It's interesting to discover that Tales From Earthsea, the latest Studio Ghibli title to be distributed by Disney, was originally released in 2006. Especially since it seems like in four years, someone could have found a way to make its story a little more interesting. (But then again, maybe that's why it took four years to get shown in the States.)

Operating enthusiastically on the liberal side of the divide between casual viewers of Japanese animation and diehard anime (and more specifically, Miyazaki) fans, Tales From Earthsea is every bit as beautiful and well-rendered as its predecessors. But its pastoral, unhurried approach to adapting Ursula K. Le Guin's final two novels in the Earthsea series feels about as exciting as if Peter Jackson had decided to shoot the Lord of the Rings trilogy from the point of view of the tree people, the Ents, only to smash cut to the action at Mordor at the last minute in order to provide a too-late dramatic payoff to their glacial indecision.