Tales from Earthsea, Blu-ray (2015)
Director: Goro Miyazaki
English soundtrack voices: Timothy Dalton, Cheech Marin, Willem Dafoe, Mariska Hargitay
Studio: Studio Ghibli/Nippon TV Network /Disney 120353 [2/3/15] (2 discs)
Video: 1.85:1 for 16:9 1080p HD color
Audio: English DTS-HD 5.1, French DD 5.1, Japanese 6.1 DTS-HD MA
Subtitles: English, English SDH, French
Extras: Original Japanese storyboards, Original Japanese TV spots and trailers, The Birth Story of the Film’s Soundtrack, Behind the Studio: Origins of Earthsea
Length: 115 minutes
This adaptation directed by Miyazaki’s son Goro is based loosely on the series of Earthsea books by Ursula Le Guin. Like most Studio Ghibli films, it is full of gorgeous and haunting images – complex decrepit cities, dark castles, twilight skies, wide green fields. The whole thing of lovely hand-drawn animation has a feeling of mystery and magic, but unlike most Studio Ghibli efforts, there are few loveable little magical creatures and the plot is quite confusing.
The great wizard Sparrowhawk finds the young Prince Arren in the desert and takes him with him. He is trying to find out why the magic seems to draining from the world and darkness coming in. They have bad adventures with slavers, stay for a time with his friend Tenar and her adopted daughter Therru, and end up with the villianous wizard Cob, who seeks eternal life and wants to kill Sparrowhawk. The adaptation is poorly done, and fans insist on your reading the Le Guin books and forgetting the movie. It does have dragons in it, but they are not much fun. The long extra on the making of the soundtrack music is quite interesting, focusing on the search for ancient musical instruments and performers to bring them to life. It seems that a visiting Spanish early music performer saved the day with his recordings that became part of the soundtrack.