Directed by Goro Miyazaki, Tales From The Earthsea is an epic story about wizards and magic, based on the journey of young prince Arren and a noble wizard called Sparrowhawk (Bunta Sugawara) who takes him under his wings. Their quest starts off until they discover another evil sorcerer, Cob, is bringing back an ancient darkness which Sparrowhawk knows well, deteriorating the kingdom and putting human race in jeopardy. Arren (Junichi Okada) also uncovered a terrible secret from his past, a dark side that makes him stronger, showing no mercy to anybody, especially when he needs to protect his friend Therru (Aoi Teshima). Moreover, people started seeing dragons which shouldn’t enter the world of humans.
Tales From The Earthsea is the directional debut of Goro Miyazaki (son of Studio Ghibli‘s founder Hayao Miyazaki) and despite the beautiful animation and music, you can see his lack of narrative experience as the film’s story becomes very messy and complicated at a certain stage, particularly as we see Arren’s dark past when he kills his father which makes no sense at all and not explained well. The same applies to the dragons which is the biggest disappointment in the film as these marvelous creatures just come on for a few minutes.
The quality of the film in Blu-Ray is superb and crystal clear as usual. Visually speaking, watching the film is a joy, what with the cinematography of the film and the art direction, full of vibrant colors and beautiful designs with the magic touch of Studio Ghibli.
The extras on the Blu-Ray are better than the actual film, especially if you are a Ghibli fan, as it includes:
- Fantastic storyboards (Picture in Picture)
- The Birth story of the Soundtrack: The music production is explained hour long.
- NTV Special: Making of the film, interviews and behind the scenes footage.
- Behind the Microphone: Documentary about the voicing of the film.
- Behind the Studio: Origins of Earthsea – Short clip explaining how it became a film
- TV spots
- Original Japanese Theatrical Trailer
Overall, Tales From The Earthsea is not as good as previous pieces from Studio Ghibli. However, it is a must have for all Ghibli fans to complete their collection, especially Blu-Ray for the amount of extras, beautiful animation and Goro Miyazaki’s directional debut.
So don’t miss this new animated film to add to your Studio Ghibli Collection.