The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review: A Sumptuously Realised Fantasy Show - SciFiNow

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review: A Sumptuously Realised Fantasy Show

We review episodes one and two of The Lord Of The Rings: The Rings Of Power…


Based on the appendices from J. R. R. Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings, the first two episodes of Amazon’s ambitious prequel, The Rings Of Power, set in the Second Age of Middle-earth, introduces its main characters and many realms with impressive detail and visuals. While Peter Jackson had no input in the show, it adopts a similar tone to his trilogy of films by effectively mixing humour, peril and sweeping action set pieces. It even boasts a main theme by the LOTR trilogy composer Howard Shore.

Morfydd Clark stars as young Elf Galadriel (Cate Blanchett in the films) who after the many centuries-long war in Middle-earth embarks on an obsessive quest to locate Sauron. It is this narrative thread, alongside Clark’s ethereal, determined and beautifully judged performance that stands out so far in the show’s multiple storylines. And it also seems it is women who are leading the charge in this eight-part series. The talented Markella Kavenagh’s young Harfoot, Elanor Brandyfoot, is a curious and brave character who longs for adventure outside of her community. Nazanin Boniadi’s human healer Bronwyn battles with evil and protects her son and village from danger. Her flirtations with Elf soldier Arondir (Ismael Cruz Cordova) deliver plentiful PG-friendly sexual tension too.

On the other hand, Robert Aramayo’s Elf Elrond (Hugo Weaving in the films) sets out on a slightly underwhelming mission to enlist Dwarves on an architectural project. Though the Dwarf kingdom is magnificently rendered, with the costumes designed by Kate Hawley a great blend of leather hoods and elegant gilded smocks, a rock smashing competition between Elf and Dwarf can only be so thrilling. What holds the attention here are the delightful interactions between Elrond, Prince Durin IV (Owain Arthur) and Princess Disa (Sophia Nomvete) as they navigate the bonds of friendship.

The set-up from the first two episodes of Rings Of Power is intriguingly laid out and considering the vast wealth of material and lore the creators are playing with, is remarkably well-paced. The strong ensemble cast inhabit their roles with relish, making the characters easy to root for and the world building, as expected from the enormous budget, is sumptuously realised. It’s a promising start to a show with huge ambition.

The first two episodes of the multi-season drama will launch on Prime Video on Friday, September 1-2 (time zone dependent), with new episodes available weekly.