Reviews | The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, a visual spectacle in the shadow of Tolkien and Jackson

Inevitably, the proposal The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the new Amazon Prime Video series is marked by the shadow exercised by two authors.

On the one hand there is obviously JRR Tolkien, creator of the books that inspire this story that is based on the appendices and those elements of the trilogy of novels that speak of the Second Age of the Sun. On the other side is Peter Jackson, the director who headed the film adaptations that defined for always what Middle Earth should look like in an audiovisual environment.

In the first, which concerns the most influential literary fantasy story, the great doubt was marked by the impossibility of the producers of the series to adapt books such as The Silmarillion that, despite being a collection of loose writings, delve precisely into the times when Saurón began his first reign of terror. Given this situation, the decision of the creators of this adaptation for the small screen feels quite right, since they seek to create an original story, but one that respects the base of the canon of The Lord of the rings.

It is thus a play that condenses historical events in a more limited period of time, to present various edges that will inevitably have to deal with the fall of a legendary kingdom of men, the creation of the establishment of refuges such as Rivendell, Gondor and the last alliance at the foot of Mount Doom. Sure, if all of this ends up having all the seasons they plan to nail down.

With the first two episodes presented to the press, it is also clear that there is good potential to develop an epic story, and play with mysteries that are not attached to what the texts define. legendarium whose rights are outside the scope of this adaptation, although it is necessary to note that initially everything feels extremely introductory.

At the same time, the story, not relying on a single text, feels less fluid than the films’ trio of writers, which included Jackson, his wife Fran Walsh and Philippa Boyens, achieved. But in any case, the flow present on this occasion is typical of what can be expected from an episodic production for the small screen and, even better, it has a level of visuality not even seen on game of Thrones.

In that audiovisual aspectThe Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power without a doubt sticks the sword in the ground to make it clear that it is the greatest television series of all time. From the first minute, the high cost of its episodes is noticeable, which exceed 50 million dollars for each hour of history, so it only remains to surrender to the visuality exposed in elements such as the prologue that outlines the destruction of Morgoth (The dark lord who was the chief of Sauron) and the First Age of the Sun.

Of course, the rest of the series also looks very good, since despite sometimes turning a hair more than necessary in digital, it still has practical effects and a higher level of production that is not out of step with what it is expected from the imaginary already established for Middle-earth. The orcs look perfect, corners like the domain of the dwarves look phenomenal, and the few action sequences in these early episodes are done to a high standard.

In the long run, if one manages to disconnect from the literal attachment to what is defined by Tolkien’s books, there are options to get excited about the narrative possibilities of a series that looks like no other. And if it is not compared every second with Jackson’s films, and is taken as something completely different, the same can happen with the epic display that they propose here and has one of its highest points in the music of Bear McCreary.

Perhaps that is why it is better not to see this series as a prequel to the film productions, as much as the filmmakers try to be faithful to the expectation of what is expected of something that has the phrase “The Lord of the Rings” in its title. . The buts, whether by Tolkien or by Jackson, are the biggest enemies of this colossal on-screen post.

That’s why, putting the cards on the table, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power will inevitably be flanked by a factor as external as expectations, but at least it can be established from now that there are eye-catching elements to get excited about seeing something once thought would never be seen on screen: Middle-earth’s past in which there was no One Ring yet.

Stories such as acting in the shadows of Sauron, the stranger who gets involved with the halflings, the clashes between elves, men and dwarves, the first steps in the creation of the rings of power and even the deployment of a character like Galadriel, who is the initial focus of this story, they have enough projection to excite with this return to Middle-earth. Even though it’s almost impossible not to constantly bring up Tolkien (especially if they’re purists) or Jackson.

The series will debut this September 2 on Prime Video.

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