Review – Rings of Power
Rings of Power may be the worst example of an adaptation ever recorded on film.
There are many reasons why a story may need to change when adapted from one medium to another. For example, where a book can write a story that only has the limitation of what you can imagine, film is limited to what it can show visually, and audio plays are limited by what can be heard.
When an adaption is 'true to the source material,' it can be very impressive. But it can also destroy audience retention. Where a book need only have a three-act structure, a ten-episode adaption will fail if it does not create episodes that keep the audience engaged. As such, sometimes the story must be massaged or even changed entirely to create a more entertaining experience. I don't put much stock into how true a story is to its source – if it is a good story on its own.
The Rings of Power fails in both directions. It's telling a story from appendices and history lore stories, and therefore is spread over many years and lends itself to an episodic show. And yet, it tells a story where all the events are happening at the same time. It also forgets what its name is. It focuses on this 'Who is Sauron?' whodunnit mystery rather than focusing on the creation of the rings of power.
Yes, Sauron is a shapeshifter. Yes, the lore has him use that ability to manipulate the creation of the rings.
We don't get Annatar Lord of Gifts though; we get a brand-new character created just for the show.
I don't want to get into the show's plot points. Where sometimes it's a useful conversation, I don't think it would be for this review. The simple fact is that the show is such a mess that talking about plot holes and terrible character choices would fill an entire novel.
The show isn't an adaptation. It's a mess. It completely breaks established lore over and over. It creates brand-new characters to replace existing lore characters. And its treatment of existing characters is abominable.
The protagonist manipulates the antagonist into becoming evil. Seriously.
I expected the last episode to be this reveal, showing how Sauron had really been pulling the strings all along. Instead, they explicitly show you that he always told the truth and was manipulated by Galadriel.
I don't want to talk about the Gandalf-Hobbit storyline because it does not affect the story at all. I'm fairly sure it is only, therefore, marketing purposes.
The Elrond-Duran storyline is probably the best of the show, but that doesn't mean it's good. It's rubbish, with repeated beats over and over again and an origin storyline for mithril. An origin story that is stupid and doesn't make sense, elves had mithril in the first age; therefore they can't discover it for the first time in the second.
The Southlands storyline is the last of the four plot threads. It is entirely made up and includes an origin story for Mount Doom (yeah, because we needed more origin stories in this mess), where the volcano erupts due to a Rube-Goldberg machine plus stupidity.
The show straight-up steals lines from the Jackson trilogy. It repeats plot points and scenes from the Jackson trilogy.
I would say it's unoriginal because it steals so much from Lord of the Rings, but there are a lot of brand-new characters made just for the show. Considering how badly they portray every character from the lore, it may be a blessing that they created so many new characters. With these new characters filling up screen time, it drastically cut down how many Tolkien characters they could butcher.
Outside of the plot decisions, the cinematography of the show is terrible. The armour includes printed shirts, where the print ends in patches and can be seen when the actors lift their arms. Also, there is no consistency in the pronunciation of words. Know one knows how to pronounce Numenor, and the same character will roll their r's sometimes, but not others.
This show is terrible in almost every way a show can be. It only has use as an example to writers. Don't do any of the things Rings of Power does.