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A Legend of Earthsea – on the SciFi Network

by Jennifer 0 Comments

A Legend of Earthsea

SciFi Channel

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.

Farscape: The Peacekeeper Wars

by Jennifer 0 Comments

This was a bitter-sweet mini-series for me, because it appears that they really won’t be making any more episodes of this wonderful series. Without giving any spoilers, let me just say that the ending is even more of an ending than the series ending was.

If you’re not familiar with Farscape, it is a story of an astronaut, John Crichton, who is “shot through a wormhole” and ends up on the other end of the universe. There he meets up with a living ship, named Moya and becomes friends with her crew. It is a story of adventure and drama as everyone on the ship is a fugitive and wants to get to his or her respective home.

Over the course of the seasons, we learn more about the different races and cultures that make up the Peacekeeper universe. It’s not peaceful, let me make that clear right away (as if the title of this mini-series doesn’t give that away). And the wars are just as stupid and inane as they are on Earth, just with larger weapons.

In the course of the TV seasons, John has been given the knowledge to control and manipulate wormholes. This knowledge is highly sought after, because the Scarans and the Peacekeepers believe he can use it to make a super weapon. He can’t, but they don’t believe him.

The Peacekeeper Wars opens exactly where Farscape, the series, ends. [spoiler alert]Aeryn and John are not dead, just crystalized. And Rygel swims around the ocean floor picking up all the crystals so they can be put back together. Of course, they appear as they were when they crystalized – locked in an embrace. But they quickly recover and have their blasters out (yes, Winona is still around) and aimed at the surrounding people.

The action is all there, the humor is there, and the relationships just get better and better. Some of the characters that I was annoyed by in the series are not nearly as annoying in this episode (Jewel – yes, I mean you). There are sad points and happy ones and all in all it’s a very satisfying 4 hours – end of the show notwithstanding.

The SciFi channel went a long way towards redeeming themselves with this mini-series. It doesn’t make up for the show being cancelled, but it’s a very good mini-series a lot of fun and interesting for sci-fi junkies and Farscape lovers alike.