Earthsea mini-series

deborah.dwj at deborah.dwj at
Sun Dec 5 12:19:17 EST 2004

|On Sunday, December 5, 2004, at 05:27 AM, ROSLYN wrote:
|> Still, it isn't clear whether Ursula le Guin is critical of the actual
|> film--or even if she's even actually seen it--or only the words that
|> the director put into her mouth.

I'm always suspicious of authors telling us what their books are about.
When Anne Rice defended herself on Amazon, I laughed as hard as anyone.
But this film?  Will *bite*.

There are trailers online ( ).  Watch
them if you want some pain.

The film appears to be an amalgamation of some bastardization of WoE and
ToA, in which there's a war between the kings of the Kargad lands and
the good people of Earthsea, completely with epic battles in which Ged
is involved in personal fights with the evil Kargad king Tygath.  Their
description of the miniseries begins:

  An angry, headstrong youth, whose magical power could rival that of
  the greatest wizards....

  A beautiful young priestess, introduced to evil....

  A warrior king who wields words and weapons with equal force....

Uh ... no?

  As he journeys to manhood, he will combat dragons, fall in love, cross
  death's threshold and ultimately wield the power to reunite a planet.

Uh, hell no?

In the tailer they brag that this is

  the classic adventure fairytale story.

Um, no!  It isn't the classic story; that's why it's so good.  And by
turning it into stock fantasy you diminish everything that's so
wonderful, so uniquely LeGuin.   (This actually plays into why I'm
slightly worried about the Howl's movie.  I've read a few reviews that
imply the viewers didn't see the biting irony of the story and only so a
Miyizaki spin on a classic fairy tale romance; I don't whether that's
because the viewers were stupid or because Miyizaki played it that way.)

I don't know why they bothered to call this Earthsea.  Earthsea fans
won't watch it because it's so bastardised, whereas if it had just been
a random sword-n-sorcery miniseries (which I suspect it will be), or if
they'd called it Shanarra, or something similarly apropos, we probably
would have.

(Also Kristin Kreuk is boring, but maybe that's just how she's directed
in Smallville.  I don't see her having the darkness necessary to play
Tenar, though.)

(As a separate issue, Ged and most of the people of Earthsea are white.

  Legend of Earthsea, the miniseries, was cast completely colorblind, as
  any of my productions have been. We searched for the right actors for
  the roles and brought in diversity to the cast as a result.

Funny how film versions of stories with major dark-skinned characters
are cast completely colorblind, but there aren't too many stories where
they cast non-white actors in white roles.  What an amazing
coincidence.  Also an amazing coincidence, since they apparantly cast
based entirely on talent, that the actress playing Tenar is young,
pretty, pale skinned, with yards of straight black hair...  Not to
mention the general appropriateness of casting a story colorblind in a
world where skin color matters, at least somewhat.)

I don't suppose that I have ever been so happy.  No; was it happiness?
Something wider and darker, more like knowledge, more like the night: joy.
				- Ursula Le Guin, "The New Atlantis"

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