Basically they had all the cells and production materials from the series and they reshot it in HD, reprocessing much of it with a computer, with some 3d computer enhancements of big scenes... taken a 26 episode TV series and edited it down to four 90 minute movies.
My initial reaction posted to chat “ ...if Anno is responsible in any way for the editing, he's got to be senile;; I watched Evangelion Rebuild ep 1...damned if there's *anything* spoilable...by amping up and CGI'ing all the hot scenes, compressing it, and taking out many of the little detail slice of life scenes (with most of the ecchi fan moments)...they've left a sterile, depersonalized version” that catches the key big scenes the fans are expecting, but only the fans will fully appreciate. The storyline has been simplified.
Granted, it’s reframed for the theater, but it’s sort of like the Hollywood Godzilla VS. Gojira comparison. They’ve taken out all that tedious dialog and character development (along with a few spicy moments such as the introductory cleavage scene) and added to the crunch time scenes. Maybe they’ve taken too many lessons from Hollywood, or maybe Anno is embarrassed…but that doesn’t quite add up…they’ve left in the scene of Shinji in Rei’s apartment, and enhanced a momentary full nude profile shot of Rei putting on a plug suit.
A quick word about the sound track; the dialog sounded like it was all original from the series. The music tracks broke back and forth from segment to segment between classical compositions for orchestral groups, and piano. I didn’t hear any of the great original Japanese vocal pieces that we American fans identify with the series.
When I first told our chat group that I was going to look at this torrent, the immediate criticism I got back was: Why bother, they’re just milking it? My thought on that continues to be that we have moved in to an era of wide screen, HD TV. Either we move on, or the series is forgotten amongst our old anime collections. It was a good series in it’s day. They could have achieved some sort of balance, like maybe the new SDF series. Instead they’ve chosen to rebuild it as if they were transporting only the big fan scenes to the wide screen. Leaving in some human scale elements would have been a big help, and perhaps it wouldn’t have hurt to do some creative retelling of the story around the fact that it’s now the year 2008, and things are different.
Serious fans of the story know why this is.