Mania Grade: B
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- Audio Rating: A-
- Video Rating: B+
- Packaging Rating: A
- Menus Rating: B+
- Extras Rating: A
- Age Rating: 13 & Up
- Region: 1 - North America
- Released By: Bandai Entertainment
- MSRP: 29.98
- Running time: 110
- Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
- Disc Resolution: 480i/p (mixed/unknown)
- Disc Encoding: MPEG-2
- Series: Escaflowne
Escaflowne Movie: Standard Edition
By Eric Ho
May 04, 2002
Release Date: July 23, 2002
Having the benefit of being the first to review this movie is a pleasure. Even though I no longer have the dvd in my possession, this dvd was truly spectacular. This review will consist mostly about the Ultimate Edition, but will make references to the standard edition as well.
Watching the movie for the first on dvd made me realized that I wish that I had caught the theatrical run that came through Seattle.
Since the disc was in my possession for a very short amount of time, I was only able to watch the movie in Japanese in Dolby Digital 5.1. The music and sound for the track was spectacular. The score really shined in the 5.1 track. Now, I wish I had time to watch it in DTS to see how much better it is.
This film is presented with an anamorphic widescreen transfer. I wish I had a better tv to view it, but I don't. The video still looks great though. Bandai continues to put out visually splendid dvds. The one thing about the movie is that the characters don't seem to be very vivid. They seem to be pale and aren't very vibrant. They don't seem to blend very well with the movie being in the dark most of the time.
The standard edition comes in a standard amaray case, while the ultimate edition comes in its own personally designed case. The case, which is baby blue in color has an image that has been used before, houses 3 amaray case. Each amaray has their own unique image that were design specifically for the set, which is different from the image on the standard edition. The standard edition image isn't as appealing as the ultimate edition images. The insert for the standard edition has the same image as the front cover of the standard edition and has a listing of the chapters in the middle with the credit on the back. I can't recall what the other inserts look like.
The menu on the movie is different from the menu on the bonus disc. They both look great. They both are fully animated and take the design from a scene of the movie. It seems that blue and white are the color that correspond to this movie as both menu use this color scheme. Some submenus take a bit of time to change, but not too long, while others load pretty quickly. The transition to each submenu are nicely designed.
With over 100 minutes of extras on the second disc, it is packed. You have many interviews from people who had a part in the movie, like Yoko Kanno, Maaya Sakamoto, and many more. With time being short, I didn't have time to go through the interviews though. One interesting item in the extras was the many designs for the movie posters for the US market. But the best thing in the extras disc is the 4 minute performance that is an exclusive for the US dvd of Escaflowne the movie. You won't find this performance on the Japanese dvd. The performance consisted of Maaya Sakamoto, the Korean singer (sorry I can't remember her name), and Yoko Kanno on the piano.
With this movie only be 96 minutes, there were bound to be holes in the movie. Even with that, the movie is fun and interesting enough to keep you occupied.
The movie is based around Hitomi, an human who is also the Wing Goddess and she is the key to awaken the Escaflowne. The Escaflowne and her are the key to decide the path Gaea. She is a rather lonely girl, who magically gets transported to Gaea. While in Gaea, she learns to be a part of something and grows-up. While this is happening, she gets attached to Van, the main hero in the movie, who has to fight his brother, Dune or better know as Folken. Folken is the person who calls Hitomi to the magically world.
These two borthers are both descendants of the dragon. Van, the last King of Adom, was selected to be king over his brother, who has kept this grudge against Van. They are fighting a war where the Black Dragon Clan, Folken's warriors are taking over the world. The Black Dragon has pretty much taken over the world and destroyed most
Right from the start, the movie starts out with an action packed scene that gets your attention with Van slaying a ship full of black dragon clan soldiers. That scene is pretty bloody, but it represents what the movie is going to be like the rest of the way.
After that it transitions to Earth and Hitomi. It gives a bit of background about Hitomi and then it shows how she gets to Gaea. When she arrives, it awakens the Escaflowne.
After this point, it starts building the relationship of Van and Hitomi. While this is taking place, the Black Dragon is trying to kidnap Hitomi so they can obtain the Escaflowne. I'm not going to go into anymore details as that would spoil more of the movie.
The content of the movie isn't too bad, but since the movie was only 96 minutes long, there were holes in the story. I wished that they had developed more about why and how she became the Wing Goddess. A lot of the characters weren't really developed. If you didn't have a understand of the characters from the tv series, then you would probably have a bit of trouble with the characters in the movie. There are a lot of dark themes and tones in this movie, which I have noticed in a lot of recent movies.
With all that said, I rathered enjoyed this movie. I was a big fan of the tv series and I like this new take on Escaflowne. However, the change in character design did take a bit to get use to, but I like it. That is all I have to say and thanks to the person who provided me the advance screening.
Toshiba 27", Sony DVP-500D, Sony STR-DE925, Acoustic Research Front Left, Front Right, Center, and Subwoofer, JBL Right Rear and Left Rear