April 14, 2006


Studio Ghibli's TALES OF EARTHSEAGhibli has posted their Flash embedded TALES FROM EARTHSEA trailer and while it's always nice to see a new Ghibli movie moving towards completion, is anyone else as underwhelmed by this as I am?

I enjoyed the Earthsea books when I was a kid, so I'm in the camp that's pulling for this movie to be good, but there's nothing in this trailer that shows anything I'm excited about. It looks like the same thing we've seen from Ghibli over and over again: the character designs look like they're lifted right out of CASTLE IN THE SKY, and it's the same generic European setting as HOWL'S MOVING CASTLE or KIKI'S DELIVERY SERVICE. On top of that I don't get any sense of the story from this trailer, except for a few hints that this is CASTLE IN THE SKY again (young boy rescues kidnapped princess).

The cherry on the cake is that Ursula K. LeGuin raked the producers of the Sci Fi Networks' EARTHSEA over the coals for making the entire cast white, writing at length about how she thought of her characters as mixed race. But what do I see in this trailer? A bunch of lily white people with unblemished skin running around. No essay decrying this production from LeGuin yet, so either she feels that this is okay because Japanese people drew it, or she's just tired of fighting this particular fight.

Pretty scenery, though.

(Thanks to Ghibli World)

April 14, 2006 at 10:48 AM in Trailers | Permalink


TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference UNDERWHELMING EARTHSEA TRAILER:


Other than being a fan of the books, I'm not too excited about this one, but no less than any of Ghibli's other movies which all suffer from the same handicaps listed above (save the white people bit, which might is particular to Earthsea). The first few Ghibli movies I saw were fantastic, until that point where I noticed that all the characters looked exactly the same as the last movie one I saw (I'm not talking style here, you could literally swap frames from most Ghibli movies and not even notice), and that the plot though slightly different is basically a retread of the evironment VS the wacky kingdom theme over and over. Meh.... it all makes it just that much more frustrating that Ghibli gets so much attention from non-anime fans. Which I guess makes sense since most of them are bonding with Ghibli through their kids, and you don't want to go risky when you're kids' mental well beings are at stake. But yeah, as underwhelming as the trailer is, I think it's par for the course for Ghibli, just do what you did last year, just different enough to call it another movie. What Ghibli really needs is more Totoro.... who wouldn't want to OD on Totoro.

Posted by: walde | Apr 14, 2006 1:08:17 PM

Or, maybe LeGuin just hasn't seen it yet. She evidently didn't see the SciFi version until it aired. She was also unhappy because "it's full of scenes from the story, arranged differently, in an entirely different plot, so that they make no sense."

At least, that's the quote from her article in Slate

Posted by: Peter Martin | Apr 15, 2006 5:02:16 AM

My favorite film from Ghibli Studios is still Whispers in the Wind, which, except for a non-sequitur subplot about an anthropomorphic cat baron or whatever, is a completely non-fantastical coming of age story set in a lovingly animated modern Japan. For someone who went to high school in Japan, it brings back some very fond memories.

Other than that, I totally agree. Ghibli is suffering from what happened to Disney - People are starting to get sick of the retreads. I can see why Miyazaki was against having his son do this film - he clearly doesn't have it in him to beat the stagnation.

Posted by: Adamu | Apr 16, 2006 11:11:28 AM

Post a comment