The Rings of Power’ — The Hofstra Chronicle
Photo courtesy of The Hollywood Reporter
After many long years, JRR Tolkien’s work returns to screens around the world with Amazon’s ‘The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power’. Despite its status as Amazon’s top series, the series stumbles in several ways in its quest to meet the precedent set by its Hollywood predecessors.
One of the most problematic aspects of the series is the amount of plot threads that develop over the course of eight episodes. This phenomenon can probably be attributed to Tolkien’s complicated and extremely heavy lore-heavy appendices and notes that expand his universe.
From Galadriel’s (Morfydd Clark) fight to defeat Sauron, to Elrond’s (Robert Aramayo) complicated friendship with the dwarves, to Isildur’s (Maxim Baldry) rise to infamy, “The Rings of Power follows an overwhelming number of plot points as it fleshes out the iconic characters who would later appear in ‘The Lord of the Rings’.
While it’s fascinating to see the origins of these characters, the sheer amount of names, places, and easter eggs makes it difficult to appreciate his full potential for fans who haven’t delved deep into the other works. by Tolkien.
For those willing to let a few details slip, however, there are plenty of other nuances to the show that help capture some of the attention.
It’s no surprise that the score is one of the series’ highlights since its cinematic predecessors featured some of Hollywood’s most iconic soundtracks. Although ‘The Rings of Power’ does not feature music by Howard Shore, who composed ‘The Lord of the Rings’ and ‘The Hobbit’, Bear McCreary’s interpretation of Tolkien’s world is a masterpiece that complements the decor perfectly.
Backed by haunting French horns and strings, the show’s awe-inspiring landscapes and settings make “The Rings of Power” almost worth the time on its own. Locations and cultures, while fresh for fans and newcomers, are detailed and nuanced, providing the perfect backdrop for the action itself.
However, even the most stunning sets and prop design cannot hide all of the show’s flaws.
The show’s costumes, while colorful and intricate, have a sparkle one can only associate with the modern era. The capes don’t feel lived-in like the ones in the movies, and even struggle to match the tone of the costumes given by “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” in their respective storylines.
The character makeup also takes the viewer out of the high fantasy experience with decidedly modern choices. A close-up of Galadriel in the show’s early episodes has audiences wondering what brand of Sephora her highlighter may be, rather than the words coming out of her mouth.
However, each actor does a great job of grounding their performances and staying true to Tolkien’s world.
Standout performances include Markella Kavenagh as Nori and Charlie Vickers as Halbrand. Some of the actors look almost too good to seem grounded in the world, but give compelling performances nonetheless.
Ultimately, people who watch “The Rings of Power” for pure pleasure will have no problem enjoying the sights and sounds on screen, but may not understand the show in its entirety. Those looking to relive the euphoria of “Lord of the Rings” shouldn’t look too closely, or they’ll be disappointed with the series’ modern take on Tolkien.