I caught the first few episodes of the tv series, The Vision of Escaflowne, and really liked what I saw but haven't seen the rest (mainly because, like most older series, it's just not streaming online). So that was enough reason for me to grab the movie when I saw it at the local college library and the checkout guy warned me it was pretty different from the tv series (which I actually already knew but it's nice to see anime fans looking out for each other).
Escaflowne: The Movie
Summary: Hitomi, a sleepy and depressed high school girl, is drawn into the land of Gaea and plays an important role in a war that is tearing apart their world.
The Good: Having not seen that much of the original, I can say that the plot is accessible and easy to follow if you aren't already a fan of the series. The story, while fast moving, holds together well, accomplishes what it needs to and we get some character development starting about halfway through. It was a solid fantasy movie with no glaring errors and managed to be accesible to people who weren't familiar with the original.
The Bad: I don't quite remember everyone being this depressed in the tv series so that was an abrupt change. Hitomi goes from a cheerful girl on the track team to a depressed girl who quit the track team and thinks about killing herself. Van is more depressed as well but that actually has a reason, Hitomi's mood shift just struck me as bizarre and, even if this is a retelling I couldn't figure out the reason for it short of "moar emotional drama plz/we couldn't think of anything else to help drive the plot!"The plot itself was compressed but that was expected. Even so, I get the feeling that I will probably enjoy the tv series more than this movie.
The Art: I'd forgotten that the movie was cel animated so it does look a little dated to me. Still good looking but the art does reveal it's age. The only thing that bothered me about the art was Hitomi's design for some reason. I liked how she looked in the tv series but here there was just something off, maybe it was because it looked like she was always wearing lip gloss? Having not fully seen the tv series I'm not sure which designs I prefer but it's probably the tv series.
The Music: It may be Yoko Kanno music but none of it really stuck with me (the ominious Latin chanting of "Escaflowne" from the original series did however). After seeing the first few episodes of the series dubbed I made sure to see this one subbed but I didn't really like either Hitomi or Van's voices, not sure why but they just didn't feel right to me.
While it was a well done movie I just didn't feel it grip me the way the first few anime episodes did. So, off to get the series sometime soon I suppose!