Review Prime Video Series ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’

Doesn ‘t match the quality of a certain trilogy, but is enough to get youunder the spell of the ring again.

Direction: Wayne Yip, JA Bayona, Charlotte Brändström | Cast: MorfyddClark (Galadriel), Robert Aramayo (Elrond), Ismael Cruz Cordova (Arondir),Nazanin Boniadi (Bronwyn), Markella Kavenagh (Nori Brandyfoot), ao | Numberof episodes: 8 | Playing time: 65-72 minutes | Year: 2022

” One TV series to rule them all!” Jeff Bezos must have thought as he threwan unimaginable heap of money on the table. With reportedly almost half abillion dollars you come a long way, but they are big footsteps in which theseries has to follow. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes placethousands of years before the famous film trilogy and because a lot less hasbeen written about this time, a little more personal interpretation isrequired. So Tolkien fanatics around the world held their breath. Will this bean epic journey or a one-way ticket to Mount Doom?

The story follows Galadriel, who fought in the great war between the elves andthe armies of Morgoth. The battle was won, but not without losses; among themany who died was Galadriel’s brother Finrod. Filled with resentment,Galadriel is convinced that Sauron, Morgoth’s henchman, has survived. Wheneven her most loyal companions have given up after countless years ofsearching, she continues to search for evil to defeat it once and for all.

The series starts off very strong right away. The gripping story is well setup with a clear plot explanation. It is also immediately clear that the makershave a lot of love for the franchise. The series breathes The Lord of theRings but still gets its own face by showing other varieties and taking someliberties here and there with the source material.

Unfortunately, the series goes wrong later, when some storylines and textsseem to have been taken directly from the movies. Another problem that comesinto play is that an overarching storyline is missing. Very little is donewith the strong design and at times it feels a bit directionless. Themultiplicity of storylines does not help this and a clearer focus would havebeen desirable.

The world, on the other hand, is beautiful. The high budget makes this aseries like never before, with each episode looking like the most expensiveblockbuster. However, it is not only the production value, but also the designof everything on display. Every location and every object is made with a lotof detail and love, so that everything gets its own signature. Each magicalrace has a unique feel and character. The only downside is that sometimesthings are a little too clean and tidy.

What this supports is the use of practical effects for many elements, such asthe orcs. So no more video game orcs like in The Hobbit , but creepy, dirtyorcs that are all nightmare material. A big exception to this are the wargs,with which something did not go quite right in the execution. At the other endof the spectrum are the souped-up hobbits. These Harfoots contain a largeportion of charm and quirkiness, which contrasts nicely with the more serioussides of the series. Unfortunately, this loose storyline never quite gets offthe ground, except in the final episode.

The characters have a strong on-screen presence. Galadriel is a bit harder,full of resentment, but also wise and inspiring. The connection between Elrondand Durin is strong and makes for several highlights. Every scene between thetwo is full of playfulness. It is also very nice to see the dwarfs shine infull uniform.

For purists, however, there will be many dislikes. We can leave out the skincolors of certain characters, because they don’t disturb at all, but what doesirritate at times is the degree of freedom that is taken with the story andthe world. There are interventions that have quite a lot of impact and someperformed characters simply cannot exist at this time. At times, this makesthe series come across as a fan version of JRR Tolkien’s world. A little morecan be expected from a production of this size.

Unfortunately, the entire first season feels mostly like an introduction toMiddle-earth. There are certainly very impressive moments in iconic places,but the story has just too many inconsistencies and lacks momentum. The bestmoments are accompanied by beautiful music that honors Howard Shore.

Although the story is still in the starting blocks after eight episodes, it’sgreat to be back in Tolkien’s world again. The characters are strong, theworld is beautiful, the music feels like coming home and each episode offersthe experience of a cinema movie. This first trip leaves you wanting more. Theseason finale is all it takes to get mesmerized by the ring again.

★★★★ ren

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power can be seen on Amazon Prime.