"As You Know, Ged..."

Hilde and I watched Sci Fi Channel's Earthsea last night.

My old scriptwriting finger got itchy. It's been thirty years since I read the Earthsea books, so I don't remember enough to say how much, or how badly, the producers changed LeGuin's work. But I felt it certainly needed somebody (even me!) to give it another rewrite (or three).

The dialogue was clunky and (particularly in the first hour) filled with awkward expository lumps. The direction was... pedestrian (and actively bad in some spots, such as Ged's leading the soldiers over the cliff). The CGI effects were mostly of several-years-behind-the-development-curve level, and jarred with the real characters and settings. And despite a few bright spots like Danny Glover and Isabella Rosselini, the acting was mostly... again, this word... pedestrian. (And a special plea to the guy playing Ged's father: If you have a day job, please please please, go back to it.)

Could have been worse. In a bad fantasy movie, Ged would have been six-foot-three with rippling abs, and taking off his shirt at every opportunity. When he picked up a sword for the first or near-first time in his life, he would have beaten the well-trained villain. And there would have been a scene with the young priestesses relaxing in the communal baths. (We did have the villain and the traitorous priestess in bed together, but for a bad movie, you have to have lots of young women in a state of undress at the same time.)

I'll give it a "C". I'm thinking I'll re-read the Earthsea books; I may down-grade the movie after that.

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