‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ is a pretty unremarkable boredom


Can you make your way to the next “Game of Thrones?” Jeff Bezos – the world second richest man and, incidentally, the owner of the Washington Post – certainly seems to have tried.

According at the newsthe founder of Amazon and Fan of JRR Tolkien had his company pay about $250 million just for the rights to make a TV show based on “The Lord of the Rings.” The resulting series, which debuts on Thursday, will be the most expensive ever.

But you already know what I’m doing: if money was all it took to create the next fantastic monoculture phenomenon, it would have happened by now.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power“Comes 21 years after the first movie in Peter Jackson’s theatrical trilogy – and less than two weeks after HBO’s own attempt to cash in on the goodwill that ‘Game of Thrones’ left behind through its prequel series,”Dragon House.” As Westeros drama plays up its parent show’s penchant for shock, pulp and gore, Middle-earth saga, in line with Jackson’s adaptations, is much more family-oriented. Although the eight-part first season hints at an impending war between elves and orcs – with dwarves, humans and a precursor to the Hobbit race called the Harfoots in the mix – the copious and hectic action of the first two episodes (those screened for reviews) is bloodless and driven by computer effects. Its defining influence is not the epic scale of “Game of Thrones,” but the neutrality of Marvel. If the production design weren’t so spectacular (and the characters and settings bought by Amazon), “The Rings of Power” wouldn’t be so out of place on Disney Plus.

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To be fair, The Lord of the Rings franchise was meant for all ages. But we don’t know who “The Rings of Power” is for. Based largely on appendices — Annexes ! – to the novel “The Lord of the Rings”, it takes place approximately 3,000 years before the events of this book. Already greenlit for five seasons (with a possible spin-off in the works), inexperienced showrunners JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who only have uncredited “Star Trek Beyond” writing work to their name on IMDb, said their goal was to make a 50 hour show” from material covered in a few minutes in Jackson movies. In total, the budget for the series is expected to exceed $1 billion. That should be easy enough to top: the first season alone cost $465 million, according to the Hollywood Reporterand this without taking into account the initial money to secure the IP.

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So far, I’ve spent this review focusing more on the development of “The Rings of Power” than its content, since there are so few remarks in the show itself. The characters – including Elves Galadriel and Elrond, played by Cate Blanchett and Hugo Weaving in the films – are thin phyllo and the plots not much more substantial. Exiled from her childhood home of Valinor by a centuries-long war that claimed the life of her older brother, this young Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) won’t give up the fight despite the lack of sightings of orcs for years. . (Outside of combat, Elves tend to live forever.)

There’s also a rambunctious, adventure-seeking young Harfoot named Nori (Markella Kavenagh) – an anomaly within her island, nomadic community – so archetypal her chorus might as well be “I want to be where the people are, there must be more than this provincial lifeShe soon gets her wish when a sickly stranger (Daniel Weyman) – tall and angular-faced – is found nearby exhausted, amnesiac and heavily implicated as being the story’s antagonist.

Several miles away, a human healer, Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), and an elven sentry, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova), carry on a probably doomed cross-species flirtation. Elrond (Robert Aramayo), a member of the Elf King’s court, has his own challenges maintaining a friendship with the dwarf prince Durin (Owain Arthur), who could prove a crucial ally in battle. against the orcs. Despite Jackson claim that the “Rings of Power” creative team ghosted him, they borrow and build on the character designs, fairytale aesthetics, and musical landscape he created for the films. (Expect to sing – a lot.)

“The Rings of Power” seems to bank on dazzling Tolkien fans with breathtaking views of exotic lands they may never have seen before: Middle-earth, of course, but also Valinor, a land holy where the immortals dwell, and the island kingdom of Númenor, whose downfall is written in the books. (Like Jackson’s films, the series was filmed in New Zealand.) But for audiences not yet invested in the whereabouts of pointy-eared people, the series doesn’t give much reason to s worry about it.

The performances are useful but unremarkable, while the dialogue is particularly cheesy and inartistic, with too many intoned monologues about the search for “the light” or the ever-vague nature of evil. The fate of many worlds hangs in the balance, but the uninspired opulence on screen sparks only visions in the imagination. bills going up in smoke. Rarely has danger felt so dull.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power debuts with two episodes Thursday at 9 p.m. EST on Amazon Prime Video. New episodes air weekly on Fridays.

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