Tales From Earthsea talkback

Opening in several major U.S. cities today (New York, L.A., San Francisco, Seattle, etc.) is Studio Ghibli’s Tales of Earthsea, from director Goro Miyazaki (Hayao’s son).

The L.A. Times was not impressed. The San Francisco Chronicle praised its many action sequences. The New York Times found it “stolid and humorless”. The big question is, to our readers who’ve seen it, what did you think?


  • http://thelift.kohrtoons.com Robert Kohr

    I saw Tales of Earth Sea over a year ago, I bought I DVD of it while in Singapore (a boot leg probably, at the time there was talk that it would never come to the states) That said I thought it was terrible, dull and uninspiring. In general I love Miyazaki, I loved his museum outside of Tokyo and I count many of Ghibili’s films among my favorites. This is not one of them.

    • tom k

      this movie is by Miyasaki’s son. And I believe Miyasaki called it, a piece of turd… Not making it up. I read an article somewhere a while back.

      • http://thelift.kohrtoons.com Robert Kohr

        Hey tom yea I knew it was his son Goro, Miyazaki never wanted his son to “follow in his foot-steps” and year I heard that sentiment, its unsurprising though. From the interviews I read of papa Miyazaki he hates many things with society and also has a bit of a sorted family life. Don’t get me wrong, he is a brilliant creator, though Goro did reference the fact that he understood from a young age that his father was more invested in his art.

        All that said its tough to rail on a first time director, maybe if it had not been Ghibili and another studio it would be held to a lower standard. One thing I will give him credit for is going against his dad and making the film any way. That said you have to credit the father for allowing it to be made even though he had his reservations. Besides failing is a learning experience and its goof filmmaking didn’t come to easy otherwise he would rest on the laurels that come with the last name Miyazaki.

  • http://leestilldraws.blogspot.com/ Lee

    Bah, it’s watchable, but definitley not one of Studio Ghibli’s best, particulary in terms of the story. I found it hard to feel anything for the characters and there cause. 6 out of 10.

  • http://kaseygifford.com Killskerry

    A long long time ago I saw a japanese subbed copy of Tales of Earthsea and I just went out to watch it again here. I honestly don’t know why I went to see it again. Maybe I stupidly thought it would be …better this time or something.

    It is not a good movie period and it is a really really bad when you score it next to any other ghibli movie. When you consider all the studio has accomplished I think this movie is almost something to be ashamed of. I mean this movie is the reason Miyazaki came out of he so called retirement to make Ponyo.(thank goodness)

    The story is just joyless it has none of the love you find bursting out of every seam in films like Kiki’s Delivery Service or My Neighbor Totoro. I seems to be aiming more for the awe and majesty of Princess Mononoke but missing the mark completely with its bland uninteresting characters. It suffers from huge pauses in the action and a rather garbled plot among other things.

    I think that they should have just re-released Spirited Away into theaters instead of this burnt toast movie. It would have reminded everyone how truly beautiful a movie can be, not just a animated movie but ANY movie.

    • Katie J

      First off, Hayao Miyazaki never really retired. He’s announced his retirement several times but its never amounted to anything. You make it sound like he was so ashamed of Earthsea that he had to make one last movie, which is far from the truth. This movie was directed by his son, Goro Miyazaki; his first film. I think its harsh and unfair to judge this movie against Spirited Away; Hayao has had decades upon decades of experience in the animation industry. Instead of seeing this movie as a piece of trash to be carelessly discarded, I think its important to keep its context as a first film in mind. I expect that Goro learned a lot from this film, and I’m looking forward to his next project, should there be one.

      • http://kaseygifford.com Killskerry

        Well I apologize if I have false information but I heard that Earthsea was a test to see if his son could be trusted to take over and if he succeeded his dad could retire knowing his life’s work was in good hands. Obviously this didn’t happen as he expected.

        Giving someone leniency just because its their first movie is just ridiculous. His movie looked nice because he had his fathers creative team and his studio’s resources but if he can’t direct or write maybe he shouldn’t take up the family business at all. Talent isn’t genetic.

        He made a hollow film that did not carry on the real beauty or heart of the previous despite having every chance. His dad made timeless classics with half the money and half the time. But possibly worse then not stacking up to his studios reputation was the fact that he did nothing that even stood out as his own touch. Nothing new or original. He can learn all he wants but maybe he should go start his own studio and learn there.

      • http://www.artofaraya.com Danny Araya

        “Giving someone leniency just because its their first movie is just ridiculous. ”

        I strongly disagree with this statement. It’s not at all unreasonable to consider that he may have a LOT more to learn and experience to acquire before he can make movies as well as his seasoned veteran of a father.

        ” But possibly worse then not stacking up to his studios reputation was the fact that he did nothing that even stood out as his own touch. ”

        I think this is an interesting point. It makes me wonder if maybe the film felt stale and emotionless because instead of creating from the heart, he was more focused on trying to do things his father’s way and live up to Hayao Miyazaki’s legendary reputation.

      • killskerry

        I can understand (and truly sympathize) if he was under pressure because of his families unique history…but I just don’t think that makes his movie an acceptable failure. especially when you consider he had some of the best of the best there around him to guide him and give him a push in the right direction.
        It seems to me like only reason Goro Miyazaki is getting this leniency or even the chance to make movies is because of his father. Think of all the talented people around him who could have made a really good first film.
        There are so many directors and animators out there who I’m sure have much less experience Hayao Miyazaki’s son. These little people with none of the studio space, talented labor or money that Goro had, come out with brilliant debut works bursting with creativity and new ideas.

      • http://www.artofaraya.com Danny Araya

        I can’t disagree there

      • http://thelift.kohrtoons.com Robert Kohr

        “Giving someone leniency just because its their first movie is just ridiculous. ”

        Why it happens all the time, do you really think that an independent short can stand toe-to-toe with a short developed by the likes of PIXAR. Sure there are the diamonds in the rough but most don’t. I definitely feel there is a level of understanding when a 1 or 2 person show is put up against larger films.

  • http://www.animationanomaly.com Charles K.

    Does seeing it on DVD count? if so, thank you Region 2 release :)

    If so, I actually kind of like it, although it took more than one viewing for me to fully appreciate it. The action sequences are very well done, and the animation itself cannot be faulted. Visually it is on par with other Ghibli releases with some really stunning backgrounds.

    The story does tend to plod along, but once it does get going, it is actually quite good. The main character is complicated and torn inside and Wilem Defoe plays a very intriguing and connicving villain.

    The only problem with it is, if you go into it expecting to see a Hayao Miyazaki film, you will be disappointed (hence the reason I needed to watch it twice to appreciate it). This is nothing like Totoro, Spirited Away and certainly not Ponyo. Having an open mind will improve the experience.

    I’d still say it’s better than average. The film is certainly not the best I’ve seen, and it is very, very far from the worst out there, which makes it worth seeing.

  • Jesse

    My wife and I enjoyed it, but we watched the film knowing it was Goro’s first.

  • James S.

    I loved this movie, it was (like every Ghibli film) a visual feast but this one gave me something different. Maybe it was the fact that I think “Tehanu” and the rest of “the Chronicles of Earth Sea,” are some of the best fantasy novels ever written. Maybe it was that ending animation (I won’t give it away) that blew my mind. Or at least that was my version of the story for the original release and I hope the American version didn’t change a thing.

    I would use “stolid” to describe the emotions but they weren’t as strong as in other Ghibli movies. Also sometimes “Humorless” is a good thing, I don’t go into every movie expecting to laugh just like I don’t expect to be moved to tears by every movie.

  • http://swinsea.com S.W.S

    I saw it a couple years ago via a subtitled Japanese copy. Studio Ghibli never disappoints, but they do have their best and their less than best, and this unfortunately fell into the latter for me.

    Though it was a classic Ghibli-style fantasy and the story was beautiful, there was something in the way it was put together that wasn’t much more than skin deep. There wasn’t enough exploration into the characters’ personas, and it as a reviewer mentioned, it was humorless. It lacked the charm of Ghibli’s past features, though there were moments when I forgot those issues and was drawn into the more intense action scenes.

    I read the graphic novel as well, hoping for more depth, but it read more like a collection of storyboards than a comic book. Beautiful, but not what I was hoping for.

  • Eh.

    I saw it before it was released, too. I wasn’t feeling it. Didn’t grab me like the others.

  • http://www.elephantmarch.blogspot.com William Bradford

    Not their best, i’m afraid. It felt like it had the classic mistake when telling their first story, which is to cover EVERY FACET or point of view of the human condition in one film and one story (mortality, morality, fear, prejudice, war, suffering, sacrifice, compassion) with equal weight on everything. As opposed to focussing more on one or two themes, otherwise you can’t do justice to it or the characters the an hour and a half

    • NC

      “Not their best, i’m afraid. It felt like it had the classic mistake when telling their first story”

      You’re not referring to Nausicaa are you?

  • GhaleonQ

    Not only was it not very good, it revealed that Hayao Miyazaki is a terrible father. I mean, his massive output kind of suggests that he was negligent, but it’s still depressing to dwell on.

    Too bad Lasseter and company don’t appreciate anime more widely. At least Summer Wars is coming to save the day.

    • Eh.

      Shoot! That’s right. When does THAT come out? It kinda reminds me of the Digimon movie from 10 years ago.

      • Dave Jesteadt

        Summer Wars is coming out this fall, October or November. NY/LA and hopefully more after that, if they do well.

      • Chris Sobieniak

        It should, it was directed by the same guy, Mamoru Hosoda. Another of his films I would recommend anyone seeing is “The Girl Who Leapt Through Time”.
        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mamoru_Hosoda

      • http://danielhamman.blogspot.com Hellohue

        Mamoru Hosoda is the director of Summer Wars and the first two Digimon movies, a One Piece film, along with The Girl Who Leapt Through Time. He was also the first director attached to Ghibli’s adaptation of Howl’s Moving Castle, but Miyazaki took over after ‘creative differences’ which neither side have wanted to go into details about in any subsequent interviews.

        A few storyboards of Hosoda’s ‘Howl’ survive, can be seen at the bottom of this page — http://www.animeclick.it/notizia.php?id=19022

    • james suhr

      I’m very sure that Lasseter and company do, but it’s far more easier to focus on introducing one artist’s work versus spreading out all over. This gives audiences a focal point when reaching out to anime.

    • erlab

      Summer Wars will have advanced screenings in select cities on August 28th and 29th.

  • http://danielhamman.blogspot.com Hellohue

    Immense pressure surrounded Goro during production and around its release it was difficult to distinguish between criticism of the film itself and the father-son dispute behind the scenes. Now that’s not a part of the American release, it’s interesting to see that the American critics aren’t convinced by its storytelling either.

    It is a film made by some amazing artists (Ghibli’s most wonderful animators supervising, and some of the richest background visuals in any animated film, thanks no doubt to Goro’s background in architecture) all lead by a less than great one. Goro wasn’t born to make animation, though his father was. Regardless, his father had at least 15 years of experience in the field before making his feature directorial debut, but without the creative small-production creator-driven television culture to allow talents to blossom, Goro had this and nothing to prove himself with, hence it feeling less than focused.

    Miyazaki said of the film ‘It was honest.’, which I agree with. It was Goro on his own, without studio pressure to do this or that, perhaps he needed better guidance. His influence only seemed to be the shadow of his father; there are obvious nods to Miyazaki’s earliest comics but nothing that feels definitely Goro’s. It will be especially interesting to see how Disney markets Arrietty, which I can’t wait for, and sounds as though it will be the debut of the heir Ghibli’s been waiting for, Hiromasa Yonebayashi.

  • http://unseenfilms.blogspot.com/ dbborroughs

    I love the film. I think its wildly under appreciated. To me it perfectly matched the fantasies I read growing up. I also thing the English voice cast is fantastic.

    I think the fact that it is radically different from other Ghibli films is why people don’t like it. Its not what they expected, which is what makes its great to me. Truth be told you probably can compare it to the Little Norse Prince from Isao Takahata.

    I find it sad that the battle between Goro and his dad is being dredged up. The bad words from the elder Miyazaki are being taken in some quarters as a reason to hate the film. I’ve read that Hayao had some early input into the film and that some of what Goro did was based on some of his father’s work. I know that the elder Miyazaki can be a real cranky and competitive man and more than one source has said he is afraid of being shown up. I could never believe that he would have said a kind word. (mentioning it is kind of like the people who are mentioning Le Guin’s displeasure, with the film. Considering that she has been talking bad about the film from the moment Hayao stepped away says a great deal about her credibility)

    Say what you will the film really is a masterpiece, and in a few years I think it will gain stature when we look back at it.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      It certainly is one interesting point to make of the film, though I do wonder how close could it come to the same impact or later acclaim that Hols, Prince of the Sun took on itself. It would be years, even decades until we know for sure of whether this film achieves anything at all.

      Speaking of which, Hulu has up “Little Norse Prince Valiant” if anyone wants to check that out (a pan & scan copy dubbed in English, but it’s there).

    • mawnck

      dbborroughs …

      I strenuously disagree with just about your entire comment, and also find it rather insulting to myself, and everyone else who thought Tales From Earthsea was awful.

      First of all, you’ve made up a lot of reasons why so few people were impressed by it (other than its being lousy), but have said nothing about what YOU like about it. Please tell us, other than the visual art of the Ghibli staff and the work of the American dub cast, what’s to like? Which part of the story engaged your imagination? Which character did you identify with? Without reference to the books, what the heck was the darn thing about?

      Accusing the critics of being negative toward the film just because of Hayao Miyazaki’s criticism of it is absurd. No one wanted or expected this movie to stink, regardless of what the brilliant but eccentric old coot said about it. He didn’t like Beauty and the Beast either.

      I was not expecting a masterpiece, but I was expecting coherence, pacing, plot, and at least one character interesting enough to want to pay some attention to. I have never been so thoroughly disappointed in a movie in my life.

      It can not be compared with The Little Norse Prince, except that The Little Norse Prince is an infinitely better movie made by an experienced, talented director.

      As for Ursula Leguin’s criticism, in what ways is it unfounded? Leguin’s credibility rests in her body of work. She spent years of her life meticulously creating an epic fantasy world, and then a garden designer spent nine months reducing it to gobbledygook. If you think the movie “perfectly matched” the Earthsea series, then you clearly haven’t read any of it in a very long time. If anything, her criticism has been remarkably restrained.

      My own biggest criticism of the movie is that its negatives seem to have been created deliberately by Goro. They’re not just the work of an inexperienced director, but one who was so enamored with his own vision that he felt entitled to be obtuse, confusing and dull in expressing it. His source material was loaded with possibility, even if he did intend to make wholesale changes to the storyline. Perhaps he had too much confidence that his staff could gloss over any directorial or storytelling failures with their artwork. Perhaps he watched his father’s movies and completely misdiagnosed the source of their appeal. In any case, it seems to me that Tales From Earthsea is a result of hubris moreso than a mere lack of competence. He really wouldn’t have had to do much to turn out an acceptable Earthsea movie, whereas making this big a mess took some serious effort.

      Of course Miyazaki could have made a better movie. But so could his animators. And so could another garden designer.

      • http://unseenfilms.blogspot.com/ dbborroughs

        What I liked about the film is that it is ultimately a grand adventure. Its a story in a real place. You can feel the world bleeding off the edges of the screen. Watching the film I had a sense that the world existed outside of the film. I love that the film didn’t have everything explained at every step because this is a world that these characters live in and they don’t need to have every object and action explained to them. I LOVED that the film was daring enough (at least by many films standards) to let us figure out many of the details. To me any film that manages to trust its audience and rewards it gets points in my book.I find we learn everything we need to know as we go along.

        For me all of the characters had an existence beyond the film itself. I love that the characters are not easily read, that they all arc and move in ways that are not readily predictable. To me the characters in most Ghibli films move in set arcs and are pretty much stock characters (plucky heroine, a mother figure, a father figure, a male presence who is more an aide for the heroine to travel with). Aaron is decidedly outside the mold of a Ghibli character. First off he is a man, most Ghibli films have a woman at the center Then he stabs his father at the outset and remains really troubled for most of the films running time.

        As some one who grew up reading meaty fantasy films it very much mirrored the stories that I loved as child and later as an adult. By the way I have not read the books so what I got out of it is from the film itself. I don’t feel it perfectly matched the series since I haven’t read the books. I have read hundreds of others from really crappy pulps to the classics of the genre and to me the film matched the feeling that I got from the best of them.

        The film also seems more together than say Hayao Miyazaki’s Ponyo, which to me is visually stunning but dramatically a mess or Howl’s Moving Castle with implodes in the final half hour. Even Kiki’s Delivery Service seems to faulter in the last half hour with the airship piece, which while stunning, feels out of place.

        As for what it’s about I posted this elsewhere: The story has a great “plague” or evil in the land. People are leaving their homes, magic is dying, Dragons which are never seen are found to be fighting. The world is dying. Sparrowhawk a wizard wanders the land trying to find out what is causing all of the problems. He happens upon Aaron who is a prince and who in a dark fit stabbed his father, the king and fled into the night. Sparrowhawk takes Aaron along with him and the pair head off together and the look to find the source of the evil and stop it.

        To me the actual plot was clear. I don’t think there are story failures, I think it works.

        If I my comment lead you to believe that the critics took the familial battle between Miyazaki’s into account I’m sorry. That was my mistake. I’ve been reading a great deal on reaction to the film and I find that many people have taking the infighting comments between father and son as definitive proof that the film isn’t worth seeing. Many people are unaware of Miyazaki’s cranky nature (something which you are aware of) and to take it seriously does the film a disservice.

        My unhappiness with LeGuin is not in her finding that it changed her stories, or even that she didn’t like the film, she has every right for doing that. Rather it’s that she has been saying bad things about the film from the minute Miyazaki the elder left the project. While she has every right not to be happy with the film, I find anyone who totally dismisses a project before a frame of film is shot, even if it is based on their own story, partly suspect. If she didn’t want it to happen she should never have sold the rights, or only sold the rights to the part of the story she wanted to see made.

        I know that Diana Wynne Jones isn’t a fan of Howl’s Moving Castle, however she has right said that the book is the book and a film is the film.

        I personally never expected “the books” since I had read that the film was only telling a story based upon one small part of one of the books. Besides I don’t think the Ghibli adaptions have been all that faithful with with Howl’s being changed, I believe Ponyo has some changes and even Kiki’s source novel is different than the finished film.

        I think the serious feel of some of the Little Norse Prince matches the feel of this film. I don’t think they are exactly brothers but I do think they are kin with a real feel in some of the sequences that is missing from most other Ghibli (except director Isao Takahata’s work in say Grave of Fireflies). I think its kind of hard to compare them on a which is better since Prince is often jerky and jagged, lurching from thing to thing. I do think that Prince is a masterpiece even with its flaws. I also think Earthsea is one as well.

        As for Little Norse Prince being made by a more experienced director, not by much. Takahata, at least according to IMDB had only done some TV animation, feature film wise he’s in a dead heat with Goro. (Its also too early to say who is the more talented since we can look back at Takahata’s almost 50 year career while Goro only has had one film which proves nothing.)

        Ultimately I think we’re going to have to agree to disagree, since its clear this film hit an extremely sour note with you, while I really like it. It’s clear that your displeasure with the film comes from an honest place and comes from actually having seen the film. My speaking out in favor of the film comes from genuinely liking the film and because many of the people who are dismissing the film on the internet, and some who are my friends, are basing their dislike on things that have come without seeing it. You’ve seen it and don’t like it, and I don’t think there is anything I can say to change that.

        (And as for the voice actors-What’s not to like about Timothy Dalton?)

  • Andrew Kieswetter

    I saw Tales From Earthsea here in Australia 3 years ago
    in a subbed version.(I’ve seen the English dubbed version
    on DVD) I thought it was a good and enjoyable movie but not up to the same high quality as other Ghibli features.
    Some scenes are truly wonderful,but others fall flat.

    What is Goro Miyazaki doing now,btw?

  • PorcoRosso

    I think the whole history of this production is pretty shameful.

    Goro Miyazaki produced a decidedly unskilled movie, despite having the entire resources of Studio Ghibli laid at his door, and he was given this project with not one single minute of animation production experience under his belt. He supervised garden design at the Ghibli Museum, not an indignificant role and I’m sure he is very skilled in that arena, but on what planet does a garden designer suddenly get offered a multi-millin Yen animated movie to make when there are so many talented and experienced animation crew who have paid their dues?
    I was very sorry to see this happen as, for me, it substantially soured the high standing Studio Ghibli had for me in terms of the positive work and values they have displayed previously.

    I watched the movie on DVD from Japan a while ago and, outstandingly for a Ghibli production, found it so dull and unengaging I actually started doing something else halfway through watching it.

    Sadly, its not just a bad Ghibli film, its a bad film all round.

  • http://www.leonardomaciel.com Leonardo Maciel

    I don`t think it`s that bad!

    I watched it I think 2 years ago and, as someone said here already, the animation is solid and the overall design and backgrounds are great!

    But it`s not a Miyazaki movie, it`s a good animated movie, but it`s not among the greatest (what the studio usually accomplishes).
    The story could be better, there`s a point in the middle of the movie where things get a little slow, but it`s a good movie overall.

    I think people are trashing it because they were expecting a Hayao movie, but you guys should remember to compare it with the american movies and to other japanese studios movies also.

    (sorry for my english)

  • Mesterius

    Wow, surpriced to see this getting released to US theaters now, as it made it to DVD in Europe (at least in my home country, Norway) four years ago. Haven’t seen the movie myself… but one of my animation teachers called it a prime example of how NOT to direct an animated feature.

    • mawnck

      The US release was held up by the Sci-Fi Channel cable network, who did a live action Earthsea miniseries under a contract deal that expired this year.

      Supposedly it’s even worse, but I haven’t seen it.

      Here, BTW, are Ursula LeGuin’s comments about the movie:
      http://www.ursulakleguin.com/GedoSenkiResponse.html

      • http://www.artofaraya.com Danny Araya

        Thanks for that link! It shed a lot of interesting insight on the topic

      • http://allenpov.blogspot.com Enoch Allen

        Funniest part of Ms. LeGuin’s response to Goro’s Earthsea: ” . . . [after the screening] we went to have dinner at my son’s house. Elinor the corgi behaved with great propriety, while Mr Toshio Suzuki did headstands on the lawn.

        Hard for me to picture a Ghibli professional doing headstands, or somersaults–even harder (but funnier) picturing Mr. Suzuki doing them . . . random and priceless . . .

  • Matt Sullivan

    Meh.

  • BobT

    Man, it’s been three years since I’ve seen this.
    I didn’t like it at the time, but I’m kinda surprised I remember almost nothing of the film.

    Usually I remember at least some scenes from a film, even if it’s not that good.

    But all I can remember is a gorgeous looking medieval setting, some sword fighting, a shapshifting witch dragon and some nicely animated water.

    I also remember thinking that they didn’t introduce some characters properly. As if they just assumed I’d be familiar with the stories and characters.

    But without looking it up, I can’t for the life of me remember what the plot of this movie was. Wich is kinda telling of how little of an impact this movie made on me

  • http://sota.dk andreas n. grontved

    This movie is not a good ghibli.

    But the whole situation surrounding this film wasn’t optimal from the get-go.

    Goro-kun might be able to make amazing films, but we can’t test that by throwing some beforehandedly boring concept at him and expect him to make it fantastical.

    I say, Ghibli, give Goro-kun another try, and let him decide what it should be.

  • Brian

    I don’t understand the hate all this film gets. This is Goro’s first attempt at making a film and going knowing that this is a great start. It has its flaws, to me honestly this was really just the ending of the film which had no real explanation and really went against the characters themselves. The film itself is beautiful, it has a true mood to it, it is darker and more slow paced than other ghibli films. It is something different from the typical Ghibli film. It may not live up to those other Ghibli Films either but if you take a step back and stop comparing it to other ghibli films or other miyazaki films you can see that the film is not BAD. It is merely average and shows an up and coming director who has taken his first step into filmmmaking.

  • http://www.ghiblicon.blogspot.com daniel thomas macinnes

    My take on Gedo Senki? Toshio Suzuki panicked.

    This had more to do with Ghibli’s line of succession than anything else. Goro Miyazaki was picked in a flash, in hopes that he could be molded into his father’s career, but without ever properly paying his dues. This was proven to be a mistake, a very rare one for Suzuki-san. His instincts have nearly always been impeccable. Oh, well, they managed to rebound nicely.

    What I hated about this movie was how Goro wasted so much time airing the family’s dirty laundry in public. I found that offensive. I also found it offensive that he was dropped into the director’s chair, and presumably the throne of the empire itself, like a spoiled prince. How that must have angered the lapsed socialist father!

    Then, after piling on the family melodrama in public, Goro arrives with a movie that shamefully steals from his father. WTF?! He rips off the castle chase from Puss in Boots. He rips off the 1982 manga The Journey of Shuna. He rips off Nausicaa and Heidi. He rips off the battle with the wolves from Horus, Prince of the Sun (don’t dare call it “little norse prince”!) – a spectacular opening from the most important anime movie ever made. Ugh!

    What original idea does Goro have? Oh, yes – the opening scene where the hero kills his father. Good grief. Jim Morrison called, and he wants his shtick back. What an embarrassment.

    Over time, however, I’ve grown to be more sympathetic to Goro. It appears that Father Miyazaki has taken the reins, and essentially put him through film school, with various minor film projects for Ghibli and the Ghibli Museum. Goro’s two shorts were very well made, in fact.

    And Ghibli may have found their next-generation director with Yonebayashi-san, and the recent release of The Borrowers. This would take some pressure off the studio. Now if we could only get Takahata to finally get cracking on his long-awaited Ghibli film.

    Goro will have a second crack at the bat. No pressures on him, but that next movie will essentially make or break his career as a film director. The Japanese public has lost their good will (badmouthing mommy and daddy will do that). So everything will come down to Goro, and how badly he wants his success. He will have to earn his father’s throne.

    So there’s no pressure at all. But it’s okay. Hayao Miyazaki was in the same place before. Maybe it’s the family tradition.

    Anyway, that’s my sort-of official Ghibli Blog take on this topic. You’ll notice I haven’t talked much about Tales From Earthsea. There’s a reason for that. It’s not a very good or memorable movie. It’s grim, preachy, dull and witless. The family drama is the real show, and everybody knows it.

  • http://tillmyhands.blogspot.com Anoniguy

    It was visually spectacular, but there were serious flaws, which have already been discussed, best of all by Ursula K LeQuin herself. I would call it a C+, probably. I enjoyed it – I don’t feel like I wasted my money or two hours of my life seeing it, which is decidedly less than I can say for other films I’ve seen recently.

    I think that if it hadn’t been made in the Ghibli studios, it would have received a slightly kinder reception, because the expectations would have been different. And there would have doubtlessly been much less behind the scenes drama, etc… Just a better atmosphere to release the film into.

  • Chris

    It’s kind of interesting that both father and son started out by adapting other’s work. Castle of Cagliostro was part of the Lupin III anime franchise, which was based on a manga (By a guy with the great name of Monkey Punch), which in turn was loosely based on some french novels. (Miyazaki also worked on a few episodes of the TV series).

    In that case, Miyazaki sort of improved on the character a bit-he modified him into a more likeable character than that seen in most other Lupin productions (Including the first film, the terrible Mystery of Mamo).

    It does seem from the previews that this film seems to take too much from his father’s work. Granted, Miyazaki is not without fault-He often reuses his own character designs a lot (and this is a problem with anime in general, although there is more variety than some critics like to admit).

  • http://amblagar.com santiago lozano

    I think this film lacks salt and pepper…
    the whole project has a lack of something…
    it is boring to see…the drama and motivations for the characters… it just didn’t make a connection with me…
    just my personal opinion… visually it’d good, but it could have been much more spectacular…
    and maybe with a more interesting chara design…they are like stock ghibly characters…
    come on guys at ghibly, surprise us next time!!!
    you got enough to do it!
    PS> sorry for my bad english!