The "Suzumiya Haruhi no Yuutsu" ("Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya") series is a popular mashup of the slice-of-life and sci-fi genres. Its humorous moments and entertaining episodes created a whole fanbase of Hare Hare Yukai-dancing Haruhi worshippers, which is no small feat. Following the light novel series, Kyoto Animation created the movie which literally took the anime community by storm, earning raving reviews from just about everyone.
So here we go.
Story: Kyon (insert :foreveralone: face here) finds out that not-quite-right Koizumi and insanium-in-the-cranium Haruhi are AWOL. Plus, Moe-chan does not recognize him and Nagato is not a member of the now nonexistent SOS Brigade. But this is not even the worst part, because Asakura Ryoko (yes, THAT crazy chick) is back! :3
Of course, Kyon is completely confused and determined to find out what happened. The fact that Kyon is frantically searching for everyone (cough cough Haruhi cough) is touching in itself, but that's not even the best part of the wonderful movie.
Animation: Wow. Kyoto Animation must have had Bill Gates donate half his worth to them. The art is stunning, with its shading and surreal moments. (Only a few scenes had simply generic art like the original series.) The animation fared equally well: Kyon running around with different camera angles exposing his fear and desperation, or a simple car driving across the street, illuminating the faces of Kyon and Nagato.
Sound: Since the sound is not cemented that firmly into my head, the insert music was probably not that impressive, but I do remember it being fitting to the scenes and quite pretty. However, I feel I should mention the voice acting. This is one of those anime I watched in English (please be quiet, you disrespectful being) and I find this to be one of the best dubbed anime out there. This movie fared especially well, and I feel I should give a shout-out to Crispin Freeman and his powerful performance as Kyon.
Characters: The original series had its fair share of likable characters, but they were static and rather generic. This movie, however, had more character development than most series. For example, Nagato goes from shy to still-shy-but-also-kind-of---awesome. And Mikuru-chan is almost beaten out, as far as moe goes (wow, Nagato. I didn't think you had it in you). Haruhi and Koizumi, now boyfriend and girlfriend, portray trusting people... and Koizumi's little jealousy moment practically ripped out my fangirl heart. But, once again, I'm mentioning Kyon. His true need for the club really shines, especially considering how much he complained in the original series. His character development was believable and so beautifully done it's almost criminal. And, since I can't finish this without mentioning her, Asakura (the best friend of Mikuru-chan) does a complete 180 into a loyal best friend with no reason to kill anyone... and yet, her overprotectiveness of Mikuru-chan brings back memories of her small stint in the original. I applaud you, Kyoto Animation. Bravo.
Overall: This excellent movie deserves your watch, hands down. It is my favorite movie of all time, be it anime or not, and I mean it when I say, "Watch this movie. You will not regret it."