The review of the first episodes of The Wheel of Time, the Amazon TV series with Rosamund Pike, inspired by the popular series of fantasy novels by Robert Jordan, released on Prime Video starting November 19.
There is the atmosphere and the emotion of the first steps in this one review of the first episodes of The Wheel of Time, because we write these lines aware that the Prime Video tv series inspired by the popular fantasy saga of Robert Jordan will accompany us for a long time. An awareness that comes to us from two elements: on the one hand the amount of starting material to draw on, which ensures many potential stories to tell and characters to explore, on the other the awareness of an important investment by Amazon Studios, evident both from the first episodes in terms of sets and overall magnificence, which indicates the intention to carry on the story, adapted by showrunner Rafe Lee Judkins, well beyond this first season just started.
The fate of the Dragon Reborn
The Jordan saga, and consequently the series that begins its journey on Prime Video, is set in an epic world where magic exists, but has the unfortunate consequence of being rare and difficult to manage, at least for a category of people. : Only women of the group known as Aes Sedai can in fact use it, after men have broken the world with their arrogance and lust for power. These women remember very well the man who caused the so-called Fracture of the World, the Dragon who now appears to have been reborn and reached maturity, but do not know who he is or where he is, or whether he is a man or a woman. And it must be found.
A background outlined in the incipit of the first episode of The Wheel of Time, told by the voiceover of Moiraine, one of the components of Aes Sedai from which the story of the series starts following the research mission with the arrival at Two Rivers (Twin Rivers in the Italian translation of the saga). This is just the starting point of a long and dangerous journey in the company of five young men, from Egwene to Rand Al’Thor and Mat, one of whom appears to be that Dragon Reborn of prophecy, which is destined to save or destroy humanity.
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A classic imprint
From the off-screen voice, that of Rosamund Pike’s Moiraine that kicks off the story of the Amazon series, you get the feeling of a classic approach to fantasy, which harks back to the imagery of the genre consolidated by the success of the trilogy of Peter Jackson rings. In addition to the prologue that illustrates the background, in the first episodes there are long shots and aerial shots that underline the environment in which the characters move, to help us enter the world of the series. A choice that makes sense, both in view of the upcoming arrival of a series set in Tolkien’s world right on Prime Video, which thus proposes itself as the home of this type of fantasy sagas, and because it meets the expectations of the public when it comes to dealing with with settings of this type in which to be welcomed and guided.
Immediately into the fray
Also because from the narrative point of view The wheel of time in serial version does not worry too much about having to take the viewer by the hand and immerses him in the action immediately after the introductory prologue, in the wake of Moiraine’s mission with the presentation of the five young people, without wasting too much time outlining each element of the setting. The context is rather enriched with additional information, through dialogues and situations, as the characters move along the main narrative flow of the first three episodes that we have previewed, and which are in the catalog the first week of publication. A choice that seemed sensible to us to satisfy both the needs of those who approach Jordan’s material through the series, and those who are more familiar with the saga and would have found a more full-bodied introductory part too verbose.
Rosamund Pike’s Moiraine immediately catalyses the viewer’s attention, guiding him in these first steps in the world of The Wheel of Time, but the attention placed immediately on the female component of the story, with magic and its use, is equally interesting. entrusted to the women of Aes Sedai. Rasmund Pike aside, it is in fact the whole concept of their organization and the related rituals that are fascinating and characteristic of the setting imagined by Jordan. However, the wheel of time is not made up of women only and in the cast we also find Daniel Hennery in the role of Lan Mandragoran, who accompanies Moiraine in her attempt to beat the darkness in search of the Dragon Reborn, and the object boys also appear immediately in part of the prophecy, from Madeleine Madden as Egwene to Josha Stradowski who gives life to Rand Al’Thor and Barney Harris who plays Mat.
There is perhaps a bit of confusion in keeping all the elements that make up the beginning of this journey in balance, in the need to convey the mass of material of the literary saga, but the commitment at the production level is also evident, with sets and costumes that complement the visual experience and balance a CGI that didn’t always seem up to the task. There is also a lot of curiosity for a series that seems to promise a long way (The wheel of time has already been renewed for a second season) and a story to grow through its characters, starting with the five young people forced to abandon their own lives to start a different journey.
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At the end of the review of the first episodes of The Wheel of Time, we confirm the curiosity aroused by the beginning of this journey that promises to accompany us for a long time on Prime Video. You notice the amount of material at the base of the setting, but the choice to deepen it through details revealed as the story proceeds in a setting made up of good quality sets and costumes is appreciable. Fascinating is the character of Moiraine, played by Rosamund Pike, and the Aes Sedai she is part of, a prominent element of a cast that appears mostly in part.
Because we like it
- Rosamund Pike’s Moiraine and the Aes Sedai she is a part of, which introduce the story of the series.
- The cast as a whole, which appears in part and well blended.
- The choice to immerse ourselves immediately in the heart of the story and enrich the setting with details by continuing the story.
- The visual construction of the world of the series, curated in terms of sets and costumes …
- … Net of a CGI that didn’t always seem up to the task.
- A pinch of confusion in balancing and conveying all the mass of material of the Jordan saga.