Escaflowne the Movie is an anime film based on the anime series, The Vision of Escaflowne. The film was produced by Sunrise, animated by Studio BONES, and directed by Kazuki Akane. Escaflowne the Movie was released in Japan on June 24, 2000. Bandai Entertainment holds the American distribution rights to the film in the United States. While the Escaflowne film uses some of the same elements as the television series, there are differences between the characters in the two versions. Also, in the film, the world of Gaea looks more Asian than the European look that the television series used.
In the Escaflowne film, the characters of Hitomi and Van are given very different personalities from their television series counterparts. In the television series, Hitomi was a happy girl who was in love. In the film, however, Hitomi is depicted as being depressed and suicidal. In the film, Van is depicted as lonely and much more aggressive than his television series counterpart. Personally, I really didn't think these changes in their personalities really did anything to help the film. Also, I think the relationship between these two characters is very forced in the film, where it came much more naturally in the television series. In the film, Van tries to attack Hitomi and not trusting her; then, somewhere during the film, he suddenly starts becoming concerned for her and trying to save her, although there is nothing shown in the film as to why he has this sudden change of heart.
Another major difference between the television series and the film is the amount of violence. While there was fighting in the television series, it wasn’t overly violent or bloody. However, there are several fight scenes in the film that usually involve Van cutting down enemies in bloody battles.
A big issue I had with this film was with the lack of character development. I think the director, writers, and staff went into this project with the idea that the viewers watching the film would already have familiarity with the characters and the world through The Vision of Escaflowne television series. However, the lack of character development made me not really care about any of the characters. And since I wasn't finding myself caring about any of the characters, it made it very hard to find any enjoyment in the film. Instead, I found myself watching the clock to see how much time had gone by and how much time still remained in the movie.
Personally, I would have to say that I was very disappointed in Escaflowne the Movie. Overall, I think The Vision of Escaflowne television series is a stronger product, and I would recommend to people to watch the television series over the movie.
I wrote this review after watching this film for free on Comcast's ON DEMAND service.