It’s not bad or unwatchable but despite the amplitude of the spectacle, the end result is underwhelming.
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The story, direction, characters, and writing/dialogue is akin to taking a tranquilizer shot to the neck, but everything else was so well done.
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MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS!I'd like to point out first and foremost, that I did not read the books before I've seen this movie. And I'm glad I didn't, because after I've read the books I started to appreciate this movie a lot more for the simple fact that it is in many ways superior to the books, when it comes to enjoyment. Ursula Le Guin's obsession with her character's race and her insistence on painting white males as evil imperialist conquerors is painfully apparent throughout the books, while at the same time, white females get a pass for their gender. The very fact that she made a big deal out of the ethnicity of the available actors just confirms my suspicion that she has issues concerning race and sex, and it permeates her works. The very idea that non-white people need to be written a fantasy world where they are competent, is, quite frankly, incredibly insulting, especially as she endowed most of her black characters with typically white cultural characteristics, and associated their success with those.Furthermore, her books are often very slow paced and boring. To her credit, the characters have significant depth to them, and the lore of Earthsea is intriguing, at times, simply stunning. Reading the book it gives you a vibe of a foreign world full of mysteries and wonder. Le Guin was inspired by Tolkien in many ways, however unlike him, she managed to create world where things don't quite fit together.The main problem of the books, concerning their cohesion and their overall atmosphere is that Le Guinn by virtue of her own upbringing and cultural heritage, wrote the books in an overarching European theme, and applied that to ethnically non-European groups in an effort to prove a point. This attempt to create a more diverse world ends up denigrating all her characters, because her black character's black identity is treated as if it never existed, and they were all "white" inside, while most of the white character's ethnic identity revolves around conquest, willful ignorance and barbarism. The plot of the movie and the books are different on many occasions, in fact, the movie is mashing several of the books together, which has good and bad consequences. The good: The above mentioned awkwardness of cultures and internal incompatibility of characters is NOT present in the movie. In the movies, race is simply not an issue, it isn't brought up, and the actors have very good chemistry. I absolutely loved all the actors, and the only cringey relationship was between the protagonist and his father in the first 20 minutes of the movie, and it's still passable.The movie presents the world of Earthsea and creates a conflict of interest between certain characters that have a slow, ever-escalating tension between them that explodes at the end of the movie. The mythology of the world is barely revealed, and thus it leaves the viewer longing for more. I especially adore the plot at the Tombs of Atuan. The intrigue and backstabbing in the movies is simply far more interesting than the slow, vague plots that we don't ever get to know in the books. The conspiracy between the traitorous priestess and the king is especially good, and it all ties in with the mythology of the afterlife in the world of Eathsea.In closing, the movie ties together the overarching story of several books, while creating an atmosphere of mystery and adventure. The bad: The plot is rushed, and character development suffers. Our protagonist goes from "irresponsible, impatient firebrand" to "considerate and regretful prodigy" in a few minutes. There is no depth to his character, there are no answers as to why he is the way he is, we get no significant background story. Tenar's character is basically reduced to being a dutiful schoolgirl who performs to the maximum. All her inner darkness and guilt-ridden background is simply stripped away from her. She basically becomes your classic damsel in distress apart from her insistence to remain true to her order. There is a very light romance plot that feels kinda out of place, even though you feel like it's destined to be, but it doesn't end up ruining everything.All in all, I am grateful to the creator of this movie, because he introduced me to a fantastic world, and made me explore the literature on which it was based. This is a deeply flawed masterpiece that I just love to return to.
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In my opinion, the movie is not horrible, nor is it completely off from the books. It is a good movie that ou can really get into, even if you only started watching it in the middle.I, and many others, would have been much, much happier if they had stayed true to the books, but in some cases, i like the movie's changes.since saying which are good and which were bad is a spoiler, i will not say, but there are moments that you'll find yourself going back to the books and wondering which you like better, thought of course, the book will always be Best. :)
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I saw this mini series a couple of years ago after searching on the internet and found this film adaptation from Canada (I live in England) and I though 'great' so I bittor... err... obtained a copy and watched it all - I'm not sure how - in abject horror.Now there are numerous comments here - the majority in fact - which will tell your if you even got to reading THIS review, why it invokes such horror. Now I'm not a fan of Le Guinn, I've only read the first 'Wizard' book, not even the series. It follows a young wizard called Sparrowhawk through his life's trials as he sails around earthsea, a fictitious archipelago from ages old. It's a fairly straightforward story. However, it's such an extraordinarily exquisite and authentic experience it's emotional simply through the quality of the composition of the narrative itself, story content aside. I'm not an obsessed fan, I just know when something is really good, and this TV production ON ITS OWN was the typical trash you see on TV every day (except I quit watching TV in 1999 so I don't have to suffer) - in that sense it's fairly normal, and OK production. But in comparison to the story it's allegedly based on it's such an immense, indescribably travesty that, - well, I can't describe it. It should never have been made. They should have made a film of some talented unknown young (or old) fantasy writer in Canada instead.Why should this matter? It doesn't really does it. However as one previous reviewer said, quite rightly: "...its almost impossible for filmmakers to make a movie about a loved book without disappointing their fans." I have to disagree with other texts in this 'genre' however - Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter and Narnia - all clearly with staggering budgets of course and various contract obligations obviously in the case of the irritating though opportunistic and hard working Rowling. They did stick verbatim to the story lines.Anyway I don't have time to slate this really, I'm only reviewing it to give it the one star it doesn't even deserve to take the average rating down, it's much too high because of all these people who don't know any better reviewing it without having knowledge of the book. I know, it's anal, in any other case I'd really not bother, Rowling, CS Lewis (the g@y tw@t, I wish his publisher had sacked him) Pullman, even Tolkein, any book, I don't really care, I'd enjoy the book, and/or enjoy the film, or not. However there's something kinda special about this book - not spectacular, just really tight storytelling. Well you can read it and find out. This TV adaptation is agonising.My main beef is that, Lord of the Rings aside (obviously) This book, A Wizard of Earthsea, is the most worthy of making into a really long, really expensive film - more than anything by CS Lewis or Rowling (she seems to have taken the main premise of her Potter books FROM Wizard of Earthsea in fact, the magicians school.Rant over. If you've not seen this production, never see it, watch Moonacre or Stardust or something, and buy Le Guinn's books.
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WTF??!! I hope people who saw (and hated) this flick who have not read the books are not put off...Even though I have not read the books, even looking at the covers, they're better than this let down of a movie/series. I was really looking forward to it, despite a friend who told me this EarthSea version was truly heinous - I see what she means. Totally. And why my local video stores don't even carry it.I've seen the Japanese Anime version of EarthSea (which I loved though should have been longer) ... And that was better than this sorry attempt.Despite good acting efforts, effects, cinematography and action scenes, it was a big disappointment - devoid of any feeling or soul. It didn't stick true to what I already knew of the EarthSea saga. How in the Universe did they get this through Ursula Le Guin? Maybe they cast a spell on her? ... I hear she's denounced it. No wonder. Geb / Sparrowhawk's character was atrociously written, (not the actor's fault) ... like some immature, perpetually cranky, b!tchy lame a$$ Anakin Skywalker rip-off.However ... that said, the movie would have worked as an independent fantasy film / or mini series with different names and characters. EarthSea it is not.