Featured TV and Film

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review

The two-episode premiere of The Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power has been uploaded to Prime Video. 

The first episode features deliciously gorgeous landscapes that accurately represent the lands of elves and dwarves, humans, ents, wizards and all manners of fantastical creatures created by J.R.R Tolkien in his Legendarium. Reviewers have outright called it “TV made for big screens.” The show was created by Patrick McKay and John D. Payne, covering the world’s Second Age.

It’s essentially a prequel to the Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings series, following characters such as Galadriel (Morfydd Clark), Elrond (Robert Aramayo) and Gil-galad (Benjamin Walker). Critics have compared The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power to its most obvious competitor: HBO Max’s House of the Dragon. Both are TV adaptations of best-selling high fantasy novel series with previous live-action incarnations.

The series is estimated to run for at least five seasons. Reviewers consider that the show makes bold promises through its world-building. The rings do not make an outstanding appearance so early in the show, though there’s more than enough hinting through Galadriel, Elrond, and others of what’s to come in the next episodes.

House of the Dragon had theirs in Game of Thrones, while Lord of the Rings had its own in the Peter Jackson films. They are both prequels.

Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power
Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power © Amazon Prime

The work put into House of the Dragon’s cinematic has been superb, though it cannot compare to the Rings of Power. Not even in the budget department, as this is supposedly the most expensive TV show ever made, with a reported astronomical budget of $465 million for eight episodes.

Many fans tuned in precisely because the Second Age of Middle-earth had never been depicted in movies, though book fans have expressed their displeasure at the liberties the showrunners took. 

The preview trailers tainted further interest for some due to the names given to many new characters.

They were considered inconsistent, a glaring criticism due to how detailed Tolkien’s work on names, languages, and his motivation in designing the legendarium. The first trailer of the show has 1.5 million downvotes against 100k upvotes. 

As with many IP works taken to streaming, viewers already have high expectations before they even press play, and LoTR fans happen to have high standards with how Tolkien’s work is portrayed.

Mysterious figures, survival situations, and political intrigue have earned this prequel worldwide attention. And, of course, the money put into the CGI, the costumes, and the art direction.

Featured TV and Film

House of the Dragon to be Released on August 21st

House of the Dragon dropped its first full trailer on July 20 and it’s set to be released this month

Game of Thrones’ eighth and final season caused the once-acclaimed show to vanish from popular memory, but that didn’t stop the showrunners nor HBO Max from greenlighting the production of two spin-offs, one of which is House of the Dragon. However, some fans are wary of investing time in a series that’s expected to have another unsatisfying ending, similar to Game of Thrones. 

Despite constant name changes, House of the Dragon has been in development for quite a few years. George R. R. Martin pitched the concept to HBO more than six years ago when they were in the talks for a successor show for Game of Thrones. The show is based on the second volume of  ‘Fire & Blood’ and will star Paddy Considine as King Viserys Targaryen, Emma D’Arcy as Princess Rhaneyra Targaryen, Olivia Cooke as Alicent Hightower and Matt Smith as Prince Daemon Targaryen. 

House of Dragon © HBO Max
House of Dragon © HBO Max

The civil war tore Westeros asunder before the events of Game of Thrones, making this show a prequel in chronological order. And, the series will cover the political turmoil that boiled into the Dance of the Dragons, a war that pit dragon rider siblings from House Targaryen against each other after a succession crisis of who should sit on the Iron Throne. The Dance of the Dragons also caused the extinction of dragons due to their relentless use by each side.

Expect more political intrigue, this time with around seventeen dragons at the Targaryen’s disposal. If you recall what Daenerys Targaryen managed with three dragons, who knows what over seventeen could achieve in a war?  And, thanks to the CGI department, the dragons were named, profiled and created following Martin’s specific colour, size and age descriptions. Showrunner Ryan Condal even mentioned how they designed dragons that won’t appear in Season One.

‘Fire & Blood’ relates the entire story of House Targaryen, which is divided into two volumes as it had become too large (kind of like a recurring trend for Martin, isn’t it?)  The first volume of ‘Fire & Blood’ was released on November 20, 2018, and the second one has been adapted into House of the Dragon.