Movies / Animé and Toons

Tales from Earthsea Review


By Hervé St-Louis
January 24, 2015 - 10:18

Arren, a young prince who killed his father is on the run and rescued from a pack of wolves by the greatest magician in the land, Sparrowhawk. Arren is filled with darkness inside and it attracts the attention of Cob, a powerful local wizard who seeks eternal life. Charmed by Cob, Arren betrays his mentor Sparrowhawk. It’s up to a mysterious girl with a link to the world of dragons to reach back to Arren and help him save the world from darkness.

Author Ursuala Le Guin wrote a series of fantasy novel under the Earthsea banner about a world of magic and the balance of things in the world. In 2006, Studio Ghibli released Tales of Earthsea as the first authorized film of Le Guin’s work. Le Guin had been weary of allowing Ghibli and anyone else to adapt her work but it seems that she found a suitable champion in the feminist work of Hayao Miyazaki. However, it was Miyazaki’s son, Goro Miyazaki who directed the film.

Structurally, the threat of the villain is not apparent until the second arc of the film. The plot is so slow moving that it is difficult to see where the story is going and why we should care. There are many unresolved plots in the film tying back to the rich universe of the books that inspired the animated feature. The young Miyazaki was still finding his vice as a director when he made this film. It was an ambitious project for an untested director.

Technically Goro Myazaki delivered a masterpiece. The architecture, the designs of the characters and the beautiful painted backgrounds were satisfying. What wasn’t was the plot and the lack of a stronger female protagonist. The movie felt directionless and spent a lot of times establishing the feel of life on a farm, instead of developing the plot about why there is an imbalance in the world that threatens more than the city Cob terrorizes. While not the best Ghibli film, Earthsea is entertaining and filled with wonder.

Original Japanese Storyboards, Original Japanese Trailers & TV Spots, the Birth of the Film Soundtrack, Origins of Earthsea

Rating: 7 /10

Last Updated: February 5, 2023 - 09:06

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