The Rings Of Power (2022) Eye for Film Movie Review

“There’s an absence of passion in the production that undermines everything else.”

There are plenty of great stories in Tolkien’s Silmarillion, though it takes a seriously devoted fan to work their way through to the end. Some of these have already been turned into impressive standalone shorts, fan contributions that sit alongside Peter Jackson’s iconic Lord of the Rings trilogy (and his rather less successful Hobbit trilogy) to represent the author’s work at home. ‘screen. It’s fair to say there was a lot of excitement when Amazon first announced plans to tell the story of how the rings at the center of the stories were forged. A huge budget was planned and everyone was expecting something epic. Yet lately, as a film journalist, I’ve been approached by a number of people sadly saying “I don’t get it – why don’t I appreciate this?”

There are two possible answers to this. First, you might be a bigot obsessed with the skin color of fantastical creatures (Tolkien was not, and the Norse legends he drew on for his work were self-explanatory in its variety). If so, Eye For Film is probably not for you. Second, you might just pick up on – consciously or unconsciously – a host of bad choices that might be understandable in low-budget shorts but, at this level, are just plain disgraceful.

At its core, the plot provides a decent amount of material to work with. It’s a stretch – Bilbo’s words about butter over too much bread come to mind – but there’s a reasonable balance between action and drama, catastrophic prophecy and mild comedy – or at least there would be , if decently paced and competently directed. Why Amazon hired pedestrian TV directors to undertake something so cinematic in itself is a mystery (rather, one wonders if a producer is sitting on a pile of cash to compete with Smaug). Some are better than others – there’s noticeably more energy present when Charlotte Brändström takes the helm, with her experience of drama coming to the fore even if she can’t handle the action, while Wayne’s efforts Yip recalls the fact that many people’s first encounter with Tolkien is when The Hobbit is read to them in an effort to put them to sleep.

Is there a shortage of actors ready to get into fantasy? Did the Game Of Thrones and The Golden Compass addons take all the talent, leaving The Rings Of Power with the dregs? This is not entirely true. While many of those playing minor roles are little more than window decoration – or wallpaper – others certainly have the ability to impress. Sophia Nomvete is a joy to watch, stealing every scene she’s in and reminding us of what the show could have been. Joseph Mawle is cast in a corny role but brings it to life unexpectedly, brilliantly in the penultimate episode. Most of the time, however, even the talented seem like sleepwalkers. Morfydd Clark has her moments as Galadriel but is far from flexing the acting muscles she showed us in Saint Maud. It’s as if everyone was encouraged to dampen it and keep any trace of charisma a secret.

That’s before we get to the pastiche of twee Irish travelers that is the Harfoot clan of hobbits. Granted, hobbits can be twee in the books too, but any half-decent director would consider that a challenge, not an instruction manual. While Jackson made his hobbits by turns obnoxious and endearing, these are a maze of dubious cliches and stereotypes, not to mention the fact that the majority of them seem to have been attributed to only one personality that are supposed to share. Entire episodes take place in their presence – episodes that the mystery surrounding a strange giant that one of them has found after falling from the sky is not enough to save. Even those who know Tolkien the least will know, after all, that there are very few people he can be, and once you get into the rhythm of the series, with its heavily marked twists, it will be obvious to you which of those it is. There really isn’t much more to this story, unless you count the delivery of cute little morals at the end of some episodes that will leave you wondering if this is genuinely for people who want to watch bloody battles in the past. ‘orcs – what he does try to deliver – or less than five years.

Going into everything wrong with this series would waste way too many perfectly good pixels, but it’s worth saying something about these battles. It’s fair to say that the history of war is 90% the study of dumb mistakes, so the show has to be given a little leeway in that respect, but dumb characters are one thing – dumb direction is another. Again and again, sequences with real potential are set up to be awkwardly rushed and wasted. A team happy to waste ten minutes on another tedious conversation between smug PR manager Elrond and hairspray addict Celebrimbor then seems too eager to wipe out warg attacks and volcanic eruptions. Melee melee are painfully poorly choreographed and the augmentation used in a high level cavalry charge could be best achieved with free software on a phone.

Why was this allowed? The problem clearly goes beyond the directors themselves. There is an absence of passion in the production that undermines everything else. The sets are pretty but don’t look lived in, possessing a noticeable lack of functionality. The various plots and projects present an equally impractical building approach. No one has any idea how the sea works, and don’t get me started on thatched-roof cottages. Did Amazon just go out of its way to please internet fans in every area except character presentation, removing factors that have caused complaints in other series and, that doing, by deleting theirs? Since they are planning four more seasons, one can only hope they get their act together. There’s no power in this mess, and nothing rings true.

Reviewed on: Oct 17, 2022


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