IT DOUBLES AS A FLASHLIGHT The hero of Tales From Earthsea
Credit: ©2006 Nibariki - GNDHDDT

Animation buffs who swoon at the name ”Miyazaki” should stand warned: This lofty eco-mystical fairy tale was directed by Goro Miyazaki, the son of the Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki (Spirited Away, Princess Mononoke). He does an okay imitation of his father’s languidly matter-of-fact dreamscapes, but it’s hard to deny that a certain vitality is missing in Tales From Earthsea. Arren (Matt Levin), a boy prince on the run, finds his mentor in a stately wizard named Sparrowhawk (Timothy Dalton). Their nemesis is an androgynous slave trader voiced with silken spookiness by Willem Dafoe. But the battle soon sinks into a bog of overly murky narrative. C+