Evil is approaching Middle Earth- and all kinds must prepare against it. Amazon Prime’s $465 million The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is a stunning visual treat with swooping landscapes and views of the inner earth, yet it stroked its viewers with unthinkable contention ranging from racism to Amazon delaying its rating display for the show.
Still, there is so much to talk about.
This is a prequel to the Lord of Rings movie series which was directed by Peter Jackson (The guy who also directed King Kong Skull Island). This time it is the Spanish director J.A Bayona who took the helm and the camera under his command.
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This is quite a vast series and has garnered a plethora of views. Not to mention it is running along with its undeclared competitor The House of Dragon series on HBO Max.
The show depicts an awe-inspiring world we all would like to take stroll in. Dreamy nights, misty evenings, bright sunny plains, deep lush forests, and a breathtaking world of dwarves which is beneath the earth soil. Nature has never been this divine and the director made sure it never does.
The story starts way before the movies storyline, in middle earth where dwarves, elves, humans and harfoots (hobbits) reside comfortably, but not peacefully. This is a one big continent pretty much like the Pangea, derived from the rich and complex world of R.R Tolkien.
Even with only two episodes aired till now, the series has depicted a staggering image of the plot. It is an epic for the fans of Tolkien and a super epic for the ones who are seeing Tolkien’s work for the first time.
It is quite evident that the movie has featured, designed, written, and has been directed by all the avid Tolkien fans. The director himself says in an interview with the Collider Magazine:
“To me, to tell you the truth, I will be very excited if people are as excited again about Middle-earth. So, if we can get people excited and go back to the books and read them or discover them, that would be fantastic”- the director effuses.
So far, we know is that an unrelenting elf Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) is a valiant warrior in search for something everyone else believe is a myth: the search for Saraun , an evil sorcerer. Her brother died in his pursuit of the evil commander and her sister now carries that oath.
Galadriel is not the only one worried. Humans and Harfoots (predecessors of hobbits) soon become aware of it too. A danger is coming to middle earth and everyone must be prepared for it. The series revolves around characters from each of their kind struggling to identify the upcoming wrath.
The series bring a fresh series of characters with their own fresh history. When you go through its previous movies along with this series, you would realize that The Rings of Power isn’t about the protagonists or the antagonists, unlike the movies, it is about the elaborated world of RR Tolkien and the matters that dwell in it.
The series is dedicated entirely in glorifying the middle earth world, the creatures in it and the dramatic life that persists between them. There are intricate details of the culture and a sense of grandness attached to many scenes.
Despite the grandeur and an expansive storyline, the series is receiving scathing views for a number of reasons.
RR Tolkien’s world is the one based on native European mythology and folklore. This means that all the characters would be white. However, a number of views and accused Amazon for introducing non-white characters as elves and harfoots.
As a non-white myself, I totally appreciate the endeavor of including diverse characters, but with all due respect when we talk about projects based on ancient folklore and mythology, it is best in staring actors and actresses related to that native topic. Just imagine someone like Sir Ian Murray McKellen (aka Gandalf in the LOR series) donning a character of a native Indian King, now wouldn’t that be unusual.
Another hit that tool this show was the accusation of portraying all dwarves as Irish. Now I don’t consider myself as someone expert in Western fiction, but I think that may be that’s what Tolkien has portrayed in his magical world. I honestly can say much about this.
It is being said that the show has five seasons planned. Hearing this one can simply admire and swoon over the richness and the abundance of details that the two aired episodes have so far yielded.
Now let’s talk about the two main characters we’ve seen so far. Galadriel is a valiant risk taking and a bit stubborn royal character who would do anything to achieve what she wants. Even though she is a brave warrior of the wastelands and hails from a royal lineage of elves from the kingdom of Valinor. She is the only one initially who can sense a danger coming- a war. It is evident that her quest will define the later events of the series.
But Galadriel is not the only interesting character here, there’s a harfoot called Nori who lives with her secretive clan hiding away in the woods and adhering to the nomadic nature.
The thing which astonishes me is the budget that has been invested. Amazon is to invest up to $1 billion into the series production. This makes the series probably the most expensive and arguably the most enormous in the OTT market. This is a project too big to fail.
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Apart from surreal animations and a compelling storyline, the drama seems too much of a fantasy in all its animated glory and splendor. What Peter Jackson did with the movies is a far cry from what has been done here by J.A Bayona.
While Jackson ensured that his created world comes out as realistic as possible, same can’t be said with the new show. This has significant chances of the series turning out as less immersive. Its too much fantasy and feels like a children movie out of Disney, only this time that it’s from Amazon. But this certainly does not make The Rings of Power a project not worthy of watching.
It’s a big wide world of Middle Earth out there, and with its all characters and sweeping beauty, it is worth noting that it’s a magnum opus of an offering and a must watch for all, even for those have not seen Tolkien inspired movies.