Gedo senki (Tales from Earthsea) Reviews
April 7, 2011
As a fan of fantasy media, I enjoyed the mystic adventure of these shallow characters. The plot did move quite slow throughout, like everyone was dragging their feet. I believe that there should have been more magic than mystery, but keep the epic scenery and this film would have been a beautiful addition to the Ghibli series.
July 4, 2014
Definitely not as bad as some people make it out to be. While Tales from Earthsea is by no means one of Studio Ghibli's best films, I don't think it deserves the poor reputation that it has received. I haven't read the books that the film is based on, which I've heard can change your view on the film itself since it apparently deviates from the source material, so I can't comment on that. I really enjoyed the animation in here (moments like the view of Hort Town towards the beginning and both the sunsets and landscapes were stunning to look at), I liked the characters, the voice acting was really good (especially Timothy Dalton and Willem Dafoe, who I thought were both great in their respective roles), the music score was nice along with some moments of atmosphere and I really liked the serious tone to the film. While the film can be a little bit slow (although I'm used to the slower pacing of some other Ghibli films) and it does lack the epic feel of Laputa, Mononoke and Nausicaa, I still thought Tales from Earthsea was a really good start from Miyazaki's son Goro Miyazaki, who would later direct From Up on Poppy Hill, which was even better. Check it out and see if you like it, especially if you were put off from some of the reviews.
September 10, 2014
Review In A Nutshell:
It has finally come; I have found a disappointing Studio Ghibli film. Before watching Tales from Earthsea, I looked around at a couple of sites just to get a rough idea of how everyone felt with this film; the reception was very mixed but I didn't let it get to me and hoped that I would come out of the experience in a positive light. I tried so hard to like this and I was able to keep my attention for the first hour but eventually due to its vast quantity of problems, my care started to fade and everything that happened during its final half, I simply just passively watched and shrugged off.
Tales from Earthsea would mark as the debut film of Hayao Miyazaki's son, Goro Miyazaki. Goro handled both the writing and directing aspect of this film, along with writer Keiko Niwa whom by the way is also his writing debut. Miyazaki and Niwa's screenplay was based off a novel by Ursula K. Le Guin, which I have never read so I cannot make any comparison between the source material and this film. Tales from Earthsea is set on a world that is cinematically familiar; the days of dragon, swords, magic, and kingdoms. We have all seen these types of settings before in films like Lord of the Rings, Eragon, and Chronicles of Narnia. Films that deal with these types of elements tend to be a hit and miss for me as stories that tend to conjured up during these settings lack that certain quality that could hold my grasp. I think I would have found myself enjoying this film a lot more if it contained that magical quality in its fantasy like many of Hayao Miyazaki's films, he was the master of blending reality or overly recycled concepts with magic and wonderment. I felt there was very little in this film that contained originality, something that would allow it to stand out above the rest; though I believe as of now this is the only thing from the studio that deals with this sort of setting so it at least wins in that race.
Another thing that could have been improved is the film's narrative as during the start of the film, it lacks any sort of incentive or direction that would keep me invested, especially in its characters. The sense of drama seems to only come from the external or physical struggles that the two lead characters, Arren and Sparrowhawk, has to go through. There was very little character development, which I felt was odd as the first 10 minutes of the film made it seem like it was going to become an emotional journey for Arren. The film eventually gets around to its point during the second half, touching on themes of life and death, but by that time, my attention and care was already close to the point of diminished that I wasn't able to appreciate what it had to offer. Why couldn't the writers set these ideas up earlier in the film, even if they were just tiny moments?
The film's strong points are found in its technical aspects. The cinematography and animation of this film is marvellous, it was like watching the beauty of a live action epic film and translated to an animated medium in order to elevate the visual elegance. Though the character designs were a little too safe and western for a Ghibli film, I was still pleased with the level of detail that it provides, particularly in its backdrop. The film's music, composed by Tamiya Terashima, was also a delight to listen to as it takes the strong and familiar qualities found in the films in its genre. There were moments that I forgot I was watching this film, and instead was thinking of a random scene from the Lord of the Rings trilogy or Braveheart. The music could have used a bit more originality but what was delivered here was good enough that I could forgive that small flaw.
Tales from Earthsea succeeds in creating the large scale that Princess Mononoke had, but lacked the compelling story and purpose that made the latter so excellent. Watching this has not completely made me lose faith in Goro Miyazaki as I think he simply did not have the experience to handle a film with such a large canvas. I just hope his next film, From Up on Poppy Hill, would correct the issues that his debut film had.
May 3, 2012
Goro Miyazaki, the son of master storyteller Hayao Miyazaki, makes his directorial debut with "Tales of Earthsea," a fantasy adventure based on a series of books that the studio been wanting to adapt. His debut is a nice start and a good first step on following his father's footsteps, including attempting to duplicate the "Princess Mononoke" experience of the dark fantasy approach from Ghibli. But there's one thing Gor? Miyazaki was unable to duplicate: the fun Ghibli magic.
In all other Ghibli films, there's usually a fun, blissful magic in their atmosphere (or at least sporadically in some). ("Pom Poko" has none when the fun has been replaced with gross-out). "Earthsea" is actually treated as a fantasy film that can work fine in live action. Meaning it belongs in the live-action medium than the Ghibli medium due to being serious throughout, combined with nastiness and some darkness. It's an okay combo for telling a story, as long Ghibli doesn't lose their animated touch.
"Tales from Earthsea" works well as a fantasy film with nice animation that Ghibli is known for, but it lack their blissful magic and fun moments with heart. (B+)
(Full review coming soon)
June 9, 2014
Tales from Earthsea is a typical Studio Ghibli fantasy. It looks unbelievable, it has sweeping, grandiose music, it has good themes, and a strong female lead. If it's a typical Studio Ghibli fantasy, then why isn't this better received? Well it doesn't mesh all these elements together perfectly is why. Nonetheless I enjoyed it and I look forward to whatever Goro Miyazaki does next.
June 23, 2014
You're better off with "Spirited Away", "My Neighbor Totoro", or "Princess Mononoke."
June 22, 2014
OK, so according to Rotten Tomatoes this is the only Studio Ghibli film to not be considered "fresh". Tales from Earthsea sits at a paltry 41%..I don't entirely agree with it, but I can definitely see why people think this is the "worse" Studio Ghibli film. Goro Miyazaki takes over directorial duties from his father for this film and his rookie entrance kind of shows. The film is based on the Earthsea books which are very relatable to the Shannara series in my opinion by Terry Brooks. The movie follows a mysterious young man named Arren (Matt Levin) who has almost a split personality because of his inability to see the purpose in life (kinda weird right?). Without spoiling it an atrocious action leads Arren to flee his homeland. He runs into the Archmage Sparrowhawk (Timothy Dalton) who protects young Arren and brings him on his own journey into investigating reports of Dragons showing up in the area. Meanwhile, evil wizard Cob (Willem Dafoe) seeks revenge of Sparrowhawk and uses Arren as bait to ultimately destroy them all. The film also features voice work from Mariska Hargitay, Cheech Marin and Blaire Restaneo. The animation is amazing! I really enjoyed how beautiful everything looked like. One thing that just kept hitting me was that since I was not a fan, nor did I have any knowledge of the books I felt like I was missing out. Characters have a lot of backstory that just never develops, actions of the characters especially Arren are never fully explained and its confusing as hell. The action sequences are cool, but there is so little character development that by the end of the film I just didn't care what happened. It would have been nice if this had been expanded to perhaps a trilogy and everything flowed better. Overall, it's still worth a look!
June 22, 2014
was expecting a different movie, but still was good , although at some point the story started to lack a bit in interest
August 5, 2011
Okay. In every sense of the word. Okay.
March 14, 2014
"Tales from Earthsea" had its moments but unfortunately never reached the heights one would expect from a Studio Ghibli film. Its director, Goro Miyazaki, has a long way to go before he can fill the shoes of his father.
March 6, 2014
The moral message is good but had broken by its own execution. Poor development of story and the visual is below expectation for the studio which brought "Spirited Away".
January 25, 2014
Great story, Beautiful looking animation.
August 5, 2010
Sets up a neat, decaying world full of mystery... then gets stuck on a farm. Feels like they chopped up previous Studio Ghibli films and mashed them together into this one... with poor results.
December 5, 2013
1940's Fantasia Is My Tenth Favorite Film.
November 24, 2013
Well. The movie isn't hat bad. Probably because of the humourless, violent beginning. But starting from the middle to the end, the movie was actually quite nice. Though some parts was so violent that it scare the beejeebees out of me, all I can say is that Goro Miyazaki has the potential of becoming a successful director like his dad. It's just that he needs more practice. Love the animation. Very stunning and beautiful indeed. Overall: a good try from Goro Miyazaki.
July 29, 2012
Struggled to watch this, it just doesn't grip you like other Studio Ghibli films.
October 2, 2013
A good third of this story led up to something weighty of social criticism... however it drops everything for a generic bad vs. good, generic consequences, and it doesn't even entertain at that...
September 24, 2013
An entertaining film overall, but the amount of plot holes that are shoved and rushed into the flick make the movie boring and confusing.