The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Partings – TV Review

TL;DR – As much as the title describes, this is an episode of crossroads, not all of them good.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Harfoots migrate.

The Rings of Power Review

I always knew that The Great Wave would be a hard act to follow. Indeed it would be a hard act to get close to that again. However, I was not expecting this week’s episode to give me pause. Not a significant problem per se. More like when you are walking through a forest, and you stop because you have seen something odd in the corner of your eye, pause. Let us now dive into this week’s episode to explore what I mean.

So to set the scene, we open in on the Harfoots as they begin their long migration north, over mountains, through grasslands, and even some marshes where the dead will lie one day. Nori Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh) and her family would have been left behind leagues ago because of their father’s (Dylan Smith) foot and being put in the back of the caravan. However, thanks to the help of The Stranger (Daniel Weyman), who fell from the sky, and much to the annoyance of the rest of the caravan, they have kept up. But in this wood, something stirs, and when there is no food, a couple of Harfoots look like a tasty morsel. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: The Great Wave – TV Review

TL;DR – This is an episode with joy and tears, warmth and horror, action and romance, and warnings for the future

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Queen regent Míriel walks towards the sounds of crushing water.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review

When they announced that Amazon would commission a new Lord of the Rings prequel series, many people [including myself] doubted if they could pull it off. Especially when it was revealed just what they could work with given the limited window their licence gave them. However, as I sit back from watching the fourth episode, it has become clear that those concerns were misplaced because few episodes of televisionthis year have moved me as much as this one did today.

So to set the scene, in Adar, we were introduced to the island kingdom of Númenor. A land was once given to man by the Elves, but a land that Elves are now unwelcome, something that Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) discovers first-hand when she is brought there by Elendil (Lloyd Owen). However, there is something behind Númenor’s reluctance, which haunts the dreams of the queen regent Míriel (Cynthia Addai-Robinson). However, things are going from bad to worse in the Southlands because the orcs have returned and are capturing people to dig their tunnels. Still, as Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) stands in chains, he looks in horror as the leader of the orcs is an elf called Adar (Joseph Mawle). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Adar – TV Review

TL;DR – As a show, it continues to balance all the competing stories while being a thrilling ride.

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Galadriel rides a horse alone the shoreline of Númenor.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review

When you have a large ensemble cast, it is easy to lose people and whole stories in the cut, where you end up seeing someone on screen and wondering where they came from before. Three episodes in, The Rings of Power might have one of the biggest ensemble casts I have seen for a while, but they always make sure you know the context of every person.

So to set the scene, in Adrift, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) decided to jump off her boat and swim back to Middle Earth, through the Sundering Seas, than leave her quest unfulfilled. Luckily for her, she spots a raft and is helped by Halbrand (Charlie Vickers), but after a storm leaves them asunder, they are rescued by Elendil (Lloyd Owen) and taken to the island kingdom of Númenór. In the Southlands, Arondir (Ismael Cruz Córdova) has been captured by Orcs, but instead of being killed, he is led through covered tunnels full of captured human workers. They dig a tunnel to keep the orcs protected from the bright Sun. Things are bad, but they are worse when Arondir gets to the pit and discovers that all his Elvish companions were also captured before they could return home. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.   

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Adrift – TV Review

TL;DR – We continue to explore this world full of wonders and dangers.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

Nori looking into the creator.

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review

In the realm of binging tv on streaming services, you can drop them all at once, creating an event weekend, or you can do a weekly realise that feels old-fashioned, but then you can build it up week to week. Or you can follow the Amazon model and employ a hybrid approach where you drop a couple of episodes up-front and create that event feeling while doing the rest week-by-week. This has been a successful model for the streaming service, and it is what we are doing this week with the next episode of The Rings of Power.

So to set the scene, at the end of Shadow of the Past, Galadriel (Morfydd Clark) comes face-to-face with the undying lands, a reward for all her hard work. It is a great honour that no one has ever turned down before, but just as the boat approaches the threshold, she dives off because she can not enter with an unfulfilled oath. Meanwhile, across Middle Earth, there are rumblings of things being out of place and evil returning when a meteorite strikes through the air, crashing down near the home of Elanor “Nori” Brandyfoot (Markella Kavenagh). But when she arrives, she does not find a rock in the ground, but a man, ‘The Stranger’ (Daniel Weyman). Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.    

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The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power: Shadow of the Past – TV Review

TL;DR – This might be a foundation episode, but it is a strong foundation that I hope they build something grand upon.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Disclosure – I paid for the Amazon Prime service that viewed this episode.

The Two Trees of Valinor, Laurelin and Telperion

The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power Review

I don’t think I have ever come into a project with such fraught feelings as I do with The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power. For all those who love cinema, there is always a gateway film that first lit that spark in our heart, and for me, that film was The Lord of the Rings. I revealed in its visuals, narrative, and soundscape in the cinemas, devoured it on DVD when it came out at home, and then delved into every aspect of the behind-the-scenes documentaries in the extended editions. They are such a strong foundation in my cinematic world that diving back in was always going to be precarious, even before the thought that its success or failure might change the course of the streaming business.

So to set the scene, it is 5000 years before the events of the Lord of the Rings films, in what is called the Second Age. When the world was young, there was no Sun, but the light was given from the Two Trees of Valinor, Laurelin and Telperion until Melkor came and destroyed them. The elves fought a centuries-long war again Melkor, travelling from their home all the way to Middle Earth to finally vanquish him. But one of his acolytes remained, Sauron, and after he killed Galadriel’s (Morfydd Clark) brother, she swore an oath that she would destroy him. Centuries later, in the frozen wastes of the north, she is the last one chasing down her foe, but when they find his last bastion empty [well, almost empty], her company demands to return home. Now from here, we will be looking at the episode as a whole, so there will be some [SPOILERS] ahead.

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Movie Review – Mortal Engines

TL;DR – This is a visually impressive film, full of moments that make you go wow, but you can see that they have been held back by fitting the whole first book into the one  film   

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Post-Credit Scene – There is no post-credit scene

Mortal Engines. Image Credit: Universal

Review

The Mortal Engines series is one of those books that I have always been meaning to read but just have never gotten around to it. The idea where cities have become mobile and drive around hunting for prey is one of those conceptional ideas that is just genius, and I have a lot of friends that are super excited to see this world brought to life on the big screen. Add to this the fact that you have the minds behind The Lord of the Rings working to bring this to life and I have to say it definitely piqued my interest. Now that I have seen it, I can say I mostly enjoyed it, even if not everything worked.

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Countdown – My Personal Top 10 Films of All Time List

TL;DR – Today we countdown my Top 10 films of all time; from towns where there are a lot of ‘accidents’, to all forms of Sci-Fi, to do you know the man with six fingers on his right hand, and everything in between.

Countdown

Recently I watched the CineFix crew countdown their Top 10 films, and it had me thinking what are mine? Now it was at this point where I of course naturally spiralled as how can you reduce thousands of films that you have seen into only a Top 10. Just before I threw my hands up in resignation and chucked in the towel I happened to catch an episode of Movies with Mikey on how he determined the best sequel. With this in mind I wondered if there was a set of criteria that I could use to categorise the films into a list that I would be happy with, and after some work, I came up with the following criteria that work for me.

  • Films that are beautifully constructed
  • Films that mean something to me
  • Films that are always re-watchable
  • Films that have added to my love of the craft of cinema

With this criterion in mind I went through all the likely candidates and with a bit of a struggle I think I have been able to come to a final list, well at least until I change my mind next week, which is always a chance.

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Movie Review – Paper Towns

TL;DR – It’s not a bad film, just somethings do not quite work.

Score – 3.5 out of 5 stars

Paper Towns. Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.


Review

Paper towns is a name given to fake towns places on maps by cartographers so that they can check for plagiarism, (as a lover of all things maps, I love little things like this), it is also the name of a book by John Green and now a movie. Before I go on I should mention that I have read the source book Paper Towns and overall I had mixed response, some things really worked while others didn’t. I would talk about what those things were, but unfortunately, they are at the core of the book, so we would be not just dipping our toes into spoiler territory but diving head first, which is something I want to avoid. So with this is mind how does the film do? well not bad actually.

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