Starring:Shawn Ashmore, Kristin Kreuk, Isabella Rossellini, Danny Glover, Sebastian Roché
Throughout the last two decades of the 20th century the fantasy genre gained a large number of followers, which initially might have been influenced by encounters with J.R.R. Tolkien’s adventures or roll playing games such as Dungeons & Dragons. This group of people has steadily grown through the help of computer games, books, and other media that brings the audience away from the reality of the human existence. Thus, the Sci-Fi Channel delivers the Legend of Earthsea to this growing fan base.
The televised miniseries Legend of Earthsea is an adventure that brings the audience away from reality to the world of Earthsea where the world consists of a vast number of islands. The author Ursula K. Le Guin created this world and she has a large number of dedicated readers. More can be found on her website, www.ursulakleguin.com, in regards to her books and comments in regards to the TV series.
Legend of Earthsea opens in a small island village where the blacksmith’s son, Ged (Shawn Ashmore) discovers that he has magical powers. Ged, a restless young man, saves the town from an attack through the use of magic, which brings forth the wizard Ogion (Danny Glover). Ogion requests that Ged becomes his student, but Ged’s father initially rejects the request. Nonetheless, Ged becomes the pupil of Ogion, as he begins his journey on becoming a wizard.
On this journey the audience gets to follow how Ged is coming of age through foolish magical stunts and deadly encounters with dragons and other dangerous creatures. Ged builds lasting friendships and eventually discovers the wonder of love. Through many adventures with Ged the audience will experience both suspense and drama with some wisdom.
The mini-series seems to be based on a number of clichés from other fantasy films such as Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, and Willow (1988) among other films. This hurts the story, as does the visual experience through some CGI effects that come across with visual awkwardness. If one truly wants to experience the world of Earthsea the audience should reads Ursula K. Le Guin’s books, which are far superior to this TV story.
Earthsea had great potential, as the books offer a solid foundation upon which a film can be made. However, it seems that this film shows the affects of too many chefs, which leaves the audience with a somewhat flat fantasy experience. There are interesting subplots and themes, but it never takes off and flies by itself. It merely remains standing on the ground displaying a monument without value, which in the end will leave most viewers disappointed. It might only be a rental recommendation to those hardcore fantasy enthusiasts that watch everything about an alternative reality.