The Lord of the Rings – The Rings of Power Series Review: Returning to Middle Earth after so many years, there was a splash of nostalgic charm thrown over me. Sitting in for The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, the first few scenes began detailing the second age of the Middle Earth, which were only descriptions within the books. Describing the lore behind the world and how we got to this point, it was somehow able to capture that same feeling Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings trilogy had back in the early 2000s, and it looked like the world of Tolkien was in safe hands with Amazon. That was until the story started though. From there on out it started to fall like a bunch of Hobbits rolling down a hill. House of the Dragon Review: Matt Smith’s ‘Game of Thrones’ Prequel Series Is An Impressive Return to Westeros! (LatestLY Exclusive).

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power is created by JD Payne and Patrick McKay and takes place 2000 years before the events of The Lord of the Rings. In a time of relative peace, evil rises again as Sauron resurgence begins. With chaos enrolling in some sections of this great land, Elves and Men must band together to take down this great evil and bring back peace to Middle Earth.

A Still From The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video)

There is a lot going on in The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, but the one thing that it gets heavily right is the aesthetic of Tolkien’s world. The series begins with telling us the backstory of Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) as she sees her brother go out in a battle to defeat evil. Seeing him not return home, Galadriel sets out on her own adventure a few years later to defeat that same darkness and later finds out that the resurgence of Sauron is afoot. These sequences are beautifully presented as we get to see the amazing world that’s been crafted here.

Coming at a whopping $1 Billion budget, the money is on the screen and you can see the care and detail that went to honour Tolkien's world, so to my surprise it was a bit odd to see how the actual story wasn’t able to pull me in. Galadriel’s quest for vengeance is definitely an intriguing main conflict, but from that initial set up, the first two episodes that were presented to us failed to advance the plot in any way.

Watch the Trailer:

The best way to describe it would be world-building to the max without any substance underneath it. Visiting the wonderful Elven lands or the houses of Harfoots, the first two episodes try hard to bring you into this story. While the details feel aggressively expanded, what they fail to do is pull you into the plot. The characters come across being very one-tone in nature, especially Galadriel who lacks any substance to her.

Moving at a snail’s pace, the plot was unable to give me any urgency towards the growing threat of Sauron, and both the episodes ended in a dud. It just felt like reading the descriptive sections of the The Silmarillion rather than having any meaningful characters drive the narrative. When watching The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Rings, you had the team of Frodo Baggins and co driving the plot forward. In The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power, you only get that in maybe three places considering the scope here is even bigger than before.

A Still From The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video)

The few times I felt involved was when Elrond, played wonderfully by Robert Aramayo, goes to visit his best friend the Dwarven prince, Durin IV (Owain Arthur) in Khazad-Dum, nearly twenty years after their first meet. The conflict there makes for a great batch of sequences which included a battle of strength and more. There is also innocence and romance blooming around in the world of Middle Earth as the Elven archer Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova) falls for Bronwyn (Nazanin Boniadi), a mother and healer in the Southlands, while the Harfoots story lead by Eleanor Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) makes for a tale of naiveness and the sense of curiosity that comes with being young. Give me more of that intimacy in the story going forward, and then we are good to go. The Lord of the Rings - The Rings of Power Review: Early Reactions Call Amazon's Fantasy Series Visually Stunning, Label It as Cinematic Excellence.

The cast does great in portraying their characters, but it’s the aggressively slow pace of storytelling that stops them from making better impact. However, it’s not all bad in the world The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. As previously mentioned, the aesthetics are tight and it makes for an immersive world. It’s not an exaggeration to say that these are some of the best visuals you’ll probably ever see in a TV show, or media in general.

A Still From The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power (Photo Credit: Amazon Prime Video)

The camera pans around wonderfully around the scenic locations of the Middle Earth. The Hobbit trilogy was criticised for looking extremely digital, so The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power finds a great balance between having some great VFX, but still maintaining the practicality of the original trilogy. The orcs look wonderful and the action has that momentum of grandiose to it as Bear McCreary’s powerful soundtrack (which in some places is very similar to his work on God of War), fills up the scenes.


The Visuals

The Lore


Plot Doesn’t Move Forward

Pacing Is Extremely Slow

Final Thoughts

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power isn’t bad by any means. I would go so far to say that it even is a technical masterpiece, but what it lacks is any intimacy in its plot and an urgency to the threat of Sauron. Is it too early to judge the series considering this is only the first two episodes? Yes, but hopefully it picks itself up by the end because there is potential here. So far, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power doesn’t feel like it will be the one fantasy show to rule them all. The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power premieres its first two episodes on Amazon Prime Video beginning September 2.


(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Aug 31, 2022 07:30 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website