With less than a week to go before ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ takes on HBO’s ‘House of the Dragon’, the buzz is also shifting to the movies. The bigger question is whether you should watch them before the release of the much-anticipated Amazon Prime shows, and the answer is a bit of a mixed bag.
‘The Rings of Power’ is based on JRR Tolkien’s popular world of Middle-earth. The official synopsis reads: “Set thousands of years before the events of JRR Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings, this epic drama will take viewers back to an age when great powers were forged, kingdoms reached glory and fell to ruin, unlikely heroes were tested, hope hung by the finest of threads, and the greatest villain that ever flowed from Tolkien’s pen threatened to engulf the entire world in darkness.”
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For newcomers or the casually curious, the confusion is about how much knowledge of JRR Tolkien’s works, then seeing the film helps to better understand the franchise that is more densely known. After The Hobbit series, WB and the Tolkien estate had a legal fight (per CBR), and although it was eventually resolved, Amazon eventually acquired the television rights. This meant that the series drew a significant portion of its content from the source material. While the Tolkien estate still contributed much more on the creative front, the streaming giant has partnered with the WB and New Line Cinema to gain more access to footage from the films.
All things considered, the show is still set thousands of years before the events of the movie and The Hobbit, and that would mean it’s easier to watch without having to make too many connections to the movie. On the contrary, it would be helpful if someone had seen the movies before so they could draw parallels and even understand the concepts in depth. It’s a choice, really. And with the kind of popularity movies gained in the 2000s, there’s always a reason to give them a try.
‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’ opens September 1 in the US on Amazon Prime Video.