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Review: 'Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo' a sleek anime mess

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The most beautiful depiction of war ever rendered on film might be found in the first six minutes of "Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo."

In the third installment of four films rebooting the anime series "Neon Genesis Evangelion," the fate of the universe depends on giant robots that blast across magenta-orange sunsets, shooting comets of turquoise, emerald and amethyst. It's splendor on steroids.

Unfortunately, the battle wages on for 20 more minutes, a gorgeous tangle of explosions, sexy-sleek visuals and nonsensical dialogue delivered in screeches. A protagonist finally emerges near the half-hour mark: Teen pilot Shinji (voiced by Megumi Ogata) wakes up from a 14-year coma to help stave off the apocalypse, only to discover it's already happened.

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Because the franchise is steeped in ham-fisted Christian symbolism, Shinji is told by his new friend Kaworu (Akira Ishida) between magical piano lessons that "all sins can be atoned for." Thus begins a final robot battle in which Shinji strives to restart life on Earth.

This description makes "Evangelion 3.0" sound much more coherent than it actually is. The films are for hard-core fans only, with minimal exposition or character development. The convoluted plot will make any neophyte more confused than a dog in space. Desiccated by its pretensions, it's freeze-dried melodrama.

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'Evangelion: 3.0 You Can (Not) Redo'

MPAA rating: None

Running time: 1 hours, 37 minutes.

Playing: At Laemmle Playhouse 7, Pasadena.

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