The Rings of Money

The only thing I’m salty about with this new Lord of the Rings show on Amazon is the motherfucking budget and how The Wheel of Time obviously got a pittance in comparison.

And yeah, I fucking know, okay, that The Wheel of Time isn’t The Fucking Lord of the God Damned Rings (original title). It’s not. And if you think the two are comparable then you need to step away from your high piles of unread books and go talk to literally anyone who actually enjoys sports. Literally any sport it does not matter. Go up to that person, make an appropriate amount of small talk (three to five minutes, acceptable topics: weather, the President of Finland, any sort of ‘can you believe it’s already September’ sort of statement) and then ask them their opinions on Mat Cauthon.

Don’t! Explain! Who that is!

Instead, follow up with a question about their opinions on Samwise Gamgee.

I don’t even care if they have any opinions on Sam, the point is they will recognize the name. The Lord of the Rings has sort of entered the same space as Star Wars. Liking the movies doesn’t make you a nerd, it makes you human. Reading any of the books, though, makes you a Super Mega Ultra Nerd.

I am also not directly comparing Mat and Sam, please do not fucking @ me.

The Wheel of Time show looked okay. Fine. You know what it looked better than? Xena: Warrior Princess. You know how old Xena: Warrior Princess is? You don’t want to. You’re only going to get depressed.

They did okay with their shitty little budget, but it was obviously shitty. It was like Amazon was paying for it with whatever money they could fish out of their collapsed employees before slapping them awake and propping them up in front of a nightmarish, ever-expanding series of boxes that will one day become sentient and devour the planet whole, ready to be shipped to the next galaxy over covered in tape advertising The Rings of Power.

Lots of shows have shitty little budgets. Lots of fantasy shows have shitty little budgets and it works just fine. I think it cost the Kelly Bluebook value of a 2017 Kia Sorrento to film all of Jessica Jones because even though she’s a superhero (question mark??) she’s just super strong. That’s the easiest shit to work around. Krysten Ritter throws a punch, cut to someone flying away. Boom. Could do that shit in my sleep.

But those fantasy shows are urban fantasy, or low fantasy. They take place on Earth, usually in modern day. You shut down a street in Toronto for a week, boom, you have your set.

The Wheel of Time and The Lord of the Rings are both high fantasy. Strictly speaking, the main difference between low and high fantasy is that high fantasy has a much more rigid and defined magic system, but the other bigger difference is that high fantasies take place almost exclusively in some sort of magical England, with all sorts of villages and glades and, like, bogs and fens and shit. Now, the easiest and most obvious way to do high fantasy is to just build practical sets directly into New Zealand, but I think they must be running out of space or something because there was a lot of CGI in both shows and The Rings of Power looked alright and The Wheel of Time looked…

Bad. It looked bad a lot of the time, let’s just be real. And not just the computer graphics. Even the physical sets looked flimsy. Cheap.

And yet, I’m learning that apparently the budget was around $80 million? What did they spend it on? Snacks?

Oh, but The Rings of Power had a budget of anywhere between 700 million and a billion with a God damned B so, yeah, no wonder they were advertising this shit so hard. Even Game of Thrones only cost around 100 million per season.

It’s suddenly sinking in how much money goes to art. I’m not saying humans don’t deserve art, but…millions of dollars? For television shows? Flashing lights on a screen? Pixels? We are spending the GDP of smaller countries on flashing pixels that are mostly showing nonsense?

Christ on a bike. And everyone thinks mattress stores are fronts for laundering money.

I mean, they are, but I’m saying Hollywood is, too. The whole fucking thing. If you’ve ever taken a picture of your family in front of Grauman’s Chinese Theater, congratulations, you can now be convicted of tax fraud.

What if Rings of Power is good, actually, and Amazon has to go this hard in the paint with their money for God knows how long? Do they have an exit strategy? Or five years from now will all of their profits go to making sure Sauron’s hair is flaming exactly right or whatever? Will they have to starve their C-Suite because everyone is demanding that they hire Orlando Bloom to play a baby Legolas and it’ll just be Bloom’s face superimposed over a baby, What We Do in the Shadows style?

What if Rings of Power is so fucking in demand the entire industrial, capitalistic, nature-destroying, surveillance-state-creating company collapses in on itself and dies a bitter death because they had to spend all of their money on realistic hobbit feet.

I mean, JRR would enjoy the shit out of that, I can tell you that much.

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