WarningMight contain spoilers.

This is at first glance quite a show. The quality of the visuals took me by surprise, presumably because I’ve grown used to the inferior, overstretched visual effects from overworked and exploited artists that are a hallmark of cinema today. I should have remembered how visually impressive Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings films were back in the day. Whatever the process, the results speak for themselves here.

I must say, I was conflicted about watching it. Effects apart, I dislike that original trilogy of films, and the less said about the adaptations of The Hobbit, the better: as far as I’m concerned, all of them do a great disservice to the magnificent books. What’s more, each of these episodes is an hour long, and I felt saturated when it came to fantasy worldbuilding. Reading that the first episode is more of a prologue only made me more hesitant.

On the other hand, there was Nazanin Boniadi to consider.

I wish I could have said, afterwards, that I was surprised by how disappointingly forgettable her role is. Bronwyn’s story can’t justify its existence, even ignoring Arondir’s complete lack of personality.

It baffles me that both episodes are directed by J. A. Bayona, lately of Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom fame, and it’s strange that the score is the work of Bear McCreary but the main theme comes from Howard Shore. I also found myself distracted by what I think of as anachronisms, like okay and dodging the question, which is a strange thing to say about a fantasy setting, but there you have it. I know the Harfoots[1] are meant to be endearing and charming; if only.

The opening sequence, depicting the war against Morgoth and a young Galadriel’s party forcing her to stop hunting for Sauron, is far better than the rest. I like the sequence showing Galadriel’s inner struggle as they reach the Gray Havens and the comet streaks through the skies, too.

There simply isn’t much reason to wade through Rings of Power except for those occasional beautiful visuals. Norri watching the stranger scratch symbols into the ground as her father is injured somehow reminded me of Cursed , which is never a good thing. Galadriel’s adventure with the wyrm, the survivors of said adventure, and later one particular survivor are vaguely reminiscent of the worst story in the otherwise enjoyable Shadow & Bone .

As with earlier adaptations, the supposed elves are unconvincing. They’re meant to be inhumanly beautiful, but few actors can be said to fit that description, or even be made up to fit it. On the bright side, I like Elrond, particularly the way Rrrobert Arrramayo rrrolls his rrr’s. Celebrimbor, Elrond, Durin, and Durin’s wife are an amusing lot.

  1. Harfeet?