23 January 2022 654 Views

THE RINGS OF POWER: AMAZON launches its new Tolkien empire.

by James Murphy

And it looks really BORING. So, so dull!

Ok, it is not a trailer. This is not even a teaser. It is a launch advert. Assuring us all of the project being underway and readied on schedule for a projected release date. Fine. That makes solid commercial sense. I get it!

But what this promotional, even dare I say ‘viral’ piece of marketing cannot do, at least for me, is EXCITE my interest. Anticipation not stoked or even tickled.

Granted, I was never a Tolkien scholar. But I watched the Peter Jackson films. Loathed Fellowship of the Ring. ADORED The Two Towers. Liked some sections in Return of the King, but felt it outstayed its welcome via needlessly sentimental finale x 1000. Then there was that ghastly HOBBIT trilogy. I still refuse to believe Jackson made such a pointless set of films.

Seriously. They had but ONE book. At most, you can stretch it into two films. Max. But THREE?? Come on. The thing belonged as a pre Christmas television treat for kids on BBC, same way HARRRRRRYYYYY POTTTTERRRR ought to be a Saturday morning cartoon, at best imho.

That being said? Markets are markets. People WANT more Tolkien stuff on film. Be crazy NOT to mine his universe. All good. And indeed, unlike say the now over-saturated / tonally muddled STAR WARS, there is at least some cohesive blueprint of lost/unfinished/post script works on which to draw.

Tolkien was, in many senses, among the first ‘world builders’: writing mythologies for his own..um..mythologies. CS Lewis did likewise with Narnia. Those writers were good mates and relished in the lore of language and language of lore, to the extent that they were evangelical in the preservation of ye olde Englishe as a compulsory translation paper in Oxford English Finals. Whate Ye Olde Gites they werea toe subjecte otherwisee talenteded studentes from near and afar to..well..some really complex, obscure and arguably kinda dull, mind numbing exercises.

But that’s The Inklings for you. I digress.

Point is? Amazon stresses the consultation with the leagues of Tolkien fans, custodians, protectors, scholars etc. Lovely that they want to pay such deference, homage and holy respect to a work’s creator. But also, in a way, a rather bad omen. Because the danger is in the show being neither new material nor truly creative and substantial treatment of the old. At this rate, why not just make a documentary series? Or film THE SILMARILLION?

Farmer Giles of Ham, even, could still have the ‘THIS IS TOLKIEN’ mark to it, with far less stress involved in the conception. But no. We appear to be getting some mish mash of prequel and re-quel? Dramatising stuff that has been explained before and better.

I must not judge precipitously or harshly, of course. And yes, I will watch the thing, once released. My instincts nonetheless suspect there will be a massive debut and diminishing returns. Much riding on the parallel dragon of GAME OF THRONES and its prequel (basically: Tolkien with more dragons, tits and teeth?). If one flies, the other gets both a boost and a burden.

Mildly curious. Appreciative of effort invested. But not excited or impressed. Yet. It aint tickling my..um..power ring? Ok that’s enough. Nanite, middle earth 😉 x



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