enjoying Gedo Senki

I was pleasantly surprised, and not from low expectations either. I actually enjoyed this movie. In fact it reminded me in some ways of Princess Mononoke. It was a visual feast of course, but the key to its value was in realizing that this was just a tale within the Earthsea universe. You enter the world with its history intact, and that history is referenced but not fully detailed. Of course we see Ged and Tenar, but they are truly peripheral. The film engages you in the main characters, Arren and Therru. And even the villain has a motive that makes you at least partly pity him. And I certainly wasn’t expecting either of the two great shocking events, one at the start and the other at the end, to occur.

I dont know what else to say, other than I truly expected to hate this film but it’s certainly better than Howl’s Moving Castle. Guess I’ll setup that Gedo Senki category after all.

Some screenshots below the fold.


Hort Town. Slavers, the lot of them.


the Archmage Sparrowhawk, whose true name is Ged.


even minor settings like this basin where Arren washes his face have a texture and implied story in them. The whole world of Earthsea comes across as rich and varied as Middle Earth in a way that LeGuin herself doesn’t manage to achieve in the books, at least as far as I recall.


Therru, whose true name is Tehanu.


Sometimes the visuals just blew me away.


Tenar. tough lady.


The dragon mythology is underplayed overall, which means that when you do get to see one, it’s an experience.


the series gets the dragons right. they are what they are. “Once, dragons and men were one.”

7 thoughts on “enjoying Gedo Senki”

  1. Definitely lots of nice visuals — especially with regards to the background work. I was bothered by some of the overly recycled character designs, however. And I really disliked the over-reliance on the crumbling stairs/buildings at the climax.

    Compared to LeGuin’s original story, the film’s story is fairly routine and unimaginative. For better or worse, I can’t really evaluate the film as if I was unaware of the far better story that _could_ have been shown. Non-Earthsea fans might like this more than those attached to the original books.

    (I obviously like Howl a lot more than you do — so I guess we aren’t going to agree here_). ;~}

  2. well, i dont think you can fairly compare a two hour movie to a trilogy of novels. Only LOTR and Harry Potter have ever succeeded in that, and that was via multiple movies of insane length. The limitations of the medium are absolute; the trick is to craft a story that fits into the world without trying to attain the same depth, but rather to complement it. In this I think Gedo Senki succeeds admirably. Why rehash the story of Ged again? It functions so much more effectively to simply introduce Ged as a fully-realized character, his history from teh novels intact. Thus, you can import that context if you’ve read the novels; whereas if you haven’t, it still works because the director succeeds in lending Ged the gravitas that implies his backstory, even in the absence of an explicit origin. We buy it the same way we buy Darth Vader in Star Wars (without any prequel movie neccessary).

  3. Well this movie really doesn’t involve all of the initial trilogy. — and I have no problem with this It really only uses the third volume (Farthest Shore) — which provides most of the plot (albeit in a rather dumbed down fashion). Into this, Goro M poured content (characters and settings but almost no plot elements) from volume four (Tehanu) — which actually takes place after Farthest Shore (and MUST take place after it — as this is about Ged’s life after his retirement).

    My point is that “Farthest Shore”, treated creatively but respectfully, could have (and should have) provided more than enough material for a first rate film. The added elements make the film more trite, not deeper.

    Mind you, taken purely on its own (ignoring Le Guin), this would be a quite decent, albeit minor Ghibli film (on a par in terms of creativity with “Cat Returns” — but not nearly as good as the virtually unknown “Ocean Waves”).

  4. hello all! i think a tale from earthesa is a great film! i hope you all injoyed it too?

    but i think the horse didnt really look like one…but still! great movie!

  5. hello! not many ppl write on the thing do they? all well! i do hope more ppl write i would like to know what other ppl think of this great movie! this year i got this movie because i colect anime movies by madman! this movie is one of my favs. well see ya later all!

  6. It strikes me that the majority of viewers/reviewers completely miss the point of this film. They watch it expecting an epic storyline, or at least some coherent plot (perhaps not too unreasonable an expectation, even for fans of Japanese cinema who are accustomed to words-of-wisdom in their films!). It is the message that takes centre-stage in this film, not the story itself.

    I’m minded to write a mini-essay on this over at myanimelist, so I’ll save my thoughts for that. Suffice to say, if you watch this film and are puzzled by the story, dont try to make sense of it. Not becasue its particularly confusing, but becasue if you’re trying to understand the story aand its world, you’re approaching the film ‘wrongly’. Almost every detail that [b]does[/b] make the film – and especially those bits that annoy reviewers! – can be related to the philosophical message, instead of the plot. Rewatch it and see how much you can pick out 🙂

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