Tales From Earthsea - Do I Really Have to Review This Movie?
My take on Gedo Senki? Toshio Suzuki panicked.
This had more to do with Ghibli's line of succession than anything else. Goro Miyazaki was picked in a flash, in hopes that he could be molded into his father's career, but without ever properly paying his dues. This was proven to be a mistake, a very rare one for Suzuki-san. His instincts have nearly always been impeccable. Oh, well, they managed to rebound nicely.
What I hated about this movie was how Goro wasted so much time airing the family's dirty laundry in public. I found that offensive. I also found it offensive that he was dropped into the director's chair, and presumably the throne of the empire itself, like a spoiled prince. How that must have angered the lapsed socialist father!
Then, after piling on the family melodrama in public, Goro arrives with a movie that shamefully steals from his father. WTF?! He rips off the castle chase from Puss in Boots. He rips off the 1982 manga The Journey of Shuna. He rips off Nausicaa and Heidi. He rips off the battle with the wolves from Horus, Prince of the Sun (don't dare call it "little norse prince"!) - a spectacular opening from the most important anime movie ever made. Ugh!
What original idea does Goro have? Oh, yes - the opening scene where the hero kills his father. Good grief. Jim Morrison called, and he wants his shtick back. What an embarrassment.
Over time, however, I've grown to be more sympathetic to Goro. It appears that Father Miyazaki has taken the reins, and essentially put him through film school, with various minor film projects for Ghibli and the Ghibli Museum. Goro's two shorts were very well made, in fact.
And Ghibli may have found their next-generation director with Yonebayashi-san, and the recent release of The Borrowers. This would take some pressure off the studio. Personally, I'm rooting for him. Now if we could only get Takahata to finally get cracking on his long-awaited Ghibli film, we'd really be cookin'.
Goro will have a second crack at the bat. No pressures on him, but that next movie will essentially make or break his career as a film director. The Japanese public has lost their good will (badmouthing mommy and daddy will do that). So everything will come down to Goro, and how badly he wants his success. He will have to earn his father's throne.
So there's no pressure at all. But it's okay. Hayao Miyazaki was in the same place before. Maybe it's the family tradition.
Anyway, that's my sort-of official Ghibli Blog take on this topic. You'll notice I haven't talked much about Tales From Earthsea. There's a reason for that. It's not a very good or memorable movie. It's grim, preachy, dull and witless. I watched it four years ago, and I still can't push myself to find anything good to say about it. The family drama is the real show, and everybody knows it.