Beside a vast waterfall, a woman dangles precariously from a frozen cliff face. As the wind whips around her, she leaps and drives a golden spike into the ice. When she looks up, towards the camera, we know in an instant that she will be alright from the look on her CGI-smoothed visage. There is no danger, because nothing here is real. The only place our new hero looks likely to fall is deep into the uncanny valley.
The trailer for Amazon’s much-anticipated new series The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power hit screens during the Super Bowl this weekend, giving fans an early glimpse at exactly what the world’s first billion dollar television show looks like. The answer? A cut scene from an old Final Fantasy computer game. It is hard to conjure up a sense of jeopardy when your characters, in this case Swedish-born Welsh actor Morfydd Clark’s young Galadriel, have ended up looking like one of Mark Zuckerberg’s creepy, dead-eyed Meta avatars wrapped in a billowing cloak of special effects. Sure, royal elves aren’t necessarily supposed to look human, but you’d think after spending all that money she’d at least look like she has a pulse.