While Goro Miyazak’s animated feature, Tales from Earthsea, stands on its own as an entertaining film that did well in its Japanese theatrical run, there’s no doubt that the inevitable comparisons to his father and scrutiny from the book’s fans would overshadow the film’s merits to some degree.
Following in the footsteps of the savagely panned 2004 SyFy Channel (then Sci-Fi Channel) mini-series Legend of Earthsea was probably tough enough. Taking on Ursula K. Le Guin’s highly popular Earthsea book series as your animated feature directorial debut was even tougher. However, living in the shadow of a famous Oscar-winning father may be the toughest order of all. And while Goro Miyazak’s animated feature, Tales from Earthsea, stands on its own as an entertaining film that did well in its Japanese theatrical run, there’s no doubt that the inevitable comparisons to his father and scrutiny from the book’s fans would overshadow the film’s merits to some degree.
Released now in the US on DVD, the film is nothing if not beautiful and shouldn’t be summarily dismissed because it’s not a faithful book adaptation or that it doesn’t quite live up to expectations of a Studio Ghibli / Hiyao Miyazaki film. As a feature film debut, it’s an excellent effort. The DVD, while not Blu-ray, is still pleasant on the eyes and easy to watch. And of course, anything with Cheech Marin doing voice work is hard to pass up. Bonus materials include a Behind the Studio documentary that provides much insight into the film’s origins. If you’re a fan of the Miyazaki style of animation, of tales depicting man’s struggles to find balance between nature and civilization, then you’ll want to add this to your collection.
Below is the official release:
From Disney and Studio Ghibli comes the epic animated adventure Tales From Earthsea, directed by Goro Miyazaki, and featuring the voices of Timothy Dalton, Willem Dafoe, Cheech Marin, and Mariska Hargitay.
Based on the classic “Earthsea” fantasy book series by Ursula Le Guin, Tales from Earthsea is set in a mythical world filled with magic and bewitchment. Journey with Lord Archmage Sparrowhawk, a master wizard, and Arren, a troubled young prince, on a tale of redemption and self-discovery as they search for the force behind a mysterious imbalance in the land of Earthsea; crops are dwindling,dragons have reappeared, and humanity is giving way to chaos. Featuring a timeless story and magnificent hand-drawn animation,Tales From Earthsea is must-have DVD for every film enthusiast’s collection.
U.S. Release Date:
March 8, 2011
Feature Run Time:
Suggested Retail Pricing:
1-Disc DVD = $29.99 U.S./$35.99 Canada
The World of Ghibli including:
Behind the Studio
Enter The Lands Studio Ghibli Trivia Challenge
Timothy Dalton (Toy Story 3, The Tourist, The Informant)
Willem Dafoe (John Carter of Mars, Fantastic Mr. Fox, Spider Man)
Cheech Marin (Cars, Beverly Hills Chihuahua, Spy Kids)
Mariska Hargitay (TV’s Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, Law & Order)
Goro Miyazaki (directorial debut)
Toshio Suzuki (Howl’s Moving Castle, Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke)
Dan Sarto is Publisher and Editor-in-Chief of Animation World Network.