Look, Tales from Earthsea is 99/100 going to feature near the bottom of any Studio Ghibli fans list. It is regarded as one of if not the worst movies the studio has produced and I have to be honest and say I agree. It is bang-average in pretty much every regard and the kind of movie that is not easy to recommend to anyone apart from those who want to say they have seen every Studio Ghibli movie.
How to Download Tales from Earthsea
You can download or stream the film from a digital platform. Click on the Download button at the end of this review and make your choice. Check out also other Studio Ghibli movies that we have reviews – Spirited Away, My Neighbor Totoro, Howl’s Moving Castle, or Princess Mononoke.
The Movie Review
The most interesting thing about Tales from Earthsea is the backstory. There was a lot of turmoil behind the scenes with director Gorō Miyazaki and his father. Reading about this and Goro, in general, is far more worthy of your time than actually sitting down and spending the better part of two hours with this movie.
This is part of a popular series of books and rather than adapt the first one and see how it goes from there. This movie is a mishmash of the first four books in the series! It means that the plot is very hard to follow and to me, it seems like it expects you to be already familiar with the source material. However, even those that are fans of the book have stated that the plot is a mess.
I do think that there was some potential here with the story. Prince Arren is a young man who is on the run after he kills his father in a fit of rage. Arren comes across a wise old wizard called Ged and the two of them end up at a strange farm/inn-like place, here we meet Therru a young woman who was abused and who Arren saves from being sold into slavery.
The world that they live in is starting to fall apart and lots of strange stuff is happening, dragons, for example, are starting to appear, plus there is this very weird villain called, Cob who has control over Arren and is trying to become immortal…. Or something like that. There is also this thing where people have hidden names that can transform them into dragons.
As I write this, I realize that some of what I am writing sounds really cool. I do feel that the potential for Tales from Earthsea to be an epic fantasy movie is here. However, it is just so boring! You are never really sure what is going on and most of the movie lacks that usual Studio Ghibli flair when it comes to the presentation.
The best part of the movie is the opening scene. We get this amazing dragon fight and it sets things up so that you think this could be an exciting movie. However, it is mostly downhill from there as while there are some things that are interesting Therru for example had we dived into her backstory more, I feel could have been a great character.
I really would not bother spending time watching this movie. It is pretty much instantly forgettable and outside the opening dragon fight, there is nothing special here at all. Even the talented voice cast with the likes of Timothy Dalton and Willem Dafoe feel like they are phoning it in. When one of the best things I can say about the movie is that Cheech Marin is the most memorable voice actor, you know there is not much going on!
- The dragon fight scene is cool
- It is more violent and adult than you would think
- Cheech Marin is actually pretty awesome in this movie
- The backstory about the director, his father, and the production, in general, is interesting
- The plot of the movie is boring and confusing
- It is one of the least impressive Studio Ghibli movies in terms of the visuals and sound