Estéban Rōdriguez’s review published on Letterboxd:
Is this… Evangelion?
At last… at long, long last. Anno’s Saga of Destruction, Isolation, Love, Sacrifice & Transformation Epic of Biblical proportions has come to an end. An end that I am happy to say is an ending that should never continue onwards.
I’m going to be honest, I was nervous and almost dreading this movie. Not to say I thought it would be bad. I mean the moment I listened to the entire score for this movie, I knew that it would have something at least. (I’ll gush over the score later)
But this movie actually surprised me and after thinking about it for some time it is my favorite of the Rebuilds. Not only for its scale and scope, with its 2:39 aspect ratio and grand sweeping shots that feel as masterful as if they were done by the legendary Freddy Young, but also it’s narrative decisions throughout the movie.
For a while now, the most intriguing part about this film to me was the runtime. At a whopping 2 hours and 35 minutes, it’s next to The Disappearance of Haruhi Suzumiya for being the longest animated film in history. But a question I asked is why is that? What justifies this being the second longest animated film in history? Well the answer came in the first 20 minutes. The opening is action packed and exactly what I expected, but then something happens… something that I never expected to see. I thought I would be boring and while I thought it went a little too long. This first hour of the movie was so refreshing to me, and the rest of the movie was a great payoff. I do not want to spoil what happens at all, because I think it’s best when you see the first half for yourself. I won’t say anymore.
Now as a sidetrack, I really want to praise Sagisu in this film. His music is easily the best of the decade, and I’m probably gonna lock in that his score will not be matched this decade. I will actually be surprised if there is another score that is better than his this year. While this movie is a culmination of the whole saga, Sagisu’s gorgeous score feels like a culmination of music from cinema’s greats and more. From the Italian masters of Rota and Morricone, to Takemitsu all the way to his own modern epic flavor of choirs with pieces from Classical Masters. It’s one big treat. Maybe one of my all time favorites. I’m not kidding.
At the end of the day, it is a little bit difficult for me to review this. What I wanted from this review was to express how I felt about the movie overall, I could’ve done all spoilers but Evangelion was all about the experience both visually and emotionally as much as what is going on with the narrative and characters. I will conclude by saying this. Not everything in the movie worked for me. Not everything in the ending was that satisfying to me. And CERTAINLY not everything this film visually (while I can definitely say it was ambitious) worked. What I can say is whether my rating goes up or down and maybe even some parts will like or dislike more, I will overall say that I still on a personal level love this movie. It’s kind of been a desire to see a TRUE animated movie epic. And Anno, Gainax/Khara and the rest of the crew, mostly succeed in being that to animation. And also concluding one of the most exciting, ambitious, and iconic stories in the moving image medium.
And now one last thing, goodbye to all of Evangelion…