10 March 2011 | lewiskendell
A tale of disappointment.
Eh, let's just call Tales from Earthsea a case of growing pains for Goro Miyazaki.
It's not a bad movie. It's just unremarkable in every way. It doesn't have the creativity, emotional depth, or beauty of Spirited Away, the visual wonder of Howl's Moving Castle, the scope of adventure of Castle in the Sky, the lovable characters of Kiki's Delivery Service, or the sheer delight and fun of Ponyo.
If I had to choose a defining feature for Earthsea, I honestly don't know what it would be. The music is fine, but nothing extraordinary. The character designs and artwork are dangerously close to generic, the story lacks tension and feels almost inconsequential, and the writing is bland. Where's the heart? Where's the humor, the passion, or something that would draw me into the narrative?
I found myself not caring much about what was happening, and more concerned with how much time was left until the movie was over, than anything else. My expectations for Studio Ghibli are far too high to embrace a movie like this that barely scrapes above mediocrity, and from what I've heard from fans of the Earthsea literature, this isn't the adaptation they were hoping for, either.