Sunday, September 5, 2010

Escaflowne: The Movie

Escaflowne is sort of an interesting experiment in trying to convert a longer story (like from a TV series) into a shorter one (like in a film). Certain things have to be changed, compressed, and so on to try to make it fit into a hundred minutes. Plus more alterations are made to perhaps make it appeal to a slightly different audience. It's certainly a bit more guy friendly than the series, beginning with a scene where Van slaughters a room full of anonymous bad guys with a sword (which was actually one of the better animated fights I've seen in a while). So it does a few things to try to make itself work as a movie rather than a show, though in the end I don't think it succeeded that much. It wasn't bad, and I found myself enjoying parts as much as anything from the series. But there was just something that didn't sit quite right about it, and I don't think that it's just that it was changed from the original story.

The series definitely tried to appeal to both boys and girls, with romantic subplots just as prominent in the story as the main adventure. A lot of that's been stripped out, and it just sort of feels like a generic action movie with a weird mix of past and future in the setting. There's a whole lot of ideas that it doesn't have much time to get across, and the loss of fidelity is damaging not just because it's different, but because it's just less developed. In the series, you had time to learn about the villain and what he was doing and why it was bad. In the movie, you basically have to accept that he's a bad guy because the good guys tell you, and not really because you see a whole lot of the damage he's supposedly causing. The main thrust of a normal high school girl being transported to a mysterious place and forced into a momentous period in its history is still there, but the rest of it just seems like it's going through the motions of hitting all the biggest moments from the show without them really having much impact, because I don't know why I should care. Again, it's a reasonably enjoyable film a lot of the time, there's just something missing. I'd still recommend the show first.

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