In Defense of Goro Miyazaki's Earthsea

I liked this comment from W.Eric so much that I decided to give it a post of its own.  It's a passionate defense of Goro Miyazaki, and his Tales From Earthsea, and debates like this are the very reason this blog is a success.  Welcome words for the Earthsea defenders out there:

Goro Miyazaki swung for the stands and he made it! His father had decades to develop his opinions and theories on direction and timing. Goro had maybe a year? Earthsea was a triumph in its own right. To take a totally green director with ungodly time constraints and throw a project at him based on beloved novels that have been around for generations is crazy. Of COURSE he’s going to break some rules, take some much needed shortcuts and step on some toes. Yes, it pays homage and takes inspiration from earlier works, yes it is missing some of the quiet moments and extra bits of animation familiar with the bigger studio works. However, it has a hauntingly beautiful soundtrack, the colors and details of the drawings are very unique – Goro even wrote Therru’s song! What a risk taker Goro was in scripting the prince to murder his father. Yes, it offended some, but he was making the story his own and THAT took TRUE LEADERSHIP.

I make less than 30k per year, but my wife and I were so taken by the footage of this new director’s project that we flew to Japan to watch it in the theater. We cried at how beautiful it was. So taken were we that two years later, we flew to Calcatta Italy, the town Goro researched for his architecture. None of Hayao’s works have had THAT much influence.

You and my wife and I are clearly all worship at the altar of Ghibli. You have an incredible site and wonderful information. But please, have some faith in Goro, I truly believe he’s going to bring the heat soon.


Hanna said...

Wow, that's really nice comment.

I was so surprised when I saw this post title, since you had been so harsh on earthsea in the earlier post about it.

After I saw earthsea I wasn't inspired. But, it did make me think a bit. Also, the way he portrayed evil was very black and white. Whereas Miyazaki is more gray. However, at the end of the movie it did feel like it was based one overall idea. Which is very important to me. I guess what I mean to say is that I like the movie a bit.

Unknown said...

I recognize, here you say a lot off good things about Goro, I'm sure you are right. Sure is truly dificult to direct a movie, I'm a director of tv shows and shortmovies and is difficult, buy I think originality is important as the music, as the drawings quality.

I was one of the fans of Goro, until I read Shuna No Tabi, and I said WHAT??? because even at the end of the movie it says, based on Shuna No Tabi, is not just based, it take most of the takes, part of the story and style. The story line (for me) was beeter in Shuna No Tabi, Goro let some things unexplained and if you read this manga you'll understand them. Sorry for my bad english, is difficult for me.

Anonymous said...

I agree. I think Tales of Earthsea is the most misunderstood Ghibli film.

I think people do not understand that the visceral nature is the myhthology and is a mirror to the conflict within--a 'lack of identity' between the two lost souls of the film.

Nature can not be restored/balanced until these two people find each other and give themselves the missing sense of purpose which is filled with compassion, in which each need to become 'whole'.

Plato would be proud as his works on cave theory and twin flame, IMO are beautifully presented in this work.

Sonicsuns said...

You're entitled to your own opinion, of course. But I disagree with you; Tales from EarthSea was a disappointment.

Yes I recognize that Goro is new at this and he had time constraints. That makes his efforts more impressive in one sense, but it doesn't make the film any better.

I'm not bothered by "risk taking" or "homages", or by the idea that the prince killing his father might be considered "offensive".

The music was good, the art was fine. Neither of these were fantastic.

I'm just bothered by the fact that the story didn't come together. First the story focuses on trouble with The Balance, then it focuses on a King being murdered. Neither of these seem really connected to the rest of the plot (though they are mentioned later on). At one point we're introduced to an addictive drug, but it's never mentioned again and has no affect on the plot. Some other world-building elements, such as slavery, are introduced but never touched upon in detail. Arren's shadow is never fully explained. We're told that immortality is automatically a bad thing without being shown a clear downside to being immortal. And to top it all off, right at the climax, Therru pulls a Deus Ex Machina and turns into a dragon. Somehow. It's never really explained.

I understand that it's ok to leave a few things mysterious, but so much was left unexplained or unconnected to the rest of the plot that the movie was a disappointment to me.

Hopefully Goro will improve.

(And again, you're entitled to your own opinion. I happy that you found so much inspiration in this film; I just don't see it the same way.)

Mariya K said...

My biggest regret with Goro's film is that the books were truly brilliant, and the film felt nothing like them. For me the simplest of things was missing from the film that perhaps got muddled in the production, and that was 'appeal'. None of the characters seemed to have heart, it was like Goro took the most unlikeable aspects of the books and put them together. Appeal is in fact something I feel that Ghibli in every way is famous for. I'm sure with experience and in future, Goro will develop into a fine director. I just hope that people read the Earthsea books! If the film only made me curious to read the books, that's enough for me.

Ilze said...

I have seen many posts where people are saying how badly done the Tales From Earthsea movie was and finally here is someone who also thought the movie was brilliant.
I saw the movie at a anime shop and bought it immediately (I'm a careful shopper) and I LOVED IT!!!

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