Amazon’s ‘The Rings of Power’ is a bona fide hit. Why doesn’t it feel like it?
The latest movie to be based on a beloved and popular series of novels by J.R.R. Tolkien should have been a gold mine. Instead, it’s an unmitigated financial and critical flop.
The Rings of Power
In J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, Gandalf the wizard returns from his disastrous quest against Sauron, and reclaims the dwarven empire for the good of the world, ending the war with Sauron, and bringing peace to Middle-earth and the peoples of Middle-earth.
The film adaptation, starring Martin Freeman and Luke Evans, has just a sprinkling of Tolkien’s work. There’s no Middle-earth, there’s no Gondor, there’s no Bilbo Baggins. There’s an army of orcs, orcs and more orcs. There’s no ring, there’s no ring-bearer. And there are some lovely Hobbit scenes, but in places they feel like they’re being filmed in a bad, grainy black-and-white film, and the story feels very familiar and predictable.
The story also looks like a direct descendant of the TV series Star Wars. The plot is very dark, very violent, and very grim for a family film. There are some good moments, but they tend to be small and few. There is also a lot of exposition, and the characters are not as sympathetic or as developed as they could be.
And yet, The Rings of Power is popular, at least in parts of the world where people have a passion for fantasy, and it’s not just a passing fad.
The movie opened in the UK last week, grossing £7.4 million, more than double the £3.3 million of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, and is expected to open in the US next month, with a debut of $15 million or more, according to industry analysts. That’s as