In the early 2000s, Peter Jackson achieved something that was thought impossible: an epic, accurate and successful adaptation of ‘The Lord of the Rings’. It was almost twelve hours of Tolkienian deliriumiconic and unforgettable images, emblematic characters and designs mixed with practical effects that continue to amaze twenty years later.
Sadly, time passes, and if ‘The Hobbit’ was already the sign that not everything can be lengthened artificially while maintaining magic, ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ is, directly, a fanfic that adapts the crumbs of the author and who does not know how to create the right environment around them. It’s not just that what we see doesn’t have the tone of JRR Tolkien’s literature or Peter Jackson’s Middle-earth, it’s that it remains as a transcript between the two, a series made by fans to which the money invested does not save him from being much more generic than expected.
Reforging the broken sword
There is little to complain about the prologue of ‘The Rings of Power’: is exactly what anyone could dream of returning to Middle Earth, even copying some idioms from ‘The Fellowship of the Ring’. The presentation of the story is a little wonder that puts the rest of the series in context and that dazzles with fabulous images, relentless fights and imperfect characters, taken directly from one of the English writer’s books. All doubts are removed in one fell swoop. And yet…
Nothing foreshadows that after these minutes of unambiguous re-entry with an absolute commitment to spectacularity, ‘The rings of power’ would fall into a hole of unconnected plots full of dozens of characters who lack the charm and charisma from any time in the Peter Jackson trilogy. Wanting to satisfy all possible audience niches, the Amazon series bets on everything. And when you bet on everything, you win, yes, but eliminating any risk that makes you different.
What made ‘The Lord of the Rings’ special was that, deep down, it was a suicidal project of Peter Jackson, which played it all or nothing against an industry that considered that what it wanted to achieve was a chimera. And he got it: created something unique, original, titanic and different that confronts the proposal of streaming head-on, which is simply taking advantage of a powerful franchise to try to get ahead. But it is difficult to do it when neither Jackson’s talent nor Tolkien’s dialogue is behind it, turning the two episodes that we have been able to see into a remarkable attempt to recreate Middle-earth that falls as soon as we leave its spectacular landscapes and its scenes. of action.
I don’t know half of you
I do not deny that behind ‘The Rings of Power’ there have been many people putting love into each shot, each plot, each character and each action scene. It is noticeable, but also There have been too many people saying that maybe I shouldn’t have done it, and that the mixture of trying to please everyone (producers, artistic team, future viewers of any possible target) not working properly. There is a very detectable aimlessness that not even a seasoned director like JA Bayona can channel.
There is a plot with and for children, another so that fans of the encyclopedic history of the novels stay at ease recognizing moments and characters, there is no lack of romantic history, comedy and a small action scene every fifteen minutes (so no one gets bored). It is a mishmash that does not finish focusing at any time and that, at the end of episode 2, has not yet been channeled, further delaying the real start of the story (if any). This is not a return to Middle-earth in style, as some first impressions announced: it is the conversion of a saga into a franchise that you already know will have more seasons and you only need to stick to the basics and show four or five iconic shots per episode.
Yes, there are details that only the most die-hard Tolkien fans will understand (in part because they haven’t been allowed to base themselves on anything even remotely known or accessible), but ‘The Rings of Power’ you also want to make sure no one gets lost in none of the plots. To do this, the transitions between scenes they show a map that indicates where we are going. As a nod to those nights reading ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and going back to the first page map every time you went to a new place it works, but past the pilot episode it’s a pain. But the biggest problem of the series does not lie in its desperate attempt to reach everyone (after all, with the money they have spent on making it, it was what they had to do), but in the dialogues.
Adventures never end? I suppose not
If in ‘The Lord of the Rings’ they were not afraid that each sentence would sound grandiose and epic, because the story that was being told asked for this gravity, here it seems that they are afraid of scaring the public or suffering the ridicule of social networks if each step of the plot is not explained to him three times in the most colloquial way possible (within Middle-earth standards, of course). This entails not only that the dialogue is uninteresting, but that there is too much, unnatural and makes the plot move too slowly getting lost in spirals on themselves and elongating the gum. The situations and dilemmas are repeated over and over again, rather than marking the personality of the characters, crushing it.
Not everything is negative in ‘The Rings of Power’: visually it is spectacular, without hitches. The presentation of the different locations, almost always with a wide shot to show every last detail of the production design, is impressive (although the resource wears out quickly). Also, the CGI is some of the most elaborate we’ve ever seen on television, and the designs of the different races and characters work perfectly. Visually, beyond small details (personally I notice changes in tone that are difficult to argue), it is difficult to put a but.
I have no doubt that ‘The Rings of Power’, as much as it has not convinced me, going to destroy. It has everything to achieve it: a franchise loved by everyone, a spectacular visual section that from the prologue enters through the eyesa huge cast with new and familiar characters that give a sense of familiarity and surprise at the same time, the soundtrack by Howard Shore accompanying the steps of the dozens of characters…
The question is, will he be convincing enough to make up for the $715 million that have been spent in carrying it out (counting the purchase of the rights)? Amazon Prime Video he knows that he is risking it with this series and that he cannot fall into indifference. The question is not whether it will break viewing records, but whether the record it breaks will be enough to keep the project afloat and whether it will catapult the service or, on the contrary, make it lose millions and millions.
‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ is one of the most anticipated projects of the year, a series that does not lack epic moments to put in a trailer but that, beyond (and judging by the first two episodes ), is a very nice piece of gear and desperate to fit but lack of soul, magic and innocence. We’ll see how far this somewhat disappointing return to Middle-earth takes us. Hopefully after episode eight you read this and after the spectacular walks through Gondor and Khazad Dum I don’t recognize a single word and regret it, because I would like nothing more than to enjoy this saga again. Welcome to the most expensive fanfic in history.