Let me first say that I haven’t read A Wizard of Earthsea or The Tombs of Atuan since I was 10 years old or so. So, bearing that in mind, I watched A Legend of Earthsea on the SciFi Channel without a lot of expectations. I’d watched them mess with their original series Farscape until it was just a bunch of loose ends and then tie it back together again when the fan-base screamed bloody murder. So, I wasn’t expecting a lot from this movie.
That said, I enjoyed it. It wasn’t the best TV movie I’ve ever seen, it wasn’t the worst. It was much better than most TV offerings right now and it held my attention.
The acting was so-so for the most part, and the CGI to create the various cut scenes reminded me of a video game (so much so that whenever they cut to the evil warlord, I thought we had moved to a video game commercial for some RTS war game), but like I said, it was enjoyable and entertaining for two nights.
I then went online and learned that nearly everyone who was anyone in SciFi hated this travesty of a TV movie. What was I thinking that I could say that I enjoyed it?? Even the author of the books it was austensibly recreating was ticked off.
So I re-read the first book
If you’ve read A Wizard of Earthsea any time in the last 5-10 years, don’t watch this movie. You’ll hate it. It’s as if the screen writers took the first two books (A Wizard of Earthsea and The Tombs of Atuan) and cut the scenes into chunks. Then threw the scene chunks into a hat and pulled them out at random. Then, when they didn’t seem to fit right the way they were, they added scenes and changed things and generally made a hash of the books.
For one thing: his TRUE name is GED not Sparrowhawk as they said on the show. I mean, WHY would they make that change? It’s not a huge deal in the grand scheme of things, but crimeny, they got it completely backwards.
It makes me wonder if Gavin Scott read the books back when he was 10 and then wrote a screenplay of what he remembered. Nice work if you can get it.
So, I stand by my original assessment, it was an OK TV movie about a kid coming of age and falling in love (of course) and uniting two forms of magic (of course) and saving the world (of course). It’s too bad that they put the “Earthsea” label on it. But I suppose if they hadn’t I wouldn’t have watched it, as I would have assumed that it was another SciFi Channel botchup job.
But if you’ve read the books it was possibly the worst adaptation of a SciFi novel I’ve ever seen.