“The Wheel of Time”, Amazon’s fantastic whirlwind

Posted on Nov 19, 2021, 7:48 PM

In the small world of fantastic sagas, “The Wheel of Time” plays its own score. While comparisons with other classics of the genre, including “Game of Thrones,” are obvious, this once-literary epic is a challenge in itself. Its most assiduous readers have thus browsed for more than thirty years the fourteen volumes of this story mixing magic and desire for conquest, all of which has sold more than 90 million copies throughout the world. It is to say the wait around this ambitious fiction imagined by the writer Robert Jordan, today brought to the screen by Amazon Prime Video, polishing in parallel the adaptation in television series of “Lord of the Rings”.

In the heart of a setting playing with lush nature, the viewer discovers Moiraine (interpreted by the always inspired Rosamund Pike), here draped in a blue dress and endowed with the Unique Power that we quickly guess immense. A member of a powerful women’s organization called the Aes Sedai, she arrives in the small town of Two Rivers to take with her five young men and women in the direction of the White Tower. It is here that the plot, where the twists are numerous, is written in the light of a mission of which only the world of fantasy has the secret: one of them, prophesied as “the reborn Dragon Or in other words the Chosen One, will save or destroy humanity.

A disappointing aesthetic

If the books look more at the fate of the latter, the fiction makes the daring choice to place Moiraine at the heart of this quest, true central figure of a series deeply influenced by the work of Tolkien. Like the famous character of Gandalf, she sets out to guide the inhabitants of a peaceful town on an odyssey as intoxicating as it is bloody. But, to keep the mystery, it is better not to reveal more. For those who would be disappointed by the first episodes, the series is gradually increasing in power, both by the scope of the adventure, epic at will, and by the quality of the casting, which we certainly retain the performance of Rosamund Pike but also that of the small group that surrounds him, from Marcus Rutherford (Perrin Aybara) to Josha Stradowski (Rand al’Thor).

Actress Rosamund Pike, as Moiraine, is almost everywhere.Jan Thijs

If the scenario very quickly manages to grab and disorient the viewer, the weakness of the series lies in its aesthetics, yet with a budget of around 80 million dollars. Difficult over the episodes to find the same realism, the same visual quality that made the success of “Game of Thrones”, “Lord of the Rings” or even “The Witcher”. From the slightly too perfect costumes worn by the “heroes” to the almost funny look of the Trollocs, villains of the saga, through the places filmed with the air of kitsch scenery, it is difficult to find credibility in the plot, yet interesting. Promising, often breathless, this “Wheel of Time” charms without completely convincing.

The Wheel of Time

Series

De Rafe Judkins

Avec Rosamund Pike, Madeleine Madden, Zoe Robins, Marcus Rutherford, Josha Stradowski…

Episodes de 60 minutes. Sur Amazon Prime Video.

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