Potter fans who have turned the final page and are in need of another fantasy fix could do a lot worse than this - and of course the same goes for devotees of Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea novels. Goro Miyazaki, the son of the legendary Japanese animator Hayao Miyazaki, has for his first feature created an animated Earthsea drama for the renowned Studio Ghibli, evidently based largely on the third Earthsea novel, The Farthest Shore, from 1972.

So far, critical reaction to this effort has been mixed, with some commentators complaining that Goro doesn't deliver the playful comedy and visual fizz that distinguishes his father's work. Maybe. I can only say Tales from Earthsea grew on me: its simplicity and delicacy, and the almost watercolour quality of the animation, were nicely judged, and showcased the drama effectively. The story is about an older, careworn wizard, Sparrowhawk, who takes under his wing Arren, a troubled young man on the run. The movie is available in two versions and I saw it in English, with voice work from Timothy Dalton and Willem Dafoe. An engaging piece of work.


Peter Bradshaw

The GuardianTramp

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