Why The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power never made the top shelf in viewer ratings

The good:

  • beautiful settings and FX
  • some really cute actors

The not-so-good:

  • distant characters
  • not enough character development
Which one looks more real?

The “good” points are pretty self-explanatory and, except for those who dislike CGI, most would probably agree here. For me, the Númenor scenes were really quite wonderful.

So let’s jump into the “not-so-good:”

When characters speak with a fake, lofty ‘noble’ accent, nothing turns me off more. Sometimes while watching this I felt like it was something out of the 1950s. You know, those epic 50s dramas that looked great but were pretty wooden—talkin’ bout Yul Brynner, Errol Flynn, Charleton Heston, Elizabeth Taylor, etc.

As for the second point, we rarely see a full living being we can easily relate to. It’s largely idealized, smoothed over, or stereotyped to the point of sheer boredom.

True, I lit up when Morfydd Clark (Galadriel) and Markella Kavenagh (Nori Brandyfoot) hit the screen. But that’s mostly because they’re both drop-dead gorgeous and convincing actors. As for the rest, well there were some interesting moments and competent performances.  I particularly enjoyed seeing Charles Edwards as an Elven smith (Lord Celebrimbor). Edwards also played Michael Gregson in Downton Abbey and it’s always fun to see good actors appearing in different roles, almost as if they’ve reincarnated.

What! Isn’t he an elf?

We often see more of the real person while they are acting instead of how they appear in those YouTube interviews. To me, the YouTube appearances are just another act, “It’s all great and we’re so happy… so keep it comin’ baby! ” (is what they are really saying).

More of the true person might also appear in character than on YouTube with another engaging actor, Chloë Grace Moretz. Although in her case she actually rejected some roles as a teen while discerning who she was and where she wanted to go. Very sensible if you can manage it.

The bottom line?

Effective drama doesn’t preach or tell us what we should like. Instead, it anticipates and delivers what we do like. And that makes a world of difference.

Rings of Power looks nice but is a bit too highfalutin to really connect and catch fire.


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