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Gedo senki (Tales from Earthsea) Reviews

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May 3, 2012
Gor? 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+)
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.
Mei Han
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.
April 9, 2011
The son of Japan's most highly acclaimed animator tries his hand at directing an animated film based on Ursula K. LeGuin's famous EARTHSEA books. All things considered, it's a decent enough film, but TALES FROM EARTHSEA is no classic. Fans of the books should be warned that the film is merely an amalgam of several different scenes from the third volume, with an occasional nod to the second. But sometimes it seems as though Goro doesn't know where he wants to go with the material, as the film's actual plot can seem confusing at times. It also drags along at a very slow pace, especially in the middle when the protagonists spend time on a farm, even though it DOES offer some fairly compelling character development. A much faster pace could have been beneficial. There are also some aspects of the story that are never fully made clear, such as Arren's motivation to murder his father and the purpose behind his copy/alter-ego, and I was particularly baffled at the scene where the girl turns into a dragon with practically no explanation. The main villain, Cob, is also very underdeveloped; he only comes to life in the last forty minutes of the film, and even then, his character is nowhere nearly as memorable as, say, Muska from CASTLE IN THE SKY. The nasty slave trader Hare is a much better baddie--he actually gets a lot to do and is arguably more interesting than his "master". Aside from its obvious faults, TALES FROM EARTHSEA does have its share of saving graces. Tamiya Terashima's musical score is fantastic, and there are some sequences where Goro truly does shine, notably the dramatic opening scenes and at least two dream sequences. And the animation and the backgrounds are as beautiful and richly detailed as any Ghibli film. As far as the dubbing goes, it's mostly excellent, just like all the others Disney has done--Cheech Marin and Mariska Hargitay both steal the show, and Timothy Dalton does an outstanding job as the main character Sparrowhawk. Only the somewhat confused and strange vibes of Willem Dafoe's evil Cob (I couldn't tell whether he was an ideal choice for the role or not) and the considerably lesser (albeit still competent) performances of the leads are the weak links, but even then, they are hardly that detrimental. In short, TALES FROM EARTHSEA is far from the travesty that many have declared it as, but it's not a great film either. If you don't expect it to be the equivalent of Miyazaki Senior OR as a compliment to the books, it will probably play much better. As it is, it's a mixed bag.
Mike Flamand Reviews
September 15, 2013
Tales from Earthsea. The 2006 Studio Ghibli film both written and directed by Goro Miyazaki. Son of the famed Hayao Miyazaki. A bit of a side note, this is actually Goro's first film and being son of a legend I'm sure Goro felt no pressure at all... Based off of the Earthsea book series, in a nutshell we follow Arren, a young prince and a wizard Sparrowhawk as they try to solves what ails the world they live in.

I did not like this film very much. It's as simple as that. Goro took what was sure to be great source material and did nothing particularly good with it. Sometimes that can be the fault of many people, but being both the screenwriter and director the blame falls squarely on him on this one. This must be particularly hard for obvious reasons and I actually feel bad for the man. I really do.

As usual the world that the film is set is as expansive and wonderful looking as it is beautiful. Creating a world you would most likely love to be in yourself. Seemingly standard for Ghibli films, but that is pretty much where the compliments end.

Goro seemed to miss the mark in just about every other regard. Most of all there is a lack of heart or welcoming feel to the film. It feels like a long 2 hours that could have been cut down by at least 15 minutes or more. Even then there needed to be a lot of tweaking.

With the characters you could see bits of greatness, but for the most part they were all incredibly hallow and uninteresting. I just couldn't like or hate (in the good way) any of them. I mean we have even seen these types in Ghibli films before, so how was it even possible for Goro miss the mark so badly then?

Next to the heart the next biggest letdown was the writing itself. It was bland and I can almost guarantee it did not do the source material justice. Things were almost confusing and there was no style to any of it whatsoever. The writing and film just left so much to be desired. So very much.

I mean I just had absolutely no connection with anyone or anything in this film and I could go on and on about little things here and there, but I think I covered things well enough.

In the end I was thoroughly disappointed and just watched by far the worst Ghibli film I have ever seen. The people at Ghibli should have seen what was going on during production and tried to right this. I'm convinced they left Goro to drown on this one. Except for the visuals everything and I mean everything was bland to outright bad... I usually like these types of films too.

1/2 out of 4 stars.
Would I watch it again? No...
May 7, 2013
It heavily suffers from weak screenplay and poor strorytelling. The story itself is a lot confusing in addition to weak direction by Goro Miyazaki. Worst Ghibli film to date. Hayao would have directed this.
March 28, 2011
Bluntly, Goro Miyazaki should not aim to succeed Hayao Miyazaki. Perhaps he should continue his career in landscaping; the crudeness of that field of work shows in the amazing lack of intricate subtleties that made Miyazaki senior's work great. It's relaxing to know that Hayao Miyazaki disapproved of the whole thing.
September 2, 2013
After Miyazaki finished with Howl's Moving Castle, it seemed that if he was becoming really popular, maybe his SON can be popular too. So apparently his son, Goro was jealous of his films and thought that if "he can do it, SO CAN I!" So naturally a film was in development by Miyazaki's son. But, one has to think, "if they can have Miyazaki the genius who makes films out of mere imagination and become critical successes, surely his son can do the exact opposite with his film...

WELL TOO BAD! That's what he did!

And thus the film that was considered the Studio Ghibli avalanche was none other than Tales of Earthsea, and to be frank, not only was this considered a box-office bomb, but also the biggest disappointment from Studio Ghibli, period. Goro's father warned him that the movie is not good, and it needs to be revised, but, naturally Goro was also fighting for Hayao's approval.

Yeah, we all knew this thing was coming. Unfortunately I have to talk about it. So I guess its appropriate that we talk about the plot?

Well, to be honest. The only thing I can tell you was that it was poorly based off someone else work, which that author was given a private showing. Stating that this movie is not her book, it was his movie, and it was a good movie. Well, unfortunately, we thought not.

Remember when I said that Pom Poko was one of the worst animated films in existence in Japanese history? Well, I lied. While that film kept you entertained more for the formula and at least it was interesting enough to see how they could create something like that, but, here it's just...

Couldn't they get anything out of this film in terms of, EVERYTHING? Out of all the Studio Ghibli films, this is without a doubt, the weakest, the very weakest I've seen.

There isn't much I can say till Miyazaki's next film, which will get to that one later.
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