REVIEW: Tales From Earthsea (2006)

Anime has grown to become a huge genre in the last few years, and if you’re into it, chances are you’ve heard of the wildly popular series ‘Tales of Earthsea’, and their rather strange spin-off ‘Tales of the Unforgotten Realms’, which is also a series of visual novels. But what about the original series? Well, here’s my review of the second season of the anime, Tales from Earthsea, and its rather good.

I first got into fantasy with the original Dragonlance series, so it’s only fitting that I first got into the world of Earthsea. This is the latest in the series, and it has three distinct elements: children’s fantasy, adult fantasy, and computer games.

CHECK : Tales from Earthsea (2006)


The year 2006 marked the directorial debut of Goro Miyazaki, son of the venerable animation master Hayao Miyazaki. Based on the Tales of Earthsea series by Ursula K. Le Guin, in the high fantasy genre, Tales of Earthsea tells the story of Prince Arryn of Enlad and the wizard Spurgeon. I’ve never seen this movie, and all I know of the series is a miniseries I saw years ago. Tales from Earth is considered one of the worst Studio Ghibli films, and Goro Miyazaki’s work on The Earwig and the Witch didn’t really impress me. But I prefer to give things a chance and ignore things like reputation. The characters in Tales From Earthsea are impressively talented, and fantasy is one of my favorite genres, so maybe this isn’t so bad. Let’s see. Dragons fight in the sky, the kingdom of Enlad is in decline, and Prince Arryn is nowhere to be found. This troubles the king (Brian George) when his advisor, the wizard Root, tells him about the separation of dragons and humans, who were once one species. On his way to his quarters, the king is mortally wounded by his own son, Prince Arryn (Matt Levine). The prince runs away and eventually meets Sparrowhawk, a wizard (Timothy Dalton) who protects, teaches and feeds Arryn. During their journey, Arryn sees a young girl being molested by three men and he intercedes for her, but she is not very grateful and runs away from him. Arren and Sperber go to the house of Tenar (Mariska Hargitay), a close friend of Sperber, who allows the two men to stay in her house. Arryn reconnects with the girl he saved, which turns out to be Tenar’s adopted daughter, Terru (Blair Restanjo). When Cob (Willem Dafoe), a man from Sperber’s past, begins to threaten the women, Arryn and Sperber fall into a trap. Arryn will have to choose life and overcome the darkness within her. word-image-4611 Tales of Earthsea is a quirky film, and I can understand why it’s not as popular as most of Studio Ghibli’s work. Like I said, I haven’t read the source material, but I have to imagine that the character development and world building are better explained there than here. The film opens with a thrilling adventure scene at sea and immediately moves into the action when two dragons fight to the death. Then, without any explanation, the protagonist kills his own father and goes on his way. The first five minutes or so had me completely enthralled; I had no idea what was going to happen next, but there had to be something special to tie all these random but exciting events together. Nothing ever happens, and for most of the film people sit or ride in silence. Actually, I’m all for small quiet moments in movies, as long as they’re character-driven or set in a fantastic setting, like in this movie. And to be fair, there are a few episodes like this, like in the beginning when the music goes off as Arryn and Sparrowhawk drive through the countryside and head for the next town. But most of the time that could have been spent instilling love for the characters in the audience is instead spent in silence or in musings that don’t make much sense. There should have been some sort of bond between Arryn and Sparrowhawk over the course of the film, but by the end I feel nothing for them. Does Arryn realize how much Sparrowhawk has done for him? Does he consider him a member of the family? Will they meet again? The film doesn’t seem too concerned about these issues. Arryn is practically a blank slate, and they give the most boring answer possible to the central question of why he would kill his own father. I was sure there would be an explosive response to this question. Maybe his father was bad. Maybe it’s bad. They could have had an incredibly complicated relationship that inevitably led to tragedy. but no, the movie says a bad guy lives in Arren and forced him to do it. This has never been explained or investigated. You say it once, and that’s it. word-image-4612 Arryn isn’t even the worst character in the movie, that honor goes to Earth. I can only assume she was more sympathetic and understanding in the books, because here she’s a real brat. When Arryn saves her life from Koba’s henchmen, she stares at him and runs away. This could be seen as a misunderstanding; perhaps she thinks Arryn has bad intentions towards her as well. But when they are introduced to the house of Tenar, Terru remains cold to Arryn. She even yells at him when he tries to bring Tenar’s oxen back to the barn, asking if he has come to kill the lamb she helped give birth to. Terru explains that she despises anyone who doesn’t care, and Tenar later explains that the girl comes from an abusive family. But Arryn had already cared, especially Terru’s. I don’t understand this character, and he’s one of the most hated Ghibli characters I’ve ever seen. She eventually survives Koba’s attack and turns into a dragon, which contradicts Ruth’s talk of separating dragons and humans. I’m sure the books explain it better, and maybe Terru isn’t a first rate witch either. But sometimes it made it hard to read Tales of the Earth to the end. word-image-4613 Sparrowhawk and Tenar do much better, especially with their dubbers. I love their relationship too and wish it was more revealed. They are both kind, generous and do everything they can to help Arryn and Earth. I also like how Sperber uses his skills, e.g. B. who dresses up at the market and saves Arren from being attacked by a wild animal. Cob also started in a very interesting way. I really like his character design; he’s androgynous in a disturbing way. Willem Dafoe is also absolutely perfect in this role. He is so scary, and his sentences are so quiet that they make the viewer nervous. I also like the motivation, which fits the theme the film is trying to explore. The struggle between natural life and immortality that Cob pursues is an interesting idea. I also love the scene where Terru explains to Arryn that the true path to immortality is to give life to others. There are bits and pieces of a great film here, but in the end it all just doesn’t add up. Tales From Earthsea runs nearly two hours, which should be enough time to develop such a small core and dive into these themes and concepts. But so much time is wasted on hollow dialogue or complete silence that the characters and plot suffer. The animation is great though, and the original music by Tamiya Terashima is good enough to listen to on its own. Too bad there was so much talent and beauty in these characters and this complicated story.

Location – 3
Actor – 7
Management/publishing – 5
Music/Sound – 10
Animation and character development – 5


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The animation in this film is great, and the original music by Tamiya Terashima is good enough to listen to on its own. Too bad there was so much talent and beauty in these characters and this complicated story.

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