Guest Author - Lesley Aeschliman
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 distribution rights to the film in the United States.
In this remake film, the characters of Hitomi and Van are given very different personalities than their counterparts in the anime series. In the series, Hitomi is a happy girl in love, while her movie counterpart is depressed and suicidal. With this portrayal, it's hard to care about Hitomi, even though she's supposed to be the main character. In the film, Van is lonely and more aggressive than this television series counterpart.
The basic story of the film is that a depressed Hitomi is brought to Gaea as the legendary "Wing Goddess" and awakens Escaflowne. Escaflowne disappears into a jewel that Hitomi keeps in her possession. Hitomi and Van must learn to work together in order to try to save Gaea from destruction. However, how the film depicts Van's change in attitude toward Hitomi just feels forced.
In the film, the role for the character of Dilandau was greatly diminished in comparison to the television series. With this reduction in the role, Dilandau felt more like a prop than an actual character. This, along with the other changes that were made for the film version, really weakened the story. The only redeeming qualities that this film has are some of the visuals and the music score.
The DVD release for Escaflowne the Movie allows you to watch the film with Japanese DTS 5.1, Japanese DD 5.1, English DD 5.1, or Isolated Score DD 5.1 audio. For subtitles, you can choose between English, Storyboards, and None. For the "Storyboards" option, the corresponding storyboards for the scene appear in the subtitle track rather than text. Unfortunately, since the storyboard subtitles are only available in Japanese, you have to have some knowledge of the Japanese language in order to understand what's going on.
For bonus features, there are trailers and credits. In the "Trailers" selection, you can can choose to see trailers for Mobile Suit Gundam Char's Counterattack, Jin-Roh, and Gundam Wing: Endless Waltz. The "Credits" selection just takes you to a screen with the DVD credits.
I was rather disappointed in Escaflowne the Movie. I would only recommend this DVD to viewers who enjoy the film or to viewers who are fans of The Vision of Escaflowne and want to have all the Escaflowne related material in their DVD collection.
I wrote this review after watching a copy of this DVD that my husband and I purchased.