Mar 8, 2011

Tales From Earthsea DVD Released

    The Studio Ghibli animated film version of Ursula K. LeGuin's Tales From Earthsea Series was released today on DVD, featuring the voices of Timothy Dalton, Willem Defoe, Cheech Marin, and Mariska Hargitay. The movie was released theatrically in Japan in 2006 and was the highest grossing film of that summer. Tales From Earthsea was directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of the acclaimed Hayao Miyazaki.
    Years ago Miyazaki Sr. read the books, loved them, and had wanted to make a movie adaptation but the author declined. Later though, Mrs. LeGuin finally consented (after realizing how great & popular Miyazaki movies are) and they sat down together in a meeting where Hayao said (for the umpteenth time) that he was retiring from the industry. Last year I also read somewhere that the reason he couldn't direct the film was because he was working on the adaptation of Diana Wynne Jones' Howl's Moving Castle (very, very good, I might add, though it does differ from the book in many instances). So for whatever the reason, Hayao passed the Earthsea project onto his son, Goro, to be his directing debut. Ursula K. LeGuin was dissapointed by this but still gave the go ahead for production of the film.
Her response to the finished product was sadly, not very positive. Said she, "[It was like] watching an entirely different story, confusingly enacted by people with same names as in my story." Because of the differences from the books and because the movie's animation was not up to par with Miyazaki Sr. films, the movie received mixed reviews all over the world. I have not read the Tales From Earthsea books, but I have seen this movie. I found parts to be confusing and the animation to lack the richness and depth that I have always loved in Miyazaki films. That being said I did enjoy the film, the animation was good, and I especially loved the theme song. I am planning on adding this movie to my Studio Ghibli collection: it's on my Amazon wishlist.
    Hayao Miyazaki and his Studio Ghibli have also produced many other great films including My Neighbor Totoro, Kiki's Delivery Service, Spirited Away, the more recent Ponyo (inspired by Hans Christian Andersen's The Little Mermaid), and the upcoming (17 February 2012) US release The Borrower Arrietty (inspired by The Borrowers by Mary Norton). Please check out the whole filmography. All of Studio Ghibli movies are great! Disney holds the rights to release Ghibli movies domestically and has put out quite a selection, always casting great voice talents for the dubbing. Many Hollywood stars are honored to be asked!
(also, Ponyo is my daughter's faaavorite plush)
What a somber little face!
((also, also, someday we are going to go to the Studio Ghibli Museum in Japan! *dream, dream*))

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