In Peter Jackson‘s Lord of the Rings trilogy, my sister made a comment that stuck with me. “He [Peter Jackson] uses a lot of slow motion. Slow motion gets dated”. She is right. And, as a signature of the story, the Amazon Prime Video series also uses and abuses slow motion, which fills up time and doesn’t add. In fact, the script seems all in slow motion. We are in the 4th episode and finally, something actually seems to happen. We are literally midway through the first season.
The goal is to unite men, elves, dwarves, and living beings against Sauron, who is missing but not dead. Sauron is still the apprentice of a witch, Morgoth, who brought deep sorrow to Galadriel, not yet evolved in soul and wanting pure and bloody revenge for her brother’s life.
As we know the future, it doesn’t help. We know our heroes will fail, but we haven’t engaged with them yet. There are many names, many lands, a lot of hate, a lot of fear, and nothing much explained for those who are not deeply knowledgeable about the work of J. R. R. Tolkien. Therefore lacks rhythm and empathy, a dangerous thing for fantasy that requires engagement in order to retain the audience.
Visually the series is divine, whether in photography or costumes, but the chemistry of the cast has yet to show signs of life. The stunningly beautiful Swedish actress, Morfydd Clark leads the cast, but although she resembles Cate Blanchett, she lacks the charisma that the Australian uses for roles as complicated as that of an elf. Morfydd’s Galadriel is very “human”, arrogant, and aggressive. She doesn’t inspire leadership and ends up being some of the most uncomfortable scenes so far.
In a perfect performance, Robert Aramayo once again stands out. He has a connection with the character created by Hugo Weaving. but convinces us and brings empathy on his own. He is going to be pivotal in the war that is coming, and we are curious how it will happen.
Fans are invited to theorize who’s who in the future, for example, Halbrand, played by Charlie Vickers – similar physically to Viggo Mortensen‘s Aragorn – is. It could be that he is in fact Sauron or that he’s the Witch King. I buy the theory of the former and that he is the big bad guy in disguise because he explained his strategy to Galandriel: befriend people, understand their weaknesses help them in appearance, but take command in silence. Exactly what he does when he creates the ring to control everyone.
In any case, slowly, the story begins to take shape and, in baby steps, advances. Got me, finally.