The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power First Reviews: 'Bold,' 'Ambitious,' 'Gorgeous,' 'Full Of Grandeur,' Critics Say.
EPIC STORY SCOPE AND AN ENTHRALLING VISUAL PALLET ELEVATE THIS TOLKIEN PREQUEL.
Prime Video makes its largest move in the high-budget fantasy television genre with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. The prequel series brings to life J.R.R. Tolkien's legendary account of the Second Age of Middle-earth, which takes place thousands of years before the events of Peter Jackson's trilogy, and will debut its first two episodes on Friday, September 2, 2022.
Along with Morfydd Clark (from His Dark Materials), a notable ensemble cast includes Nazanin Boniadi (from Counterpart, Homeland), Peter Mullan (from The Underground Railroad, Westworld), Benjamin Walker (from Jessica Jones), Lenny Henry (from The Sandman), Robert Aramayo (from Game of Thrones, The King's Man), Markella Kavenagh (from Picnic at Hanging Rock), Ema Horvath.
Expectations are running high for this one. But does it deliver the goods? After viewing the first two episodes, here’s what the critics are saying about season 1 of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power:
HOW DOES IT COMPARE TO PETER JACKSON’S MOVIES?
Both seasoned and inexperienced Tolkien fans will find something familiar in The Rings of Power that has been sufficiently modernised to merit their time spent there. CNET's Erin Carson.
The series makes great efforts to distinguish itself as a unique interpretation of the subject matter, even going so far as to place itself an entire age before the exploits of Frodo Baggins and his Fellowship. But it also makes every effort to arouse our fondness for the Jackson movies, whether through wardrobe, music, or general design, which occasionally makes it seem like a store-brand imitation of the original. Clint Worthington from RogerEbert.com
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power's early episodes are a fantastic character-driven start to the series that perfectly evokes Peter Jackson's The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring.
There is an intriguing visual connection between The Rings of Power and Jackson's Lord of the Rings movies thanks to their similarities. Following the viewing of The Rings of Power, it is simple to picture how the Middle-earth portrayed in the Amazon series could eventually change into the deteriorating, nearly post-apocalyptic planet shown in the Jackson films. The Inverse's Alex Welch.
HOW IS THE CAST?
Elrond (Robert Aramayo, "Game of Thrones") is seen as a younger incarnation, now a politically astute official working for King Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker). Of course, there is also Galadriel, an elf warrior motivated by vengeance against Sauron for killing her brother (played by Saint Maud's Morfydd Clark). Aramayo's soft, lantern-jawed face is an intriguing starting point to take us to Hugo Weaving's calcified administrator in the Jackson films, and Clark's shrewd warrior still feels like Cate Blanchett even though her silver-plated armour evokes "Elizabeth: The Golden Age" as much as Galadriel. Both give excellent performances. Clint Worthington from RogerEbert.com
Nobody in this opening section of the novel particularly shines out, with the probable exceptions of Kavenagh and Arthur. Having said that, spending more time with any of them should be anything from a hassle, and we are eager to follow the different characters' journeys. The News-Mark Herald's Meszoros (Willoughby, OH).
Elanor Brandyfoot will steal your heart with her curiosity. —Julian Roman, MovieWeb
Similar to Gimli in the trilogy, dwarven Durin and his wife Disa offer some warmth and humorous relief, which is a nice change of tone. CNET's Erin Carson.
WHAT ABOUT THE WRITING AND STORY PACING?
JD Payne and Patrick McKay, who are developing the show for the first time, follow Tolkien's lead by creating a large and immersive universe with rich storytelling and powerful people that encounter enormous odds at every turn. — Cleveland Plain Dealer, Joey Morona
That is "The Ring of Power's" worst flaw in the first episode, which serves as a fairly boring, derivative introduction and is replete with interminable shots of elves droning on about politics in front of green screens or tastefully designed conference rooms. Clint Worthington from RogerEbert.com
The Rings of Power takes some time to get going, but once it does, the pieces start to fit together rather rapidly. Undoubtedly, the second episode of season 1 is better than the first, which mainly served to introduce the many characters, conflicts, and the darkness that had overtaken Middle-earth. Screen Rant, Mae Abdulbaki.
HOW IS THE PRODUCTION VALUE?
When it comes to this franchise, adjectives like "bold" and "ambitious" are standard fare, and they definitely apply to what we've seen of the show thus far. It's the kind of programme that should be watched on a screen larger than your phone. —Digital Spy's David Opie.
I can tell that it appears stunning, especially when viewed through the limitations of streaming television. There are some breath-taking vistas and exquisitely crafted creature effects to behold, despite some instances of flat TV lighting and certain green-screen effects that don't inspire the same sense of wonder as the Jackson films. Clint Worthington from RogerEbert.com.
Middle-topography earth's can be better understood with the aid of a map, but what really helps is the fact that New Zealand, rather than a green-screen stage, was used for filming. Due of their actual location, which also happens to be the location where the movies were filmed, the fantasy world appears to be genuine. United Press International's Fred Topel.
The first two episodes, which were directed by J.A. Bayona of A Monster Calls, are as aesthetically spectacular as any recent Hollywood blockbuster. It's challenging not to occasionally be completely in awe of what Bayona and company have produced because the series is so vibrantly colourful and carefully crafted. The Inverse's Alex Welch.
WHAT ABOUT THE SCORE?
Via Prime Video
I must call out Bear McCreary's musical score for special commendation. Despite not using any straight Howard Shore melodies, he is able to capture the atmosphere and timbre of the earlier films while also producing something completely fresh, exhilarating, and thrumming. —Christopher Lloyd, The Motion Picture Yap.
Bear McCreary creates the score, and Howard Shore returns to write the title theme. It's simply as grandiose as this franchise requires. Additionally, McCreary's score meshes flawlessly with what Shore created for the movies. The Third Age is the main emphasis of the movies, therefore the Second Age tunes fit the action on the screen better. Solzy at the Movies author Danielle Solzman.
The show even went so far as to hire "Lord of the Rings" composer Howard Shore to write the theme for the show (the rest of the music being handled by Bear McCreary, whose compositions resemble Shore's work in more ways than one). Fair enough, don't fix it if it isn't broken. Slashfilm's Chris Evangelista.
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
A series with solid foundations is The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. It features an impressive cast, fantastic action, and captivating plots. I yet felt as though I wanted more. I want to be enthusiastic, not just interested. by Jamie Lovett for ComicBook.com
While there’s still a whole season to watch, The Rings of Power is off to a successful start in delivering on its promise of quality and firing on all cylinders. —Therese Lacson, Collider.
The Circles of Although the first episode of Power undoubtedly has a Middle-earth vibe and seems like The Lord of the Rings, it raises more questions than it does answers. Matthew Haynes (@matthewvhaynes) (YouTube)
With a focus on Tolkien's endlessly wide history of Middle-earth, the start of the series feels like a new return to the images and characters he brought to life in live-action. Everything is both fresh and familiar, and I feel like I'm ready for a new journey. in The Lamplight Review by Kyle Wilson
The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power has some big shoes to fill but if the first two episodes are any indication, audiences are in for a treat. —Danielle Solzman, Solzy at the Movies.