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AI Makes Lord Of The Rings A Cyberpunk Epic & It Looks Genuinely Incredible

The best part of this cybernetically infused iteration of Middle-earth? It’s so far from anything J.R.R. Tolkien would have ever approved of. Even an ’80s sci-fi version of “Lord of the Rings” would have been taking things too far. The Oxford professor is famous for his hostility toward progress and industrialization. If anything, Tolkien’s world and works are known for their backward-facing focus and their technophobic tendencies.

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Saruman is the perfect example. Once the wizard breaks bad, he becomes infamous for turning Isengard into an oversized hub of industrialization. He builds machines and destroys the local flora to keep his forges going as he comes up with ever-more clever and destructive new inventions. Sauron is similarly mechanized in nature. Mordor runs like clockwork, and one of the Dark Lord’s biggest dictatorial issues is the desire to organize, control, and micromanage everything, often via industrialized means. In the books, when the Hobbits return to the Shire, it has also been overrun and destroyed by Saruman’s minions, who have erased much of the natural countryside and put up brick buildings with belching smokestacks.

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A Cyberpunk alternative universe of Middle-earth only drives harder in this destructive anti-Tolkien direction. But we’re not going to lie. Even if the author would have hated the concept of a cyberpunk Middle-earth, theaipage’s take is a pretty epic glimpse of a wild “what if” scenario. It’s also loaded with clever comments and plenty of laughs. Two of the best lines in the whole video? A shot of a Legolas look-alike saying, “They’re taking the hackers to Arasaka!” and a quick clip of Gandalf shouting, “Access denied!” in Bridge-of-Khazad-dûm fashion.

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