Tuesday, February 12, 2008
Tales of Earthsea Review
Seems that Miyazaki, first with Hayao and now with his son Goro, will become ever synonymous with epic, beautifully crafted anime productions. Since that's exactly what Miyazaki's movies have been so far, and that is exactly what Tales of Earthsea showed itself to be.
The story begins in a distant castle where a boy, Arren apparent son of the King, has gone briefly missing. According to the King's wizard the Equilibrium is more and more out of balance, while Arren himself shows up early, himself a bit imbalanced, and stabs his father leaving him to die.
After which, Arren is shown traveling in the desert, when after being encircled by wolves, a wizard named Sparrowhawk comes to his rescue. The two then, as fellow wanderers, head off in the direction of a city, known for slave trading. Arren, after seeing a girl chased by slave traders, ends up fighting them and winning. The girl, named Therru, though, scared by the boy's sudden evil disposition in the fight, flees. Arren himself only gets into more trouble as he himself is captured only to be saved by Sparrowhawk and then nursed back to health by the woman in care of Therru. Discomfort between the kids though will be the least of their problems, as everyone soon discovers.
As you can see, that was quite a long plot intro but the movie really does have such epic development that, even as much as I revealed, you only learned of a small part of the story. As is typical of father Miyazaki films, the characters themselves have a world of potential depth which we only glimpse at, and in this movie perhaps more than any I wish we took more time to understand them. Particularly Arren and Theru, because both seem to have a dark past that is merely hinted at, and yet is the driving motivation for many of their present actions. I guess I couldn't expect that too much though, considering the movie is already quite lengthy.
I'll keep my comments on the animation and music brief, because quite frankly both seem to be near replications of Hayao's. In my opinion, unless Goro was trying to separate himself I think this is a great thing, although I do realize some elements may in fact become too common. For instance, for better or worse, I could picture so many of the other characters, such as in Spirited Away and Princess Mononoke, in the same world as Tales of Earthsea. Maybe that could be a grand concept, sort of a trifecta of Miyazaki all in one world, but likely that won't happen.
Oh well, I guess this last paragraph might detail the differences between the son and father, but like I said I saw so much in common that I couldn't entirely differentiate between the two, except in the movie's story. This leaves me with no choice but to highly recommend the film, because even though I am still sad at what was left unsaid, and you'll notice the need for such at the end, the movie was quite beautiful and definitely enjoyable!