Walt Disney Studios has provided us with additional stills from Tales from Earthsea from Studio Ghibli which we have added to our existing gallery, placing the new stills at the beginning in no particular order.
In her six-book series, author Ursula Le Guin created the magical land of Earthsea—a world of islands and water where wizardry is a science that allows one to control the elements, heal illness, calm earthquakes, make the wind blow in the sails of boats, and much more. In this world, Sparrowhawk, whose secret name is Ged, was chosen when he was a young and proud shepherd to learn magic. The books follow him on his heroic journey of self-discovery and redemption through the Darkness and back again.
First-time director Goro Miyazaki discovered the “Earthsea” book series over 20 years ago when he was still in high school and was drawn to the compelling stories, which resonated with him in a very personal way. As he explains: “I profoundly identified with the setbacks suffered by the proud Sparrowhawk. It came close to my personal experience.”
Goro Miyazaki’s father, famed animator and filmmaker Hayao Miyazaki, co-founder of Studio Ghibli, dreamed of making a film from “Tales from Earthsea” for more than 20 years. Early on in his career he contacted the author to request the right to make the animated film, but Ursula Le Guin refused: Miyazaki was just beginning as a director of feature films and she was not familiar with his work.
Hayao Miyazaki continued to be inspired by the book series, which shows in much of his work, including his 1983 comic book “Shuna’s Journey,” as well as key films “Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind,” “Castle in the Sky” and “Princess Mononoke.”
Finally after many years, the film project “Tales from Earthsea” came to fruition and Goro Miyazaki was tapped to direct. Working with the talented animation team at Studio Ghibli, Goro Miyazaki was able to add his own sensitivity to the film. He directed the film with a synthesis of different aesthetics, adding his own imprint to the family heritage.
In keeping with the Miyazakis’ vision, Hayao Miyazaki’s “Shuna’s Journey” is credited with inspiring the look of the film, which includes hand-drawn animation and a watercolor palette.
Goro Miyazaki hopes the viewing public connects with the film and goes on a personal journey with Sparrowhawk and the characters in Earthsea. “How can we live correctly?” asks the director. “It is the question I asked myself, to which I have returned again and again while listening to the voices of the characters as the film progresses. I have the strange feeling that Sparrowhawk, Arren and I have traveled and spoken a long time together.”
The main theme of the film centers around the imbalance of the world and its need for equilibrium, achieved both through man’s harmony with nature and harmony within himself. In the film, the land of Earthsea is prey to man’s folly—the attempts at all costs to control nature, earth and space, regardless of the balance of the world. To find stability and peace again each person must accept and embrace his own dark side, but also admit that man is only an ephemeral element within nature.
Goro Miyazaki has compared the world we live in today to the mythical capital city of Hort Town in “Tales from Earthsea” where everyone is overwhelmed and frenetically busy without purpose and meaning. He further explains: “We stray from the path that we must follow. With the overdevelopment of civilization and our cities sprawling more and more, we think that we are capable of predicting and controlling everything that surrounds us. But for me, only the realization that man has no power against the forces of nature, and acceptance of this fact, could allow us to live with satisfaction.”
“When we began preparing ‘Tales from Earthsea,’ I was deeply pondering how one should lead his life. The disturbance of the balance of the world finds its very origin inside a man. Once you arrive at this conclusion, you can serenely face the question of life and death. And in this resides the most important of themes.”
Tales from Earthsea will be playing in select cities beginning August 13. For more information, follow this bookmark.