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Old 10-27-2022, 05:06 PM   #1
William Cloud Hicklin
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William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.William Cloud Hicklin is battling Black Riders on Weathertop.
Season One: the autopsies

I'll come back tomorrow with excerpts of what the mainstream critics have been saying- in sum, it's a collective "meh".

I will for now observe by way of comparison that House of the Dragon got more compelling drama out of a funeral than Rings of Power could from a battle and volcanic eruption. This is the result of giving priority to the f/x team over the writers.
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Old 10-28-2022, 02:35 PM   #2
William Cloud Hicklin
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Crisis Magazine:
Quote:
Reviewing the series is a daunting task, not only because of its scale but because it is such a thoroughgoing artistic failure. Critics of all stripes have been quick to note the show’s many defects: ludicrous action sequences, amateurish cinematography, and—as Forbes Magazine put it—“inexplicably terrible” writing. A study of the failures of The Rings of Power could very well serve as an introductory course in filmmaking—but would certainly be far too much for a single review.
The Forbes review cited in Crisis:
Quote:
Amazon’s “adaptation” is badly made TV with a nonsensical story built on wild coincidences, contrived plotlines and a blatant disregard for the various building blocks that make any story complete: Logical character choices, a sense of time and place, and narrative tension—not to mention an overly large cast of mostly forgettable and uncharismatic characters, some wholly made up for the show and others changed entirely as to be almost unrecognizable.

In every way that truly matters, The Rings Of Power fails from the writing to the acting to the presentation. It fails as an adaptation, neither enriching Tolkien’s work nor remaining true to it. It fails as a good fantasy, giving us generic tropes and melodrama rather than blazing new ground. And it fails as a compelling story, filled with cheap mystery boxes and unsurprising ‘twists.
[...]
This is not a good fantasy story even divorced from Tolkien’s work. Imagine re-adapting this back to book form. How could you? Simply jotting down the dialogue on paper would be torture.

The characters are forgettable at best. I didn’t even mention several of them because their stories amount to so precious little and their personalities are as flat and dry and empty as the Southlands... The Rings Of Power is an empty husk of a show. The story’s pacing is all of the map and it lacks any real tension or stakes.

In the end, it’s seven-and-a-half episodes of filler before finally arriving at the obvious twist and the forging of the rings in the final half of the final episode. It makes egregious changes to Tolkien’s work for no apparent reason and with no fidelity to the source material. Frankly, we should stop referring to it as an adaptation of Tolkien’s work entirely. Amazon should have saved the money and hired better writers to create something new instead. The only way The Lord Of The Rings actually serves this story is as marketing material.
Polygon, which has tried to be positive about this thing:
Quote:
The driving forces behind the first season all revolve around identities obscured by the writers, not deep desires of the characters.... Most other characters [besides Durin] are reduced to simply learning the hidden roles dealt out in the secret game of Werewolf the writers have been playing. Galadriel’s history with her husband, Bronwyn’s plight in the Southlands with her son Theo, absolutely everything about the harfoots — all of it reduced to parlor room debate over who might be holding the card that says they’re the Dark Lord.

Galadriel, the ostensible protagonist of the series, is the same person at the end of season 1 that she was at the start; the only appreciable difference by the season finale is one she shares with most of the big players in The Rings of Power: A bunch of characters that projected competence now look like huge dopes.
The Review Geek agrees, (titling its season wrap-up "How to Burn a Billion Dollars"):
Quote:
The character development is almost non-existent through large swathes of this season, and it’s presented in a really questionable way. The show has a bizarre tendency to lean on mystery box gimmicks for things that aren’t even mysteries.
[...]
But then even through all of this, the show has a really awful way of handling its dialogue. Characters either repeat information constantly or float into grandiose but nonsensical bits of dialogue that are almost laughable for how they’re delivered. Early on, Arondir is warned not to go down a hole as he doesn’t know what’s down there, so in reply he says “that is why I must go.” I could be here all day rattling off instances of dialogue like this.
[...]
Speaking of characters though, Galadriel in particular has to be one of the most unlikable protagonists in a project this year, if not in the past decade. [This is a common observation among many critics] She’s arrogant, rude, abrupt and unbelievably self-entitled, not to mention smug in most encounters. She walks around with a big scowl on her face and embodies all the characteristics you’d expect from a perfect “Mary Sue” character. The others here range from blandly forgettable to exhibiting sparks of promise (mostly Disa, Elrond and Durin) but largely, everything here is a big glossy void of…nothing.

There’s absolutely nothing here that exhibits depth, majesty or richness lore. Instead, what we get is an empty husk; a show playing puppeteer with Tolkien’s world but devoid of heart, reason and logic, with narrative faults rippling right the way through its production.
Startefacts thinks that the Harfoots were actually
Quote:
the creepiest part of the show... uncomfortable cult vibes.
Geeks and Gamers pulls no punches:
Quote:
The CIA no longer needs to resort to waterboarding anyone; they merely need to force them to watch this abysmal show, which is tantamount to torture, and no hardened criminal or terrorist will resist divulging whatever information they want. Beyond that, the show serves no other purpose. It is easily of the worst written television shows to ever be conjured. No amount of excuses or minor corrections could redeem Rings of Power; it is broken on nearly every conceivable level.
...constantly cuts away from anything that could remotely be of interest to the audience, choosing horrific dialogue and bad character moments over any potential for quality. This billion-dollar disaster is an affront to the senses and an insult to all intelligent viewers.
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Old 10-29-2022, 08:24 AM   #3
Morthoron
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Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.Morthoron is lost in the dark paths of Moria.
I wonder at the amount of hubris required to rewrite a world classic, not only for the necessities of time compression in a film environment, but to detrimentally alter the plot, radically change characters, and plop in superfluous storylines that bear absolutely no resemblance to the original author's intent.

I wondered at this while Peter Jackson and Phillipa Boyens made a mockery of The Hobbit, stretching and warping a fairly linear and short novel into three torturous films, and I am even more flummoxed and bebothered at how Amazon could lay out $1 billion (or whatever the ridiculous amount was), and yet hire hapless hacks to scribble fatuous fan-fiction with characterizations and plotpoints that anyone who has read Tolkien would immediately recognize as nonsense, and open itself up to such scathing critical ridicule.

We wonders, precious-s-s, we wonders.
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Old 11-06-2022, 08:48 PM   #4
Michael Murry
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A mangled Myth, mouldering at the Morgue

Speaking of autopsies -- an exquisitely appropriate term -- I caught this from the comment section of a movie-review YouTube channel, only one of the many I visited looking for postmortems on this cultural cadaver:

Quote:
“… Now look at RoP. Galadriel is exactly the same callous, single-minded, revenge-driven asshole at the end of the series as she was in ep1. Actually, no. She's worse. Because now, she has actually discovered who the enemy is and smoked out his intentions... and chooses to tell no one.

All to protect her own reputation. All so she can maintain an air of authority and superiority over her peers, because if they knew the truth, her name would be mud, and she'd be nowhere near the decisions taken to forge the rings, how many there would be, and who'd get to bear them. She shouldn't be like this. I don't think they meant for her to be like this. Her character writing feels shallow, rushed, and poorly thought out and now, there's a big disconnect between how the audiences feel about her and what the writers intended.

She tells other characters to be humble, while she's brash, condescending, and arrogant. She tells others not to pursue vengeance when that's all she cares about pursuing. She talks about the importance of saving lives in the Southlands, but she's never shown saving a single person. She's shown threatening to torture and murder Adar's orcs if she doesn't get her way and she's shown walking away from the volcano blast when others are screaming around her, begging for help. Then the showrunners assert that if you don't find yourself liking her, or find yourself uninterested in her character, it's your fault. You're the problem.

She's not like Boromir. Not written like him. Not developed like him. Not treated with the same care, thought, and humanity his character was treated with. She's a statue, standing still in spiteful, vengeful self-righteous self-service. Just like she was at the beginning of the series.
So many more like this, but all-in-all some really good material for a poem: Miss Congealed Hostility. So far, I've got a title, theme, and a few introductory stanzas. More on this as time permits.
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Old 11-07-2022, 08:42 AM   #5
William Cloud Hicklin
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Originally Posted by Michael Murry View Post
Miss Congealed Hostility.



It doesn't help that Morfydd Clark's acting range stretches all the way from "angry" to "****ed off."
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Old 11-08-2022, 04:30 AM   #6
Michael Murry
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The Rings of Impotence

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Originally Posted by William Cloud Hicklin View Post


It doesn't help that Morfydd Clark's acting range stretches all the way from "angry" to "****ed off."
Which reminds me of something I read many years ago (and had to refresh my memory courtesy of the Interwebs):

Quote:
When Katharine Hepburn appeared in a play on Broadway, ’tis said that Dorothy Parker cracked: “Miss Hepburn ran the whole gamut of emotions—from A to B.”
Unfortunately for the Rings of Impotence, when it comes to the series' Mary Sue protagonist, "the whole gamut of emotions" runs from "a" to "a" (I couldn't even bring myself to employ capital letters for the illustration).
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Old 11-08-2022, 07:13 PM   #7
Tar Elenion
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I don't know; I have been reliably informed by a Tolkien Professor that the depiction of *Galadriel in Amazon's RoP is just what Tolkien intended because of this line from Boromir:
"‘Well, have a care!’ said Boromir. ‘I do not feel too sure of this Elvish Lady and her purposes.’"
LotR, Mirror of Galadriel
And Aragorn's retort:
"Speak no evil of the Lady Galadriel!’ said Aragorn sternly. ‘You know not what you say. There is in her and in this land no evil, unless a man bring it hither himself. Then let him beware! But tonight I shall sleep without fear for the first time since I left Rivendell. And may I sleep deep, and forget for a while my grief! I am weary in body and in heart.’ He cast himself down upon his couch and fell at once into a long sleep."
...was (essentially) a lie...
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Old 11-09-2022, 03:30 AM   #8
Michael Murry
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Has anybody seen the disposable consort Celeborn?

As I've pointed out previously, the opening scenes of this Rings of Impotence television series reminded me of the film Miss Congeniality, where the young tomboy girl punches out boys who give her any lip, then grows up to be an FBI agent who goes undercover as a contestant in a Miss American beauty pageant ("scholarship program"), wins second-place on the basis of her own looks and talent, and saves the day at the end by foiling an attempted terrorist attack. In a show of gratitude, the pageant awards her the title of Miss Congeniality.

Obviously, a one-to-one correspondence does not apply here, but in the Rings of Impotence, the elvish tomboy Galadriel starts out the same way in bucolic Valinor (a.k.a., "Heaven"), absorbs some bad advice from her older Elf brother about trying out a little "darkness" (i.e., evil) in order to "see the light" (i.e., do some good), and grows up to be a revenge-obsessed "warrior leader" in the mundane world of elves, men, dwarves, Harfoot-Hobbits, Wizards, Nazgirls, and orcs. Unfortunately, her single-minded pursuit of the "evil" Sauron causes her to embrace both evil and him (in the rather transparent disguise of "Halbrand," about the only masculine-looking character in the cast). And who should win the object of their desire? Her (Sauron dead)? or Him (Sauron in possession of a base of operations in Middle Earth)?

After watching days and hours of video clips and analyses of this eight-episode television series, I think I've got enough material for a first cut at a structured verse critique. Since another two years will probably elapse before the producers of this drek dare to assail television audiences once again, I will probably find ample time to refine and extend this treatment or else perhaps supplement it with another, differently phrased, composition. Anyway, for now . . .

Quote:
Miss Congealed Hostility

“What's past is prologue,” so we’ve heard propounded
by sages, scholars, pedagogues and such.
But prologues of the past leave us confounded
when Mary Sue narrators try their touch,
resulting in an audience astounded
at little learned for which they paid too much:

In flashback, mean elf-children (six in number)
made fun of Girl-like-person’s paper boat
shaped like a swan. Now which is dumb or dumber:
that it would fly away or stay afloat
if stricken by a rock? What could encumber
the other elf-kids’ choice to grin and gloat?

What else but Girl-like-person then attacking
and punching out mean elf-boy for his sin.
And after giving him a decent whacking,
inquiring if his elf-friends wanted in
to get themselves a taste of elf-girl smacking.
If so, then let the butt-kicking begin.

But then an older-Elf-guy’s intervention
(non-threatening, of course, and whispered low)
perplexed the Girl-like-person whose intention
lay solely in demolishing her foe:
by which she meant whoever urged abstention
from violence wherever she would go.

So much for Prologue. Girl-like-person ages
but as a “grown up” Elf no growth displays.
Throughout the centuries she fumes and rages
determined to give weight to what she says.
No person or experience assuages
her lust for vengeance. So she simply slays.

Then Girl-like-person jumps into the ocean
to swim about awhile. Who knows what for?
“Adult” now but propelled by raw emotion,
what could for Girl-like-person lie in store?
Of course! She’ll fall for Sauron! Clever notion:
To trust the one whom she claims to abhor.

Obtuse stupidity like this requires
a writing team unskilled at what they do;
mass marketing by sycophantic choirs;
some eager fans not difficult to screw;
a corporation seller cheating buyers;
an audience locked-down by Covid flu.

It seems an epilogue should be in order
To recapitulate and summarize
what smells and looks like one big pile of ordure:
that Girl-like person hands Sauron his prize
conveying him across the southern border
of Middle Earth, so Evil there may rise.

Michael Murry, "The Misfortune Teller," Copyright © 2022
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Old 11-11-2022, 09:37 AM   #9
Kuruharan
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Boots

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Most other characters [besides Durin] are reduced to simply learning the hidden roles dealt out in the secret game of Werewolf the writers have been playing.
At least that is thematically appropriate to this site.
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