AMAZON launches its new Tolkien empire.

And it looks really BORING. So, so dull!

Ok, it’s not a trailer. It’s not even a teaser. It’s a launch announcement. Ensuring that the project is underway and prepared on time for an expected release date. Fine. It makes solid business sense. I understand!

But what this promotional, dare I say “viral” marketing can’t do, at least for me, is excite my interest. Anticipation is not fueled or even tickled.

Admittedly, I was never a Tolkien scholar. But I watched Peter Jackson movies. Hated Fellowship of the Ring. LOVED The two towers. I liked some sections in Return of the King, but felt it had overstayed its welcome via an unnecessarily sentimental finale x 1000. Then there was that horrible HOBBIT trilogy. I still refuse to believe that Jackson made such a pointless series of films.

Seriously. They only had ONE book. At most, you can stretch it into two movies. Max. But THREE?? Go on. The thing belonged in a pre-Christmas TV treat for children on the BBC, in the same way that HARRRRRRYYYYY POTTTTERRRR should be a Saturday morning cartoon, IMHO at best.

That being said? Markets are markets. People WANT more Tolkien stuff in the movies. Be crazy NOT to undermine his universe. All good. And indeed, unlike let’s say the now oversaturated / tonally confused STAR WARS, there is at least a coherent blueprint of lost/unfinished/post-scripted works to draw upon.

Tolkien was, in many ways, among the first “world-builders”: writing mythologies for his own…er…mythologies. CS Lewis did the same with Narnia. These writers were good friends and relished the tradition of language and the language of traditions, in that they were evangelical in preserving Old English as a required translation material in the English finals of Oxford. Whate Ye Olde Gites, they have been subjected to talented students from near and far for… well… really complex, arcane and arguably a bit boring and mind-numbing exercises.

But it’s The Inklings for you. I digress.

Point is? Amazon insists on consulting leagues of Tolkien fans, guardians, protectors, scholars, etc. It’s beautiful that they want to pay such respect, homage and sacred respect to the creator of a work. But also, in a way, a rather bad omen. Because the danger is that the show is neither new material nor a truly creative and substantial treatment of old. At this rate, why not just make a documentary series? Where to film THE SILMARILLION?

Farmer Gilles de Ham, even, could still have the “THIS IS TOLKIEN” branding, with much less stress involved in the design. But no. We seem to have a hodgepodge of prequel and re-what? Dramatize stuff that has been explained before and better.

I shouldn’t judge hastily or harshly, of course. And yes, I will look at the thing, once released. My gut, however, suspects that there will be massive starts and diminishing returns. Many riding on the parallel dragon of GAME OF THRONES and its prequel (basically: Tolkien with more dragons, boobs and teeth?). If one steals, the other receives both a boost and a burden.

Slightly curious. Appreciating the effort invested. But not excited or impressed. Again. Doesn’t it tickle my…uh…power ring? OK that’s enough. Nanite, middle earth 😉 x



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