Movie Review: Tales from Earth Sea

By Moira Sullivan
Movie Magazine International
Goro Miyazaki's anime film Tales from Earthsea is a powerful story about a difficult time when dragons are in conflict and kill each other in front of humans. It is a sign that the world is unbalanced for it is believed that dragons and humans were once an entity, where humans chose possessions and dragons chose freedom. In mythology the dragon is a powerful creature often represented as a destructive and fearsome monster. When times are disharmonious the dragon especially takes on this form but when there is balance on earth it is a benevolent creature. The opening of the film begins with two dragons attacking one another where one is so severely wounded that she dies and falls into the sea. Soon after the son of the noble ruler, Prince Arren, murders his father and runs from the palace. Along the way, a magician named Sparrow Hawk takes him under his wing after saving him from being attacked by wolves. The soldiers of the evil Lord Cob capture Prince Arren in the town of Hort after he prevents them from trying to enslave a young girl named Therru. Sparrow Hawk often visits the home of a healer named Thenar who has taken Therru under her wing. The soldiers search for Arren again, capture him and take him to the castle of Lord Cob. The opening line of the film is a quotation by Ea: "even in silence are words, even in darkness is light even in life there is death". These prophetic words symbolize the story line of the film. Arren has lost his will to live after the death of his father and sees no point in using his skills. Lord Cob knows this and gets him to reveal his real name Labannen. When Lord Cob later tries to execute Sparrow Hawk and Thenar, Arren's sense of purpose is awoken. Hob is a transsexual character with long hair dressed in a robe wearing heavy eye makeup. But under this disguise is an old man who fears death, as much as Arren fears life. Therru also has issues because she is not able to trust anyone but in her friendship to Arren she opens up to the possibility of love. Even Sparrow Hawk has a score to settle with Cob who is a fallen magician. Lord Cob kills Therru who transforms into a dragon able to shapeshift as a human, thereby restoring harmony to earth.
Goro Miyazaki is the son of the famous animé director Hayou Miyazaki and this is his first film. Goro, by profession an architect, was asked to create the storyboard for this film based on a series of novels called "Earthsea" by Ursula K Le Guin. Hayao intended to make this film but was booked with projects and Goro was asked to step in. Hayao claimed his son was too inexperienced to make it, but upon completion gave it his approval. Le Guin claims this is not her story but Miyazaki’s film because of the violence, Tales from Earthsea is a compelling and ambitious anime by this first time director.

For Movie Magazine This is Moira Sullivan Stockholm SWEDEN
More Information:
Tales from Earth Sea
Japan - 2006