Tag Archives: Game of Thrones

Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power S1E1&2 Review “A Shadow of the Past” and “Adrift” #AmazonReview #LOTR #RingsofPower

Carefully constructed from the appendices, footnotes and old bits of crumpled-up post-it notes

What is LOTR:ROP?

It’s finally here, the series that nobody apart from Jeff Bezos asked for: The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. LOTR:ROP tells the tale of the second age of Middle Earth, some thousands of years before the events portrayed in the Lord of the Rings. Carefully constructed from the appendices, footnotes and old bits of crumpled-up post-it notes from Tolkien’s rubbish bin, LOTR:ROP will take us back to experience the world of J. R. R. Tolkien once more, a world of good versus evil, dragons and treasure, duty and honour, and prosthetic ears.

Having spent one billion dollars on this show — a sum large enough to make one thousand people millionaires, or one person, me, a billionaire — Amazon really is going all in on this intellectual property. This innovative company with a proven track record, and a story based on a world created by one of the greatest figures of British literature, means hopes are high for this series.

Episodes one and two came out at the same time, so let’s delve into both together. The raison d’être of this blog is short form reviews. But hey, LOTR is epic, right? And judging from recent productions, “epic” means “long”, so here are my words splurged manically over your screen.

So Far, So Familiar

They seem to be trying to do a Star Wars Episode VII job on this. Kind of following the basic outline of the original, LOTR, with enough nostalgia thrown in to keep people hooked. We have Galdriel, we have Legolas 2, we have the Hobbits (kind of), we have a dark lord, we have a looming danger, and we have juicy maps. My concern with this show is they might follow the path of Star Wars episodes 7-9 which, although not awful, perhaps do not spiritually live up to their predecessors. But we have to see if this is a case of respectful homage or memberberries as the series develops.

Hobbits

Remember the Lord of the Rings? Remember how we had the Hobbits who epitomised a nostalgic olde timey rural England where things were simpler but life was better? Remember how duty and burden fell on one of these wee folk, and how in the hobbits we had the everyman characters through which to experience and connect with this fantastic world of wizards, dragons, elves and orcs? Yeah, well that’s all been replaced with a kind of gypsy tramp version of the Hobbits, now restyled the Harfoots, who caravan their way through the woods, just because. Instead of being our window to the world, these Harfoots seem to function as a kind of bumbling comedy relief. So I’m not sure what the point of them is other than to say, “Hey, remember the hobbits? Nostalgicus Rememborius! Poof!

The Harfoots feature a Ghostbusters style all-female reboot. Whereas before we had Frodo, Sam, Merry, and Pippin, now we have a kind of comedy mash-up of the original fab four boiled down to a twosome: Fat Hobbit, who looks just like Dawn French in the wonderful French and Saunders LOTR spoof, and Female Frodo (minus the burden of the ring), who herself looks eerily like Jennifer Saunders. Perhaps the presence of French’s ex-hubbie Sir Lenny Henry as Chief Harfoot (can’t remember his, or any character’s, name) is tripping my mind out. As an aside, and speaking of resemblances, the elven master smith, Celebrimbor, bears more than a passing resemblance to Monty Python member Sir Michael Palin, and I just can’t get this out of my head. I feel at times like I’m stuck in some kind of new version of Erik the Viking.

In short (no pun), I worry that the showrunners are going to push the Harfoots in an Ewoks / JarJar Binks direction.

OTT

One of the great things about Tolkien was his excellent command of the English language and the poetic beauty of his prose. So LOTR:ROP has taken the novel approach of, err, ignoring Tolkien’s own words. Some of the lines are way of the top and completely trite. They “march at first light”, of course. And then there’s, “You don’t know what’s down there!” –“That” (pregnant pause) “is why I must go”. So far, so fanfic.

It’s not just the dialogue which is over-the-top. Some of the action and special effects are ridiculous. Remember when people complained that in LOTR Legolas was almost like a computer game character, spinning and twirling about? Yeah, okay, well bring Legolas’ willing-suspension-of-disbelief testing agility back, because the way Galadriel dispatches a troll like a video game character, and the way the useless white men by contrast flail around, is just too much. Absolutely ridiculous.

Lord of the Woke

I don’t want to touch this toxic subject, not least because I risk sounding a bit Klan-ish. But it’s been a big talking point, so I have to.

Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power is going out of its way to be woke. And that isn’t a compliment. All the main characters are female and/or ethnic minority. All the white males seem to be dysfunctional idiots. Every marriage is mixed race. In fairness, Tolkien himself said the Harfoots were darker than the Hobbits, although I’m not sure he had Sir Lenny Henry in mind. But anyway, there’s nothing per se wrong with any of this. However, the producers have been inclusive in a way that draws attention to itself, and therefore at the expense of the immersion of the world they’re creating. And that is unforgivable.

This series will be compared to Game of Thrones, so let’s just get down to it. GoT was multiracial and featured many important female characters. But it never felt shoehorned in or for the sake of ticking boxes. It was completely natural. The people in the North were broadly ethnically similar, those from Dorn had a kind of Latin and/or Mediterranean vibe about them. The various races all mixed together in a natural way and in appropriate locations. It all just made sense.

By way of contrast, LOTR:ROP has the strange primitive isolated Harfoots who, for some reason, live in a multiracial society, where some folks speak Zummerzet, others Irish, and others still Jamaican — often the same character will sport all three accents within a sentence. This just makes no sense whatsoever and draws attention to itself. And it’s weird that in this multiracial society, there seems to be no interracial marriage; all the whiteys stick together, and all the non-whites stick together. None of it makes any sense.

But at least LOTR:ROP deals with racism through its world-building genius, where white men refer to non-white and or non-male elves, as “dagger ears”. Ooch.

The Good

There are some plus sides. They’ve done reasonably well introducing us to a wide range of characters fairly quickly. Although maybe they should have followed Tolkien a bit better by introducing them over time. They do set up a lot of stuff very quickly, albeit with a lot of exposition. But this is handled mostly effectively.

The visuals are excellent, and there seems to be a kind-of return to the aesthetic of the LOTR films and away from the overly CGI design of the Hobbit. And that’s very much welcome. The show does look gorgeous, for the most part.

The acting isn’t blowing me away, but it’s not bad. I’ll be interested to see if these relatively unknown thesps are able to deliver a heavy emotional payload later in the show as legends such as Sir Ian McKellan could in the LOTR movies.

Final Thoughts

On the whole, LOTR:ROP isn’t overly exciting me. It’s not what everyone hoped it would be, but it’s not what everyone feared it would be, either. I think some of the harsh reviews so far have been a little bit unjustified. Sometimes I don’t know if reviewers believe what they say or they are simply in love with the sound of their own witty barbs (case in point, Christopher Stevens from the Mail). We need to give this series space to see what it can grow into.

As for the storyline, before firing up Prime, I was concerned. It’s because LOTR:ROP isn’t based on a story, so much as it is based on a series of appendices and footnotes and backstories that Tolkien deliberately left out of his novels as he knew it would all get in the way. It’s like when an artist comes out with an album comprised of the offcuts of a previous album, but tries to sell it as an original work. We were on dangerous ground.

So given this isn’t an adaption of a Tolkien story like LOTR or the Hobbit were, I had fears about what the story was to be. Nonetheless, so far everything seems pretty clear: there’s some kind of dark lord, he’s comin’ ta getcha, and the powers that be are blithely and blindly ignoring the imminent threat — the elves being particularly culpable, having declared “mission accomplished” and buggering back off to their vineyards. Kind of riffing/ripping off LOTR, but you could say that is a tried and tested formula.

In Summary

Enjoyable, but nothing amazing. And we can’t use the yardstick of Tolkien’s magnificent work or the wonderful Jackson-Boyens-Walsh films to judge this by; we must judge it by its own standard. Nonetheless, more evidence must come in before the jury can render a verdict.

3/5

© 2022 Bryan A. J. Parry

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“Game of Thrones” is Worse than Crack (Flashback)

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I’m talking synergy, people!!

With the release of Episode 1 of House of the Dragon, the Game of Thrones spin-off prequel series, I thought I would dip into the archives and repost an oldie from way back when. Will House of the Dragon have the same effect on me as Game of Thrones did?

Game of Thrones Season 5 only finished a month ago. Yet I am in withdrawal. No hyperbole. My belly is in knots, I can’t sleep at night, I’m even more pale and clammy than usual. I want Season 6 so badly, it physically hurts; I may even be developing an ulcer.

And it’s still almost a whole year to wait until Season 6. How am I going to survive for a year!?

But a thought just squelched its way into my GoT-starved mind.

There are fifty episodes so far. There are fifty-two weeks in a year…

I’m talking synergy, people!!

*dances to couch humming the theme tune*

© 2015, 2022 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from http://admin.bol.it/images/external/contenuti/gameofthrones5.jpg

Stop Ruining Game of Thrones for Me!!!!! [SPOILERS…ish]

This article originally appeared in 2015

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I sent the following letter to the Metro newspaper (London, UK) on Thursday.

Thank you, Metro, for COMPLETELY RUINING the latest episode of Game of Thrones for me. The large headline and picture (21 May, p23) gave the plot away without me even having to read the article.

I work 15 hour shifts and Game of Thrones is my one crumb of pleasure. I haven’t been able to catch up yet this week due to my long hours.

So, once again, THANKS.

Bryan Parry

Click here for the photo they posted. The headline was “‘Disgusting’ rape scene is attacked by Thrones fans”. Doesn’t take an absolute genius to put two and two together.

Grrr.

HBO/Netflix Series I Wanna See Get Made #Netflix #StargateReboot #Earthsea #Discworld

We’re living in a golden age of TV series, especially for fantasy and science fiction adapted from works of literature.

We’re living in a golden age of TV series, especially for fantasy and science fiction adapted from works of literature. I’m thinking especially Game of Thrones and The Man in the High Castle. And I’m now keenly awaiting the upcoming BBC series based on Phillip Pullman’s His Dark Materials trilogy. This gives me hope that maybe some other of my favourite books might get adapted — and adapted well! I previously foretold there would be a series of Lord of the Rings, and it’s actually now happening.

Earthsea. Classic Ursula Le Guinn fantasy series set on a world of islands. This phenomenal world of creative genius needs a wider audience.

Discworld. This could actually be multiple series, with each based on one set of characters. Each book more-or-less can be one season, all books could form the whole series. Focus on maybe wizards, city watch, death, nowt else. Or a series based on one of the set of characters, e.g., the City Watch, but with each book more-or-less being a season. In any case, there are loads of great characters and stories to come out of the fertile mind of the late, great Sir Terry Pratchett.

Stargate. I want a total reboot, remake, reimagining of the Stargate and SG1 franchise. Get back to the basics of the Von Däniken “Chariots of the Gods” theory that the very most ancient gods were actually extraterrestrials, keep it with the Egyptian and Babylonian gods. Stargate SG1 had a very Star Trek: The Next Generation vibe of intergalactical banterous romp; I would want a reboot to have a darker, “edgy” DS9 type vibe.

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© 2018-2019, 2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

Upcoming Movie and TV Reboots: 7 The Best of the Rest #Spoof

THE BEST OF THE REST

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The Fourth Kind (2022… and again in 2026… and again in 2027) 

The idea was just too damn cool. Unfortunately, the film wasn’t.

How we tried to like the 2009 original. That owl idea was just too damn cool. Unfortunately, the film wasn’t. By the way, the reboot(s) won’t be, either. Sorry to break it to you.

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Final Destination (2022)

Same plot as the original… and the sequel…

Same plot as the original. And the sequel to the original. And the second sequel. And the third. Aaaand the fourth. But with new actors. $100,000,000 box office?

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Hitcher (2024)

REBOOT!

The 2007 remake wasn’t that good, so, yeah… REBOOT!

© 2016-2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

CREDITS:

Cabin Fever: http://www.dreadcentral.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/Cabin-Fever.jpg

Fourth Kind: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/jenna-busch/emthe-fourth-kindem-revie_b_342812.html

Final Destination: https://wall.alphacoders.com/by_sub_category.php?id=231695

The Hitcher: http://crypticrock.com/this-week-in-horror-movie-history-the-hitcher-1986/

Labyrinth: http://www.sbs.com.au/comedy/article/2015/11/30/disturbingly-tight-pants-family-movie-labyrinth

Harry Potter: http://aretheyoldenough.com/are-they-old-enough/project/harry-potter-philosophers-stone/

LotR: http://www.androidauthority.com/fellowship-google-free-574980/

X Files:  http://www.denofgeek.com/tv/the-x-files/38483/the-x-files-episode-1-spoiler-free-review-my-struggle

Back to the Future: https://www.newscientist.com/article/dn28374-back-to-the-future-does-physics-of-martys-time-travel-add-up/

Star Wars Episode I: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/film/star-wars-episode-i–the-phantom-menace/review/

Left arrow: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/c/c1/Circle_arrow_left_font_awesome.svg/2000px-Circle_arrow_left_font_awesome.svg.png

Right arrow: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/4/47/Circle_arrow_right_font_awesome.svg/2000px-Circle_arrow_right_font_awesome.svg.png

Read again

Upcoming Movie and TV Reboots: 6 “Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace” (2028) #Spoof

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Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (2028)

Following George Lucas’ death in 2027, a respectful period of around six weeks is observed…

Following George Lucas’ death in 2027, a respectful period of around six weeks is observed before the announcement of the most keenly craved reboot in cinematic history: Star Wars Episode I. Time to cut that cancerous mass, AKA Episodes I, II, III, out of humanity’s consciousness, burn every copy, and pretend they never existed. And this plan definitely wasn’t in the works for years behind George Lucas’ back…

Directed by J. J. Abrams’ protégé’s protégé’s protégé who was poetically born in 1999, the year Phantom Menace was released.

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Series Review “Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan” (2021) #200WordReview #AgeofSamurai #NetflixReview

Game of Thrones… set in Japan

1551. A brutal and bloody civil war has ravaged Japan for a hundred years, ferocious warlords have been locked in a death struggle for supremacy in the fractured land. Age of Samurai: Battle for Japan tells the tale of that era and how, through a painful birth, the modern Japan would be born.

Age of Samurai is a limited docuseries featuring the usual shtick: talking heads, narration, recreations with actors, and maps. So many juicy, juicy maps. However, it’s the way you tell ’em, and Age of Samurai has some wonderful acting, artfully but not distractingly shot talking heads, lush graphics, phenomenal editing, and a narrative structure that sucks us in. Forget anime and manga: this series is a gateway drug to Japanese culture. My only criticism is later important characters sometimes just pop up instead of being mentioned or having their importance artfully foreshadowed.

A kind of real life Game of Thrones… set in Japan, the twists and turns were riveting. I’ve never much been interested in Japanese history, but this has started a fever in my brain; let’s see where that fever leads.

Beautiful. Thrilling. Immersive. Inspiring.

4/5

© 2020-2021 Bryan A. J. Parry

featured image from age-of-samurai-battle-for-japan.jpg (568×416) (next-episode.net)

Upcoming Movie and TV Reboots: 5 “Back to the Future” (20??) #Spoof

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Back to the Future (20??)

How dare they will have going to have rebooted this classic!

Nooooooo. I can’t even bring myself to joke about this. But I just know it’s going to happen! Despite what Robert Zemeckis says, money talks; just ask Judas. How dare they will have going to have rebooted this classic! Sad face. Possibly justified as someone having gone back to the past from the future and changing the timelines in some kind of Star Trek reboot stylee.

No. Seriously. This will happen.

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Upcoming Movie and TV Reboots: 4 “The X-Files” (2025) #Spoof

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The X-Files: the Amazon Prime Series (2025)

African American LGBT activist, Divinity Scully, and zany new-age Jew, Davina Duchovny

Once the new X-Files series (starting 2016) got cancelled after two seasons, it was only a matter of time before a reimaginized reboot would happen. Relive the story anew of the odd couple that was African American logical smart-thinking LGBT activist, Divinity Scully, and white middle-class zany new-age Jew, Davina Duchovny, as they investigate the paranormal — all at the tax-payers’ expense.

Note: this article was originally written in 2016, and the prediction about only two seasons of the new X-Files has actually come true!

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Upcoming Movie and TV Reboots: 3 “Lord of the Rings: The Series” (2022) #Spoof

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The Lord of the Rings: the HBO series (2022)

Starring Sean Bean — who dies again.

After scrabbling around for something, anything to replicate the success of Game of Thrones (finished 2018), HBO finally hits upon the idea of a Lord of the Rings series(!) It’s time to go back down the Hobbit hole, but this time using all the appendices and flabby bits that Walsh, Boyens, and Jackson wisely left out of the film, in an all new, ten-episodes-a-series, eight-series epic. Starring Sean Bean — who dies again.

Note: this article was originally written in 2016, and this prediction has actually come true (kinda)!

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