Let’s just put it out onto the table – I’m a Miyazaki fan. I loved Porco Rosso and Kiki’s Delivery Service. I’ve got many of his movies on the shelf.
This latest effort, Tales from Earthsea, comes from his son Goro Miyazaki. This film heralds in a new Studio Ghibli, a darker one with more details. At the beginning of the flick, we sense that everything is wrong, that harvests are off, that fevers are taking livestock, that magic no longer works, that dragons (largely unseen) are fighting. And then, the most horrifying moment of all, the boy who will be hero kills his father the king. For no reason. And flees.
The world opens up around us, one largely of ruin. The first major city they go to is beautiful yet worn, its aqueducts fallen, every scene laced with rubble. Until now, I’ve always thought that Kiki’s adapted city was one of the most 3-D landscapes, one of beauty and character. But this town is of a darker beauty and an aged character.
And so the story starts to unfold, of the young murderer traveling with a wise yet seemingly magically impotent wizard, of the woman farmer and her adapted daughter who’d been abandoned (after scaring abuse) by her parents. And then there is the creepy magic user who lusts for ultimate power (and what more ultimate power can there be but eternal life). He’s even got his dangerous yet laughable sidekick in the form of his head guard, admirably voiced by Cheech Martin.
But this is no standard Disney resolution. There is actual bloodshed and death. Furthermore, its not as simple as a true-love kiss. I’m still not sure what it all means in the end but that’s part of being a Miyazaki fan. Porco’s piggish fate was left to the audience to decide. Deep down, I think I know what it means, but I’m not sure. But I liked it.
If you are in to new experiences and different storytelling paces and resolutions, its worth a watch. Otherwise, stick to Lion King. Everyone will be happier.
Post Review: I’d watched and reviewed this movie last night. This morning in the shower, I was thinking more about it. While I can’t imagine that this movie was scripted as a response to the world wide recession brought on by corporate wall-street bastards, it sure fits well. Here we have a world slowly decaying, where institutional slavery, wide-spread drug addiction, and general architectural collapse is all taking place. And this is all because Evil Wizard Cob is “hoarding life” through magic, causing a disruption in the natural forces. It rather does fit that universal misery is the response of a finite set of actions.
Remember, eat the rich!