Saturday, February 10, 2007

Earthsea review

1 out of 5 stars

Having read the books quite a few years ago and with all the excitement building over Lord of the Rings, I wasn't surprised that someone finally attempted a film version of Earthsea. But trepidation crept into my heart when I heard it would be a Sci-Fi Channel mini-series. Let's face it, Sci-Fi Channel is the playground for contemporary pulp writers: vastly filled with drek with few (VERY few) decent to good writers in between (Battlestar Galactica has to be one of the best dramas in a decade).

But I held out hope since the person transcribing the stories was Gavin Scott. He is known (somewhat) for his writing efforts for the Young Indiana Jones television series, which I mostly enjoyed. But then again he did pen the script for Small Soldiers (a fun but mindless movie) and the teleplay for The Mists of Avalon (an arguably bad adaptation).

Then came the night of the mini-series. Despite my lowered expectations, I was highly disappointed. Even the littlest things they got wrong (the fact that Ged's sorceror's name and real name were inverted left me believing that Gavin Scott only glanced at the books and NEVER actuallyr ead them... how can you get such a small thing WRONG?). In adapting, I hear time and again, it is not so much just staying true to the material, it's getting all even the smallest of details right. Bradbury did it with Moby Dick and Speilberg makes attempts to that end (with varying resutls) in his adaptations of classic SF novels (War of the Worlds and Minority Report, to name two).

But this movie/mini-series was completely off the mark.

But, I thought, what if I judge the mini-series by it's own merits? So I sat through the second airing... painfully. I still found it to be a bad film with forced storylines, improper pacing, dialogue and delivery thereof (meaning the acting) very loose to bad.

All in all, I felt this was not very good in many ways.

If you enjoyed it, go enjoy it. I'll never waste my time again. There's better fantasy movies out there. Try Dragonslayer!


J.Ho said...

i have heard only bad things about the the sci-fi channel adaptation, so your review comes as no surprise. although, personally, i'm not a fan of the books either. were you aware that studio ghibli (castle in the sky, princess mononoke, etc) just released an animated adaptation of earthsea? dunno when it's coming to the states... i'm assuming it will be a very loose adaptation too.

~ LordShen said...

i had heard of the anime version, yes, and there were some hopes for it. i did not know it was already out. let's hope for the best.