Review of 'Tales from Earthsea (Gendo Senki)'

tales_from_earthsea.jpg The long awaited debut of Hayao Miyazaki's son's first film Tales from Earthsea (based on the book by Ursula K. Le Guin) finally comes to the big screen. First shown in Japan in August 2006 it is now available to English speaking audiences.

The story tells the tale of Arren, a young prince struggling to find his place in life (and control his temper). He encounters Ged (Gedo), a mysterious magician who guides him in his exploration of self and keeps him safe. Arren saves a young girl, Therru, from slavers only to be spurned from any sort of gratitude or affection. They live in a land of magic with dragons and an evil that threatens the very soul of the world. It is their destiny to find and destroy this evil.

I must admit I found the movie to be a bit disappointing but I guess I was expecting another Hayao masterpiece but instead I was treated to a much lower-key animation style and story. I found it much like watching a watercolour painting both in terms of visuals and in terms of pace with the characters spending a lot of time either talking or looking off into the (granted, beautiful) landscape. Most of the audience (at this, the UK premiere) found it a bit tedious as well with impatient shuffling of bodies throughout. This impatience could be due to the continuing mistakes of may parents that believe animation is only really suitable for children with several large groups of children in attendence.

The animation is very much trade-mark (studio) Ghibli and will be instantly recognisable to anyone familiar with their other work (particularly Hayao's). The story is odd but not as odd as other Ghibli work – Pleasant, I would suggest but not completely enthralling.

It is a promising start for the young Miyazaki. Here's hoping there is plenty more to come and that his style develops into something truly his own.

Rating: “It is OK but I have some issues”

Review Date: 2007-07-11

Directed by: Goro Miyazaki

Studio: Studio Ghibli

Year: 2006

Length: 115 minutes

Genre: Japanese Animation

Other reviewed films by Goro Miyazaki: