№ 77: "Tales From Earthsea"
Director: Gorō Miyazaki
Screenplay: Gorō Miyazaki, Keiko Niwa
I don't understand the vehemently negative responses to this film. That's not to say that I don't have issues with it myself, I do, but it's baffling that people have so harshly judged Gorō Miyazaki's directorial debut. To quote Hayao, of all people, "It’s good that he made one movie. With that, he should stop."
While I can agree on certain aspects of the complaints, I don't like how most reviewers are comparing the film to his father's work. It's Gorō's first film, of course it's not going to be comparable to "Spirited Away."
My first complaint is pacing. The two hour runtime feels like three. This, I feel, is largely due to the slowness/softness in which the actors speak, especially on the English dub. While I enjoy Dalton and Dafoe, and think they were well cast in their roles, I found the constant calmness in their performances to be taxing on the overall flow of the story.
Another complaint is the unanswered questions. Therru is some sort of shapeshifter? What? Sparrowhawk implies earlier in the film that she's of some importance, but it's never explained. What was with Arren's split essence? Was this Cob's doing as a means to gain access to the, "door between life and death," and gain immortality? What's with this "True Name" business? I can gather than people only share their actual name with people they trust as Wizards can control you if they know your name, but showing some societal importance on the practice would have been nice.
In terms of the animation, it's stellar, as per usual. Take the shot I've chosen above, where Sparrowhawk and Arren arrive in Hort Town. It's so detailed and grand in scale. The animation for the film as a whole is fantastic.
Overall, the film is alright, if a bit boring in some spots. It's a good first effort by Gorō Miyazaki. I'm excited to see where he goes from here.
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