I am revisiting some of the later Ghibli films in order to reassess their vision and the reception many of these films have received, which I will address in further posts. Today, just a quick thought on "Tales From Earthsea" upon the first time I have re-watched it since my older posts. I still think it is a wonderful movie, beautiful as Ghibli films always are, and a film that makes you think. And I notice the internet critics still - for the most part - dislike this film. I take that from reading some of the Netflix reviews.
I don't think the film is unclear - I just think you have to be open and think about what you are watching.
But I did realize that there is a theme in this film that perhaps accounts for some of the negative reception it gets, at least here in America.
The major theme is that one must accept death - that nothing lives forever, and that life can only be appreciated if one understands that death is inevitable.
And in our country today - and probably the world - people want to live forever. Lord Cob, the villain of the film, uses beauty makeup - perhaps even magical Botox - to look younger. She wants to live forever, because she is important. She deserves to live forever. And if you view today's media - and specifically relevant is the commercial advertising - we constantly have on our screens, the selling point of everything is how young it will make us feel, or how much better and longer our lives will be because of it - it being whatever star, or product, is the current marketable economic driver.
"Tales From Earthsea" directly states that this is all nonsense. Death is the end and beginning of the forever ages old cycle of life. There is no life without death; there is no appreciation of life without death. I think too many viewers are not interested in that message. I do believe that is a message often found in earlier Ghibli films, but usually in a gentler fashion than Goro Miyazaki brought to "Earthsea."