Finally got around to watching the first installment of the Amazon “Lord Of The Rings” prequel series, The Rings Of Power (RoP). Even though I have Amazon Prime for shipping reasons and could watch it for free via my Amazon account, I downloaded the episode because I refuse to give Amazon the click on this farce.
The lead up chatter about RoP has been almost universally negative based on the awful trailers. As someone who read The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings as a youngster and who generally loved, and often rewatch, the Peter Jackson film adaptation of LotR (but not the atrocious Hobbit trilogy), the world of Middle Earth is an important part of my literary foundation.
Needless to say I went into this new adaptation, and calling it an adaptation is being awfully generous, expecting to hate it and be offended but mostly I was bored.
They tried to cram an entire epoch of backstory into an overly long narration at the beginning. It didn’t do much to clarify the setting. Then they launched into one of the clumsiest plots I have ever had the misfortune of sitting through. Most of what happened on screen made me ask “Why the hell would you do that?”. The infamous Galadriel ice climbing scene was so cringe-inducing it was hard to watch as she clambers up sheer ice face. Of course Galadiel outpaces the stupid White guy elves who use actual ice axes while she uses a dagger.
It gets worse as the elves end up at an abandoned fortress where of course the White guy elves all act like idiots and whine about going home before they are attacked by a troll. If you have watched Lord Of The Rings, Legolas is a nimble, agile warrior, running up the cave troll like a cat. These elves? They mostly stood around flat footed like they had never fought before. Until Galadriel single-handedly carves up the troll.
The Harfoots, a proto-hobbit? The black Harfoot is the wise one seeing the portents in the sky while the chubby girl Harfoot is adventurous and curious.
The randomly black elf? He is in a love with, not kidding, a single White mother of a mixed race child. She needed to be about 200 pounds heavier and have a few tats to make it more realistic. The townies are of course White and include the obligatory racist town redneck.
Back to the elves. Elrond is portrayed as a faggy politician and the High King, Gil-galad, decides to ship Galadriel back across the sea because she is a threat to him or something equally stupid. He must be threatened by her powerful, fierce feminism. They introduce Lord Celebrimbor who is involved in the forging of the Rings of Power and he is portrayed as a little sinister.
Near the end of the episode as Galadriel and other elves are travelling back across the sea, they apparently decided to stand on the deck of a ship wearing armor because that is smart on a open vessel crossing a sea.
I frequently spend long journeys at sea standing stock-still, holding a sword for no reason whatsoever and wearing armor that would drag me to the bottom if I fell overboard. As they approached the end of their journey some creepy chicks in the back dressed like nuns undressed them and it was as awkward as it sounds. I looked over to my wife and said “Watch she is going to jump overboard and swim back”.
The show makes the distance between Valinor and Middle Earth seem vast, like at least Atlantic Ocean vast, but as the first episode ends Galadriel is in the water. No food, no raft, no water. Not a great plan, in a year or so when she manages to swim back I am sure she will be fine.
Downloaded the second episode out of morbid curiosity. Still waiting to see the powerful fierce black wahmen dwarf with hoop earrings, maybe we get to see her in the next episode. I might watch the second one tonight yet if I feel the need to suffer.
The biggest takeaway from RoP is how uninteresting and boring it was. I expected flashy, loud and dumb but just got dumb and boring. The only time I was interested was when something especially dumb was happening but most of the hour was just just mind-numbingly boring. I have little hope it will be better but on the bright side it makes the Game of Thrones prequel House of the Dragon seem fairly well made in comparison.