This is welcome news for Studio Ghibli fans. Tales From Earthsea (Gedo Senki) will be released on theatres in the US on August 13. Disney will distribute the film under the Touchstone label; make of that what you will. Personally, I'm just happy to see another Japanese anime film, and a Ghibli film not directed by Hayao Miyazaki, at that, shown on American screens.
There has been speculation for a long time that Goro Miyazaki's 2006 directorial debut would be released on the big screen, even if only as a limited release. It's good to see those plans properly followed through. This does suggest that Disney is testing the waters; can the public be persuaded to buy tickets for the Ghibli name, and not the name of Hayao Miyazaki? True, the son is the director, so they will still be able to sell on the family name, but it does suggest a willingness to nurture the relationship between the two companies.
Disney must prepare for a post-Miyazaki world, just as Ghibli must do in Japan. Goro-san's Earthsea movie is that first crucial step. Fortunately, as disappointing the movie proved to fans - Ghibli and Ursula LeGuin alike - I don't think the general public knows about that. They almost certainly know nothing about the Miyazaki family drama, which flared up rather notoriously during the film's production, and whose fingerprints are all over the picture. It also helps that most Americans have no idea how badly Goro shamelessly steals from his father.
It was Goro's open theft - his stealing is a virtual highlight reel of his father's career - as well as his airing the family's dirty laundry in public, that soured him to the Japanese public. It certainly soured him on me, and that's mostly why I don't care for Gedo Senki. Perhaps when I see it at the local indie theatre this August, my mood will be brighter. I will try to be more forgiving and patient.
In any case, I will be attending, and so will all of you. I want to see more Studio Ghibli at the multiplex. I would love to see The Borrowers on our screens next summer, and I would kill to see Isao Takahata create one more movie. I'm sure you'll agree. I haven't changed my opinion that Earthsea is Ghibli's weakest film, but it's so easy to forget that it's a first film. You still have to pay your dues to make it as an artist, even if your father is world famous. Let's be hopeful and wish for the best.
daniel thomas Categories: gedo senki