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Earthsea (2004)

A movie directed by Robert Lieberman

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It's Not The Best, But Not The Worst Either

  • Apr 10, 2005
"Earthsea," which is based on books written by Ursula K. LeGuin, is an above-average production of the SciFi Channel. I've heard the movie is actually very loosely based on the books, and that LeGuin thinks this film is a travesty, but she should realize that seeing this flick has probably peaked the interests of many people who want to find out just how closely the movie follows the books.

I'll be honest and say that I've never read any of the "Earthsea" books. In fact, I'd never even heard of them before SciFi threw this production out for viewing. It looks something like a modern day version of J.R.R. Tolkien's books. Of course, it doesn't come close to those books or the "Lord Of The Rings" films. However, it does feed those hungry for some fantasy/adventure. There've been a ton of "LOTR" copycats, and I think this flick is one of the better ones.

I won't go into a huge explanation of the plot, but it goes a little like this: Much like Frodo from "LOTR," the hero of this film is an unexpected nobody named Ged, played by Shawn Ashmore("Iceman" from the "X-Men" flicks). He sets out to stop the evil King Tygath, who wants to rule Earthsea. Standing in Tygath's way are a group of wizards at a school(not unlike Hogwart's in the "Harry Potter" stories, though "Earthsea" was written before those novels), and a high priestess played with little flair by Isabella Rosselini. She looked stiff throughout this film. Danny Glover plays Ged's mentor, Ogion. He seems to be trying too hard to come across as a mix of Gandolf, Yoda, and Dumbledore, resulting in a cookie-cutter "sage-like" character that really doesn't fit well in the story. Kristen Kreuk(Smallville) does a decent job as the potentially powerful priestess, Tenar.

The overall production is pretty good on this film considering it's a SciFi Channel production. If only they'd spent as much money on the actual story, I might have given this a better review.

In closing, I'll agree with other reviewers in saying that "Earthsea" is an ambitious television production, but it falls flat in the end. As stated before, one good thing about this flick is that it probably peaked interest in plenty of folks who might not have read the original books and now want to check them out.

Recommended to fans of the fantasy genre, especially those like me who haven't read the original books. That seems to be a thorn in quite a few folks' side when concerning this movie.

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Kendall Fontenot ()
Ranked #8
Despite looking extremely cool, I have to admit that I'm a dork. I grew up on the outskirts of the small town of Oberlin, LA. I have since relocated to the Lake Charles, LA area.I love my home state … more
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About this movie


Originally broadcast asLegend of Earthseain December 2004, the Sci-Fi Channel's four-hour miniseries ofEarthsearides the coattails of theLord of the Ringstrilogy with its quest-driven story of humble blacksmith Ged (Shawn Ashmore), a wizard-to-be who is mentored by the magical Ogion (Danny Glover) as he seeks to preserve the realm of Earthsea from the evil King Tygath (Sebastian Roché). Ged's adventures lead him to the priestess Tenar (Kristen Kreuk, fromSmallville) and with secrets shared by High Priestess Thar (Isabella Rossellini), they gain the power to prevail over Tygath. As presented by Robert Halmi Sr. (producer ofMerlin,Gulliver's Travelsand several other fantasy miniseries), this skeletal rendering ofEarthseaboasts a wealth of digital effects and semi-lavish set design, but Ashmore's lack of charisma hampers a production already fraught with problems. It provoked the wrath of fantasy fans and a firm rejection by author Ursula K. Le Guin, who had watched helplessly (she wasn't involved or consulted) as her classic novelsA Wizard of EarthseaandThe Tombs of Atuanwere racially "whitewashed" (in Le Guin's words) nearly beyond recognition. As TV fantasy goes,Earthseais admirably ambitious, but best enjoyed by those with no awareness of the classic books it isveryloosely based on.--Jeff Shannon
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Director: Robert Lieberman
Screen Writer: Ursula K. Le Guin, Gavin Scott
DVD Release Date: March 8, 2005
Runtime: 172 minutes
Studio: Lions Gate
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