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Old image of Mordor
Barad-dur, Mordor

Tolkien’s for Sale

Commercializing the beloved epic fantasy comes at a cost

What happens when a beloved fantasy world, once respected and celebrated because it soared above the surrounding fray of decadent literature and art, becomes mainstream? What if the very work that was intended to transcend consumerism becomes the object of mass consumption? Harley J. Sims, writing for MercatorNet, believes Amazon has diluted the characteristic beauty and depth of The Lord of the Rings for the sake of mass consumption and appeal. I’ve shared my own thoughts on the new Rings of Power show in two separate pieces (here and here) for Mind Matters already, but just to recap: the show is interesting and entertaining enough to keep watching, but it’s missing something—a moral and imaginative ingredient Tolkien articulated beautifully in…

Smart TV in living room
Video on demand service on smart TV

HBO Max Cuts Cigarette from Iconic Movie Poster

Modern tech gives entertainment companies the power to “retro-edit” material. How far could it go?

Last week, HBO Max, the Warner Bros.-owned TV streaming platform, cut more than just their costs — they’re cutting back on cigarettes too. Disneyland used to Photoshop out cigarettes in portraits of Walt Disney: https://t.co/7n3oBWzMI7 pic.twitter.com/zP58u8xBG5 — PetaPixel (@petapixel) October 12, 2016 Keen observers noticed that HBO Max removed the cigarillo from the iconic movie poster from “McCabe & Mrs. Miller.” Now, McCabe is awkwardly holding up two fingers with no smoking device in hand. They also scrubbed cigarettes from several other film posters, including “The Life and Times of Judge Roy Bean,” “There Was a Crooked Man,” “Fallen Angels,” and “The Man Who Knew Too Much.” HBO hasn’t yet disclosed its reasoning for the cuts. Maybe they thought people…

light in the forest
Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego,Ushuaia

Amazon’s Rings of Power and Where the Conflict Really Lies

If Peter Jackson gave the LOTR cast unnecessary internal conflicts, then the Rings of Power writers have done it on steroids.

The third and fourth episodes of Rings of Power have aired as of September 16th. Thousands of reviews have fountained across the internet over the last couple of weeks, some from rankled fans, others from satisfied enthusiasts, and others with both good and bad things to report. The show, as we all anticipated, has not gone without its fair share of controversy and pushback, but for this review, I want to lay those conversations aside and instead focus on some pros and cons of the recent episodes from my own perspective. To begin on a positive note, I enjoyed these last couple of episodes much more than the first two. The storyline seems to be getting somewhere. Galadriel is being…