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Earthsea [DVD]


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Product details

  • Actors: Shawn Ashmore, Kristin Kreuk, Isabella Rossellini, Danny Glover, Sebastian Roché
  • Directors: Robert Lieberman
  • Producers: Matthew O'Connor
  • Format: PAL
  • Region: Region 2 (This DVD may not be viewable outside Europe. Read more about DVD formats.)
  • Number of discs: 1
  • Classification: 12
  • Studio: Contender
  • DVD Release Date: 2 May 2005
  • Run Time: 180 minutes
  • Average Customer Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • ASIN: B00095L8F2
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 74,473 in DVD & Blu-ray (See Top 100 in DVD & Blu-ray)

Reviews

Epic fantasy television miniseries from the Sci Fi Channel, based on the classic novels by Ursula Le Guin. In the archipelago of Earthsea, Ged (Shawn Ashmore) is a young blacksmith's apprentice who possesses a rare magical gift. After saving his village from raiding Karg warriors, Ged is sent to the magical school on Roke island, where he can hone his skills. Headstrong and reckless, in a magical duel with another pupil Ged releases one of the Nameless Ones, ancient evil spirits that could destroy the world. Chased across the islands of Earthsea by the dark shadow he has released, Ged must find a way to destroy it by questioning the dragons who live in the islands of the far west. His quest will lead him to the secretive Tombs of Atuan, where Tenar (Kristin Kreuk), a young priestess, finds her life entangled with bitter court disputes as the ruthless King Tygath (Sebastian Roché) seeks to unleash the Nameless Ones and use them to rule all of Earthsea. As Tenar and Ged join forces to stop the Nameless Ones, they find the secret to an ancient prophecy that could bring peace to their world.

Customer Reviews

2.5 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

40 of 40 people found the following review helpful By E. A Solinas HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWER on 17 April 2007
Format: DVD
Ursula Le Guin's Earthsea books are full of magic, mystery, philosophy and intensely powerful storytelling.

But you wouldn't know it by this lackluster adaptation. Instead, "Earthsea" aspires to be "Harry Potter" in a medieval "Lord of the Rings" setting, with two plots mishmashed haphazardly into one, shoddy special effects, laughable action scenes, and some seriously wooden acting.

Rebellious, impatient Ged (Shawn Ashmore) attracts the attention of the wizard Ogion (Danny Glover) when he magically rescues his village from raiders. He joins Ogion as an apprentice, but soon proves too impatient -- and so Ogion sends him to the wizard school on Roke, where Ged soon proves to be one of the most gifted pupils. But his pride and anger become his undoing, when he accidentally summons a foul demon.

Meanwhile on the island of Atuan, the High Priestess (Isabella Rossellini) is slowly wasting away, and she hastily selects her successor, teenage Tenar (Kristin Kreuk). What no one knows is that the king of the Kargides is having her poisoned, and his priestess lover is trying to find a way into the labyrinth below, where the dangerous Nameless Ones are kept. To save all of Earthsea, Ged must brave its most terrifying dangers.

"Earthsea" basically is two books' worth of plots crammed together, but not well -- the entire tone is changed to "Harry Potter in Middle-Earth," with the plucky wizard pupil on a roadtrip with his funny chubby buddy against the forces of evil. The entire time at Roke just reeks of Hogwarts.

Even if judged purely on its own merits, "Earthsea" is still a disaster -- the direction is clunky, and the special effects are amateurish at best.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Greg Jordan on 18 Sep 2007
Format: DVD
Chalk up another bad TV adaptation for Ursula LeGuin. This non-animated two-part TV series might work as a bit of cliched fantasy if you haven't read the books. There's nothing really terrible about it as television. Trouble is if you've read the books you'll know that what they left out is much, much,much better than what they left in or made up. The Japanese cartoon film Tales of Earthsea was honest from the start by saying it was just inspired by the books, but this show might make people think Le Guin wrote a series of books about white magicians. She did much more and there's a great series of films waiting to be made by someone who really read them.
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31 of 33 people found the following review helpful By Average Joe on 23 April 2006
Format: DVD
The only reason this film doesn't get a 1 star rating is because for those who have never read any of the Earthsea books it may be an enjoyable romp.

However, i would warn anyone who has read the books to stay clear. It is a sorry disappointment otherwise, with some of the very main features of Ursula Le Guin's books being twisted and bodged together.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Trevor Willsmer HALL OF FAMETOP 50 REVIEWER on 15 Oct 2009
Format: DVD
Earthsea, Hallmark and the SciFi Channel's very loose adaptation Ursula LeGuin's Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan was preceded by an incredibly bad reputation, and sadly one it richly deserves. Bearing only a passing resemblance to the source material - a young wizard unleashes an evil shadow on the world while showing off his magic - the opening narration about prophecies and amulets serves fair warning that plot has become an identikit Dungeons and Dragons effort so formulaic that most small children could probably dictate the script before they can write or even walk. So little of the novels' philosophy survives, and even less of the characters or the nature of the world LeGuin created (nearly all the characters have suddenly become white-skinned Canucks) that the title seems merely there for branding reasons. Instead we get a low-budget variation on Lord of the Rings (evil warlord seeks forbidden knowledge to rule the world) while the wizards' isle of Roke has magically turned into Hogwarts without the blazers but with the obligatory obnoxious Malfoyesque villain. Worse, the changes are executed with such a visible lack of inspiration or enthusiasm that a good two-and-a-half hours of the three-hour running time feels like treading stagnant water.

As if this weren't bad enough, the film is disastrously cast with some of the most uncharismatic performers available, half of whom ham it up while the other half read their lines as if off a cue card with particularly bad handwriting. Sebastian Roche's pantomime villain deserves special note for his ability to place curious emphasis on the wrong word in every line as if he's lost all interest in every sentence long before reaching the end.
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69 of 76 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 7 Sep 2005
Format: DVD
"For people who wonder "why I let them" make the miniseries Legends of Earthsea, here's some background."
by the author of the books. Ursula k le guin:
[...]
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12 of 13 people found the following review helpful By S. Doherty on 21 Oct 2006
Format: DVD Verified Purchase
Having read Ursula LeGuin's Earthsea series, which are in no way childishly written, I was led to buy this film when I encountered it on amazon. If only I had read the reviews first...

This film is dismal. A cheap production with poor quality effects, and even worse acting. A few moderately recognisable names, such as the girl who plays Lana in Superman, and some other pleb, but overall, a waste of money. Be warned.
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