I want to preface this review by saying I am not a massive Tolkien nerd. While LOTR has a special place in my heart, I’m still a novice when it comes to the lore and background of Middle Earth, etc. I’m working my way through the books at a snail’s pace, but I have a long way to go before I can boast of having any credentials.
That being said, this episode did not give me LOTR vibes. While some well-known names come up, it doesn’t capture the same feelings LOTR stirred in me. LOTR is a masterpiece of imagination that instantly captures your attention. It makes you feel like you are returning somewhere you went once in a dream; a wholesome place where magic reigns and good will always vanquish evil now matter how strong the foe may seem.
Rings of Power….does not do this.
Again, I’m no Tolkien expert, but there is something decidedly off about it. I can’t even call it fanfiction because there are plenty of fanfiction writers who are able to capture the ethos of the books/TV shows/movies they are writing about. Rings of Power feels like someone is playing a live-action role playing game very loosely based on Tolkien’s work.
Many Tolkien fans have expressed rage at this show (mostly for comments made by cast and crew outside of the show), but I am not one of them.
No, I wasn’t enraged by Rings of Power.
I was bored.
To start, I don’t care about any of the characters, including Galadriel. She should be the most intriguing of the lot, but she’s such a bland Mary-Sue it’s impossible to be invested in any of her ambitions. We’re supposed to care about her grief over her brother’s death but…we saw him for all of five minutes. It would have been much more effective if we had a full-episode of them together, interacting and developing, only for him to be killed.
That would have emotional impact.
But no, he eats it in the first 5-10 minutes so we don’t have any reason to give a crap.
Also, none of the elves actually look or act like elves. I know this is supposed to take place hundreds of years in the past (or thousands), but the elves are an immortal race (unless killed in battle). I seriously doubt their dress, attitudes, etc would change that much in that time frame. Time is like water in a stream and the elves are rocks. They stay the same while time passes them by at a rapid pace. I never got that impression with these characters. They never came across as ageless beings that almost transcend human understanding.
They’re just a bunch of well-dressed white people (well, mostly white people) that live in fancy palaces in the woods. Where is the haughty attitude? Where is the languid movement? If you took away their pointy ears there would be nothing to distinguish them from humankind.
Now, if they spoke entirely in Elvish exclusively while keeping their own company that would have been cool. I know they didn’t do this in the movies (only a few lines were in Elvish) but that would have really expressed their otherworldliness. Instead, we got a bunch of gorgeous set pieces with boring dialogue and even more boring characters.
Then, there are the not-Hobbits (Nobbits?) that live in secluded neighborhoods in the forest.
I love the Hobbits. I consider them my favorite fictional race just because of how much of a mood they are.
But these Hobbits are not nearly as charming. Sure they are cute but….that’s about it. They are doing the whole we-can’t-be-seen-by-other-races-because-evil-or-whatever. The same story we’ve seen half a dozen times by now.
I can’t even recall what the Nobbit girl’s name is supposed to be because she’s an archetype that doesn’t interest me anymore. Worse, everyone around her is also an archetype we’ve already seen before.
Enough about the characters, how was the plot?
I’ll be honest with you, I found it so phenomenally uninteresting it’s difficult for me to remember.
Oh, yeah! Voldemor—sorry—Sauron is back. No one believes Galadriel when she claims he’s still alive for no reason other than dramatic tension and it’s up to her to find out where he is hiding. Also, there’s an evil thing that is making the cows sick.
Yes, also, there’s an elf that wants to take a human chick and explore her mines of Moria if you catch my meaning.
TL;DR: This show is dull, the dialogue is dull and —at times—nonsensical, the plot is not that interesting, and I do not care at all.
Is it as horrible as some reviewers are claiming it to be? I, personally, don’t think so. Is it insulting and alienating for Tolkienites? Well, for a lot of them, it would appear that is the case.
One thing is for sure, however…
This thing was not worth $1B.