The Lord of the Rings was a book by J.R.R. Tolkien adapted into three films in the early 2000s by Peter Jackson, The Fellowship of the Ring, The Two Towers, and The Return of the King. These three films garnered critical acclaim, winning many Academy Awards, and fan success making quite a bit of money in the theaters. It makes sense that somebody would want to buy the rights to this successful IP and try to capture magic in a bottle all over again. Jeff Bezos was that man. Having successfully led Amazon to be the richest company in the world. He had the money to spare. Spending four hundred million on this property, he hoped he made the right decision. I’m here to say he did.
Fast forward to today and the first two episodes of this highly anticipated series on Prime Video are set to come out. I’m here to let you know if the show is any good after watching the first two episodes. Or if Bezos and company wasted their hard-earned money. Fans of this IP are going to love this series. As soon as the show started it brought me right back into the world of Middle-earth only a few hundred years before the events in The Lord of the Rings. We were introduced to a very popular character right out of the gate and she was a little different than we remembered her to be. Later some other more notable characters from the films were introduced. I won’t say who so as to not give away spoilers. Fans will be happy though. This show jumps right into this world once again.
With the popular characters, fans and critics like myself already know must also come the world that J.R.R. Tolkien created. Set once again in New Zealand The Rings of Power is breathtaking to look at. Whether it be frigid mountainside cliffs or pristine cities set along a beautiful river and waterfall the look of this show is incredible. That was always a great decision by Peter Jackson to set the films in this beautiful country and Bezos, and JA Bayona didn’t miss a beat with repeating this. Even the visual effects fit in perfectly with the beautiful scenery that New Zealand provided.
One of the things that I always liked about The Lord of the Rings is the vast amount of characters introduced in the book. Characters big and small, loud and quite alike. There were many to follow along with. This series is no different from the films in that regard. As I mentioned, we do have a few familiar names that pop up but there are a handful of others we aren’t familiar with. All of these characters have interesting stories that are fascinating and made me invested in the show after only seeing two episodes. Unlike some other shows out right now. It’s not about exposition all the time. Characters actually have some action sequences where they fight beasts and run for their lives. It’s a novel idea for a fantasy series, I know! I am all in on this show right now.
Another fact of the series that has made me totally invested in it is character development. These characters, some known, others not, are quite interesting to follow along with so far. Elfs, humans, dwarfs, and the like are all engaging and funny, and dramatic at points in the show. This makes them not all the same and that goes to the credit of the writing team led by Patrick McKay, and Gennifer Hutchinson and based on the works and appendices of J.R.R. Tolkien. They have drawn me into this world with great wring and not a bunch of boring exposition that bogs down the series. These characters have arks and it’s interesting to watch the show to see how some of them fit into the films later on.
The Rings of Power had started off in a good place as far as I’m concerned. It introduced some familiar characters we already know and love and brought in some new characters we haven’t yet heard about. All are fascinating to follow along with to see where their journey brings them. The writing is impeccable so far. The world, once again set in New Zealand, is breathtaking to look at from a director’s standpoint. Bayona spared no expense with Bezos’s money bringing this world to life. These two episodes are the perfect appetizer for the main course that will come in the weeks following. I for one can’t wait to see what happens next in this new vision of Middle Earth.
4 ½ stars
Dan Skip Allen
Amazon Prime 01/09/2022 Two episodes reviewed