Tales from Earthsea anime review

I’d heard Tales From Earthsea was bad, but I had no idea it was terribly boring as well.

They tried to shovel too much of the Earthsea mythos into one movie and ended up with a junky senseless patchwork. It’s been a while since I read the originals anyway, so I tried to watch it from the point of view of a complete newcomer to the series. Even then it didn’t make much sense.

Was there any real reason for Therru to be a dragon? And they go on and on about Arren’s fear (of death?) driving him crazy, but why should a 17-year old be that scared of dying? What’s gone on in his life so far that made him that way? And why steal the sword? Why kill his father in the process? And the Shadow, it arose from his fear? That’s not how it works in Earthsea! Whoops, newcomer perspective shot to pieces.

And Tenar just played a decorative role throughout. It would have been just as well if she hadn’t been there. Same with Therru, come to think of it. Heck, same with Ged/Sparrowhawk. None of them were needed in this movie, which is just about one boy learning to face his fears. You could have set it in any other world and given him some random old mentor and things would have worked out exactly the same way, or better. No wonder Ursula Le Guin commented, “It’s your movie, it’s not my book.”

The pacing was kinda odd too. Things never got really heated or exciting. There was always a dampener somewhere. Ooh, he’s getting attacked by wolves…wait no, they were run off easily. Ooh, he got kidnapped…wait no, Ged rescued him easily. Ooh, a showdown between Ged and a mind-controlled Arren…wait no, that was over in 5 seconds, followed by a sermon. Then the showdown on the rooftop stretched on so long and in so many fits and starts that it never got good. In the end, Dragonus Ex Machina, bad wizard gets fried, everyone lives happily ever after.

We don’t even get to see Arren go back and pay for his crimes like he said he would. Sure he says he’ll go, but the next time we see him he’s working on the farm like always and giggling like a schoolgirl at Ged’s stories. Uhh, are you the same prince who just murdered his dad and fled the country or was that someone else? It’s kind of ironic that a movie about the importance of life and living it ends with an unrepentant murderer laughing his ass off like there’s no tomorrow.

Last question: Therru is a dragon. What’s that got to do with the dragons that were fighting at the beginning of the series? And what about Tenar’s story about Therru’s parents burning and abandoning her, was that a lie? If yes, why? If no, huh? Why would her dragon-parents burn and leave her?

tl;dr: Tales from Earthsea is a massive mess. The art is as gorgeous as ever and I liked the soundtrack, but everything else about it was severely below average. If it hadn’t been from Studio Ghibli, something like this would never have been released in theaters.

Now for Howl’s Moving Castle.

You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.

Leave a Reply

Powered by WordPress