Eye For Film >> Movies >> Tales From Earthsea (2006) DVD Review
Tales From Earthsea
Reviewed by: Anton BitelRead Anton Bitel's film review of Tales From Earthsea
This two-disc special edition from Optimum Asia largely conforms to the standards of their previous Studio Ghibli Collection releases.
Disc One contains the feature itself, in both the original Japanese or the English dub (enabling the viewer to compare Willem Dafoe's sneering voicework as Lord Cob with the original Japanese version where he was voiced by a woman, Yuko Tanaka, to match his feminine features). The digital transfer simply looks fantastic, although on my copy both the stereo soundtrack, and to a lesser extent the surround soundtrack, both suffered some sort of digital glitch that gave the musical score an irritatant phase-like effect. There is also an option to watch Goro Miyazaki's storyboards in progressive accompaniment with the soundtrack - and of course there are English subtitles as an option.
Apart from the original Japanese trailer and a Studio Ghibli trailer reel, Disc Two offers two substantial extras, both in Japanese with English subtitles. The first, a 44-minute NTV Special, focuses on the voicing sessions of Junichi Okada as Arren, including some rather banal interviews with the young actor, but it also includes insights from Le Guin's Japanese translator Masako Shimizu on what makes the Earthsea series different from other fantasy epics, and a surprisingly full account of the frictions between Goro Miyazaki and his father before, during and after the production (including footage of, and anecdotes about, their avoidance of one another at the preview screening).
More disappointing is the 47-minute Behind the Microphone, in which the Japanese voice cast are shown in 'action', and offer observations on their experience that are hardly riveting. 18-year-old Aoi Teshima, who plays Therru and sings the haunting Song of Therru, turns out to be as reticent and inexpressive as her character, while old hand Bunta Sugawara, who voices Sparrowhawk, claims to forget what he has done almost instantly, so that he is always surprised to hear his own performance in the finished product.Reviewed on: 04 Feb 2008