that immediately makes for a much more healthy playing field, because now the goal is to empathize with someone you might not agree with and try to understand where their opinions come from, with the end goal being to agree on a set of basic facts but disagreeing on how said facts made you feel.

On the other hand, literally the title of the thread immediately sets a combative tone. I think “debate” has a very specific connotation of an argument with a “winner” and a “loser”, with “winning” and “losing” then being associated with “who is right” and “who is wrong”, with the intent being to convince others (be it the other side, or independent observers) that your side of the debate is “correct”. Even if nobody here is acting in an openly combative manner, the very fact that I’m in a thread called “Debate the quality of the Rebuilds” will automatically make me start construing statements and arguments in possibly a more aggressive way than they were intended, reading in the implication that whatever’s being said is intended to change my mind on the matter of the “quality of the Rebuilds”.

If this were instead called “Discuss the quality of the Rebuilds”, you’re not automatically starting off in a hostile environment, because “discussions” don’t have the connotation of there being a “winner” and a “loser”. But hey, maybe that’s just me.

You make some very good points here and I largely agree. Again, sorry if I've been overly combative.

I also think there's probably too much of a focus on "what the creators intended/wanted the audience to feel". I think it's far more interesting to discuss the range of feelings and interpretations people have, like you said, instead of attempting to psychoanalyze the creators (especially when there's always a ton of people involved in the production of a big studio work). Of course, the thoughts and intent of the creators will always be relevant to some degree... but Anno himself encourages discussion and personal interpretation.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby FreakyFilmFan4ever » Sun Apr 11, 2021 8:57 pm

Well, it’s never cool when a film series asks audiences to have their own discussion of the series, then just doesn’t update it after a crucial point in the story for another 8 years. I’m fairly certain that Eva Q’s reception would have been a lot better a lot faster if Anno was able to do that double feature immediately upon release, or at least only have a 3 - 4 year gap between movies. Sadly, that didn’t happen. I totally understand and sympathize with the reasons why that didn’t happen, and I do not hold him or anyone else personally responsible for that gap between films (honestly, based on what’s I’ve heard about Shin Eva, I think we’re getting a much better deal over all than if Anno has proceeded as planned from the beginning. Being distributed and financed by Toho is no small task!), but that’s not really gonna answer these critical question many people have any faster.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby boyfrand » Sat Apr 24, 2021 1:09 am

It’s pretty hard to jump in when there are already so many posts so I’ll just post what I think and then see what happens (sorry if this just repeats old posts).

I think 1.0 and 2.0 are great and high quality, although their narrative and meta narrative goals are different than NGE. I appreciated the more action oriented approach, along with a seemingly more direct approach to the backstory while maintaining mysteries about Evas and Seele. An example is Misato correctly identifying Lilith as Lilith, so she, Nerv, Seele, and the audience are on the same page but the Evas themselves still being mysterious (like what is the True Eva they’re building/retrofitting on the moon?).

But on the other hand, 3.0 really drops the ball for the series. I don’t understand why they did the time skip the way they did it. If the intervening events were portrayed as somewhat irrelevant and never explained, why do they still have a big impact on how Wille treats Shinji? I think at least some of the events should have been explained less ambiguously or at least more clearly implied. Not knowing fully understanding why Wille was treating Shinji that way or wtf was going on with Neo Nerv is not the unreliable narrator literary device - Shinji is just confused. I understand how the audience gets to experience the plot from Shinji’s point of view and see how his confusion and lack of historical context for the past 14 years contributes to his vulnerability and how that leads to his actions. But we already know Shinji is a vulnerable, sad dude. Are we really supposed to appreciate yet another entry in any of the Eva series showing us just how vulnerable, desperate and sad Shinji is? Do we really need it drilled into our heads that much? There’s definitely a lot of other plot points to cover and clarify.

I think middle movies in a series can continue the plot of the previous movie and set up the next one. They should also contain their own story arc with a resolution for that arc. I don’t think starting after an unexplained time skip actually continues the plot of the last movie. Nor do any of the character relationships build from the last movie - they build from the unexplained time skip. However, 3.0 does end on a cliffhanger to lead into the next movie.

For me, breaking the continuity of NTE disrupts the series to the point of it being unenjoyable and makes me view the whole series thus far as low quality. Perhaps the creative team (was it truly entirely Anno’s vision?) wanted a clean break from 2.0 to pursue other narrative and meta narrative goals but maybe they should’ve just completed a more straightforward “retelling” and then created a NNTE. Doing another Rebuild would have been aligned with Anno’s initial statements about Eva being a story that repeats when Rebuild was first being launched. They could have done it off the rails from the beginning with a new 1.0 that clearly sets the tone and better conditions for disjointed storytelling.

I think I’m not alone in thinking Anno and the NTE team changed their plans after 2.0 and introduced the time skip so they could pursue a different plot with different narrative goals. Just because they’re respected artists does not mean I have to see this decision as artistically valid and I definitely don’t think it is. It seems more like a commercial decision - why disrupt a series and new brand in progress when it’s more profitable to pretend it was all truly intended to be the same series? I mean, can any of us name another series where the plot unfolds this way? And if you are able to name one, was it well received?

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Archer » Sat Apr 24, 2021 2:25 am

Freaky's post above mostly addresses this: they were never planning for a 9 year hiatus after 3.0.

3.0 is not a movie with enough meat in it to sustain 9 years of analysis, theory, and discussion. What was supposed to happen was, they'd release 3.0, people would talk about how mysterious it was and wonder about where the plot would go next, and then 2-3 years later they'd walk into theaters and watch Shin Eva. Obviously this... was not the way things panned out.

I've already given my opinion on how I'd change the movie to be more watchable standalone without actually changing any of the major events that happen, by giving Shinji an actual character arc so that it doesn't feel like nothing happens. But I agree that 3.0 would've been much better received if the movies had stuck to their originally-planned release schedule.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby Zusuchan » Sat Apr 24, 2021 7:20 am

boyfrand wrote: It seems more like a commercial decision - why disrupt a series and new brand in progress when it’s more profitable to pretend it was all truly intended to be the same series?

I don't understand what you're saying-are you stating that Q's nature was a commercial decision? If so, then please explain to me how Q is more commercial on its own than Jo or Ha, because I'm not seeing it.

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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby TheFriskyIan » Sat Apr 24, 2021 8:50 am

View Original PostArcher wrote:3.0 is not a movie with enough meat in it to sustain 9 years of analysis, theory, and discussion. What was supposed to happen was, they'd release 3.0, people would talk about how mysterious it was and wonder about where the plot would go next, and then 2-3 years later they'd walk into theaters and watch Shin Eva. Obviously this... was not the way things panned out.

Shin's first announcement page with a year was 2013, which was even less than a year after Q released. Also keep in mind in the 1.0 booklet, Anno stated he would've wanted 3.0 & Final to be released together as two halves of one whole.
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Re: Debate the quality of Rebuild here. [2]

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Postby GhostlyOcam » Sat Apr 24, 2021 9:05 am

View Original Postboyfrand wrote:why disrupt a series and new brand in progress when it’s more profitable to pretend it was all truly intended to be the same series?

I mean, the answer is clear. They want Rebuild; particularly the latter half to be its own thing/reboot than just following the near identical remake route 1.0/2.0 did, taking the risk of alienating the audience by changing the narrative completely and that's the exact opposite of "commercial decision".

Probably because I've seen my favorite movie franchises like Alien, Star Wars, Terminator, etc. fall apart because the new entries really oversell that "muh nostalgia" factor and 3.0, for the better or worse, tried new things that sometimes work and sometimes don't. I still have super mixed feelings about that film, but at the very least I appreciate it for being "new".
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