“Solid comeback. Maybe even worthy of a king,” reports the title of the review from the American website IndieWire. And other reviews continue in the same vein.
At the same time, when Amazon first announced that it was preparing a series from the world of JRR Tolkien’s books, it did not arouse much enthusiasm. Some columnists and fans of the Tolkien saga did not understand the reason for returning again to the material that Peter Jackson had retold so stunningly (only to return to it once more, albeit less successfully). Others objected that it was not clear how the show’s creators would deal with the fact that they de facto did not own the rights to the story they wanted to tell.
The series, with a budget of 465 million dollars (it is speculated to be as much as a billion), has caused another wave of anger with the “too diverse” casting, which is said to have disrespected the original template.
According to the first reactions of the reviewers, Lord of the Rings looks like a successful project in the end. “It’s so grandiose that it makes Dragonborn (a Game of Thrones prequel currently on HBO Max) look like it was hastily put together in the computer game Minecraft,” writes The Guardian.
“To say the least, the visual effects of The Rings of Power surpass those of its twenty-year-old predecessor,” he thinks in Bloomberg magazine.
But won’t the stunning visuals be enough? How’s the story?
We find ourselves in the world of Middle-earth in the so-called Second Age, roughly two thousand years before Frodo Baggins sets out on a pilgrimage to destroy the Ring of Power. The war with Sauron is already in full swing, or rather, at the very beginning of the new TV series, the Dark Lord is defeated and destroyed. But what if it’s different? What if he just hid for a while to heal his wounds and attack even stronger?
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Together with Sauron, the story of the Rings of Power also inhabits the elf Galadriel, who was portrayed by Cate Blanchett in the famous film trilogy. In the series, she is a warrior, haughty, cold-blooded and supposedly very funny. “If that doesn’t sound like it, wait until you see what he does to the snow troll,” writes a reviewer for the Guardian newspaper.
The Financial Times is a little more restrained in its assessment: “The impression of stunning visuals is somewhat disturbed by monotonous dialogue.” A reviewer from the UK’s The Telegraph sees it similarly: “The Lord of the Rings had a clear plot: ‘Get the ring into the fire!’ That’s a bit lacking here.’
A critic of the British BBC points out that the first episode suffers from the fact that it has to introduce us to the world of the story, introduce all the characters and plot lines. The second part is much more dynamic. He adds that the creators of the series so far demonstrate a great knowledge of Tolkien’s work, its tempo and musicality. “Hearing the characters speak is a delight,” writes critic Stephen Kelly.
We’ll find out over the next few Fridays if she’ll keep up the pleasure in the following episodes.
Update: The article incorrectly stated that the story of The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power takes place a thousand years before the story of Frodo Baggins. Two thousand years is correct.