MOVIE NEWS – The first two episodes of The Rings of Power have been available for just a few days, and the production has already come in for heavy criticism: the portrayal of Galadriel in the series is just one of the sticking points; Amazon is defending itself by blocking negative reviews.
The first episodes of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power have brought the visually stunning world of J.R.R. Tolkien’s Middle-earth to Amazon Prime Video. Those who hoped the series’s premiere would assuage fans’ gripes were wrong: the various criticisms are pouring in; complaints about the casting and character changes are pouring in. One of the targets of online trolls is Morfydd Clark, who plays Galadriel in the series, but the actress has defended her character’s action scenes. As she told Variety:
“I would say that her [Galadriel’s] serenity is hard-earned,” she explained. “I don’t think you get to that level of wisdom without going through things.”
“She actually speaks about [how] with wisdom, there is a loss of innocence, which was a really good thing for me to find in the lore. Because, like, how young are you when you’re still thousands of years old? So it was thinking of what innocence she lost during this time. The elves by the Third Age have evolved to a certain degree. The elves in the First Age are really messy and screw each other over a lot, and fight and mock each other also. They are the history of Middle Earth, and so they are forever changing.”
The change in Galadriel’s on-screen appearance may be a problem for some, as she is indeed different from everything Tolkien envisioned the character to be. At the same time, the makers of the series are at pains to justify why this younger Galadriel is the way she is; the question is simply whether viewers are able and willing to accept the decision to create a youthful and more feisty elf from the wise and serene mistress of the Third Age.
The Rings of Power has only just begun, and the cast has a long way to go.
Galadriel’s character will obviously evolve as the story unfolds – the question is, of course, in what direction? As the series progresses and the critical bombardment around the premiere subsides, it will become easier to understand how well Amazon has told the story and what the audience thinks of the series.
Would all the negative reviews be trolling? Amazon responds with a ban
Amazon has temporarily stopped the ability to review the new fantasy series. Currently, The Rings of Power’s Rotten Tomatoes score is sharply divided between critics and viewers. For critics, the series has a freshness score of 84%, while the audience average is a low 39%. Early reviews have been favourable, with critics generally saying the series has a promising start and build-up. But now that the episodes are out, it’s not entirely clear whether the average viewer or fan feels the same way.
The phenomenon of “Review Bombing” is what happens when a product, service or media is inundated with negative reviews.
These are often from people who have not even tried the product or service – a form of a protest vote and not necessarily a true reflection of the quality of the product. Disney is currently facing a similar problem with reviews from trolls bombarding She-Hulk.
The Rings of Power has been facing a divided fanbase for months now, with several reasons behind the outrage. Some disliked the original story concept; others were unhappy with the lore treatment. Some disapproved of the casting of actors of colour. The actors have since spoken out on the issue, with Morfydd Clark, who plays Galadriel, calling the outcry “nonsense”.
A representative for Prime confirmed to Variety that the shutdown of reviews is nothing new.
According to the spokesperson, who spoke anonymously, a new system for responding to reviews was quietly implemented for the August premiere of A League of Their Own. The system will impose a 72-hour delay on all user reviews on Prime Video, which will then be reviewed before publication to ensure a bot or troll didn’t make them. This new system seems to have worked, as the series currently has a 94% critical rating and an 85% audience score.
Interestingly, Amazon has not placed any restrictions on its own IMDB rating system. As with Rotten Tomatoes, user ratings for Rings of Power are very divided, with the majority giving either a 10/10 or 1/10 rating. Overall, the series received a slight 6.2 rating from users. We will see how the series (and Galadriel’s) reception changes with time.
Source: Variety (1, 2), The Hollywood Reporter
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