Friday, March 25, 2011

Tales From Earthsea - Voice Casting at Disney

There is something very odd about Disney's choice to cast Willem Dafoe as the voice of the villainous female Lord Cob in Ghibli's "Tales From Earthsea." Dafoe is great, creating a very disturbing villain with a very incongruous voice. Lord Cob - as you question the "why" of the character's sexuality - is a truly creepy villain.

But then you watch the film in Japanese and find she really is a woman. You also discover it makes the parts of the movie fit together just a little better when it is obvious. I can't get over the controversy about this film, but in its original language, it is even more a "real" Ghibli film than even I thought a few days ago. Dafoe is seriously unnerving, and I really wonder why Disney made the decision to go this way. It makes Lord Cob a more intense villain, but does not make the overall film better. Interesting choice to have made.

I have also wandered the internet looking for reasons people don't like this film, and I honestly can say I don't understand any of them. I had previously written that there was a confusing moment in the film, and many have written that much of it is confusing. On second watch, I thought it was seamless and wasn't sure where my confusion had come from. I can only guess that many viewers want everything laid out in front of them, but I think you have to be able to linger in a little doubt or non-clarity to really appreciate any film. By the end, you should be able to think about it. If it's still totally unclear, perhaps you have watched a film that is not so good.

But I'll say it again - "Tales From Earthsea" is a fine addition to Studio Ghibli's impressive roster. Not as good as "Totoro," but nothing is. I look forward to Goro's next one.


Anonymous said...

Call it what you like. I admire the fact you are a optimist, and appreciate the film. Sadly, you are probably misunderstood and don't get as many followers as you would like because you make points with no reasoning and talk right out of your ass. This film does not follow the book, nor the original script in which this film was intended to be produced. Goro did his own anything and in doing so ruined a great story. Tell me please or explain to me what is the controversy between the two wizards or why Therru can turn into a dragon and Arren can't or what balance Sparrowhawk is speaking about? In the book it makes sense, and in the original script as well (google the original script and read the dialogue). C'mon guy think before you voice your opinion and make some f*ing strong points.

Michaela said...

I thought it was interesting that they changed Cob's gender too. But it seemed a little weird in the original Japanese version as well, because at one point the apparently female villain says "Women try my patience." That doesn't make a lot of sense to me if she's a woman.
I don't know. I think maybe Cob is supposed to be so far beyond humanity (prolonging his life, ect.) that maybe he's not supposed to even have a gender! (Haha).

And thanks for that picture! I KNEW I recognized his voice! From Spiderman! :D

Joe Muszynski said...

Thanks for your recent comments Michaela! I'm very glad you are enjoying this film - since reading your comments, I now want to re-watch it soon! I think you may be right - gender (and everything else) may lose importance to a villain whose only interest is in living forever. Though somehow I don't see Disney making a decision like that.

The only thing I'll add is that a woman for whom women try their patience may not be that unusual!

Thanks again!!