So, I still haven’t done a good review on the show. I meant to, but you know how it is. I liked the first two episodes ok, but the third was better. It felt like we finally got some plot – like the story was finally moving.
So, visuals: despite the weird crappy reviews about this, the visuals are amazing – especially for a TV show! The two trees in Valinore – I got misty eyed looking at it! Each location is better than the one before, and even the harfoots costumes and props are gorgeous. They look worn and homespun. Numenore looks old, with fading grandeur that reflects where it is at in its history. The forest with the elves carved in the trees…oh and Khazad dum….omg. It was freaking amazing. The greenery was a fantastic touch – I’ve always wondered how the heck the dwarves, living deep in Moria, ate. And their war masks were a lot of fun to see! The human villages even have some great touches, such as thar looming Mt. Doom like volcano hulking in the background of the barn scene where they find that dark sword…oh yeah. That’s not foreshadowing or anything. Heh heh. The costumes are all great as well, again despite people complaining. It’s like the warg CG that the die hard haters are screaming about – I think they’re confusing quality with personal aesthetic choices. They don’t like the design so that must mean the quality sucks, but it doesn’t. Something can be beautifully high quality and still not visually appeal to someone.
I could carry on about the visuals and all the little Easter egg things and such, but moving on to characters. This is where I’m iffy. I like the actor who play Gil Galad, but why does he look way older than Galadriel? I admit, I haven’t dug up their birth dates (if they even exist!) But I believe he is younger than she is (if not then someone please correct me). Galadriel…hmm. the actress is better than I thought she would be, but she still lacks the presence to pull Galadriel off. To be fair, maybe none of the actresses they auditioned had it, it’s something very rare to be both feminine and yet give off the vibe that you can kick their ass at the same time. Cate Blanchette managed it, and this girl tries her best, but there’s something lacking.
I have mixed feelings on Elrond, too. But, after thinking about it, i have mixed feelings on Hugo Weaving’s Elrond from the movies. We all seem to forget that those movies are not the final, be all, end all Canon and frankly I’ve never seen an Elrond yet that I’ve been completely satisfied with. This guy does a good job with what role he is given, and I could sew hum turning into the movie Elrond, so there’s that.
Actually, out of the elves, my favorite so far is the original character Arondir. He seems to be the most elvish of the bunch. (Come on, at least airbrush the elves! Make them look elegant and better than us! -more on that later). He carries himself well, and seems superior to the Hans without having to be rude or snotty to demonstrate the superiority. His interactions with his fellow elves have been a bit stiff, there’s a definite vibe that they don’t get along, which may be there on purpose considering Bronwyn and what not.
And the humans. They are all doing a good job and seem fine, though it looks to be like instead of making the elves look more elegant, they just made the humans extra grungy to show the difference – aka instead of elevating the elves, they faked it by dropping the humans down a notch. I mean, it works for the village, but then we get to numenore, where we don’t have the grungy humans but have still not elevated Galadriel, and she doesn’t appear more elegant or ethereal than the rest of them. At a glance she looks as human as they do. They should also have skipped that weird slow motion closeup of the horse ride. Just saying.
The dwarves have been perfect. That’s all there is to say about them. And that brings us to the harfoots and…hmm. I’m not sold on them. I’m waiting to see if they actually matter to the story – don’t get me wrong, as a writer I get the absolute blast they would have been to create, and they were created well. They look good, are visually different from other races, and have their own culture, even down to the detail of colloquial phrases such as “mind your fire” meaning to mind your own business. They also had a very interesting festival. The one niggle I have with their culture is the idea of leaving people behind when their entire culture is supposed to be based on the mantra that nobody walks alone – this is such a tenet of their society that they chant it repeatedly as a part of the festival. So, if they survive by sticking together, then why would they leave anyone back? I understand that it’s to create tension and add danger to the harfoot story, but it feels like a confusing stretch, especially when the entire Stranger thing could create enough tension and danger. To be fair, all of the people they mentioned that were left behind clearly died in accidents and such, so perhaps the being left behind fear is foundless, but we will see.
As to the stranger…all I have to say is that I really hope it’s not Gandalf because that would be the low hanging fruit and I want this show to do better.
As to other original characters, I have no complaints yet. The storyline is of course compressed greatly, which I understand since the events actually take thousands of years (If I recall right, at one point it takes 20 years just to raise an army). And they’ve played more than loose with Galadriel’s timeline, but the second age…hmm. How can I pit this…it’s a mess canonical, anyway, because Silmarillion, Lost Tales, Unfinished Tales, on and on, etc etc concerning the second age wete ALL published AFTER Tolkien died. And they contradict one another. The only actual 100% author approved Canon is in the appendices, and there isn’t much there at all.
I could go on, but I’m ready to watch my Kdrama now (Hometown Cha Cha Cha) so this is a good enough place to end. I would say that I like the show, I’m interested to see where it goes, and I’m hoping for more. It’s not perfect, but neither are any of the movies!
And here’s a random John Jones
Have a kitty stare kinda day!J