The effort Amazon Prime Video has been making is evident to get closer to the main streaming platforms — Netflix, HBO Max and, in the case of Brazil, Globoplay. However, even their most expensive or most critically praised productions do not cause the frisson of competing releases.
That could change with the new “The Wheel of Time”. The debut of a saga that purports to take the place of “Game of Thrones” among fans of the fantasy genre could give Jeff Bezos’ platform the points that the leaner catalog and the bad interface seem to take it from.
The superproduction, whose initial three chapters were released last Friday and with another five to air weekly this Friday through Christmas Eve, brings to the screen American writer Robert Jordan’s 15-book series — three of which were completed by Brandon Sanderson from the notes of Jordan, who died in 2007.
As is customary in the genre, it shows the fight for good, in the form of a small group of anointed ones, against evil in a fictional land where there is magic, demons and messiahs — but also ambition, romance, betrayal and other novelistic ingredients.
In the first season, we follow the journey of Moiraine, lived by Rosamund Pike, a kind of sorceress, and her squire Lan, role of Daniel Henney, to find a Dragon Reborn, the messiah of this story, and stop the arrival of an era of woes.
As the identity of the savior is unknown even to the very top, Moiraine gathers a group of young people with special abilities who can be the messiah to train them and, with luck, discover who will save the world.
Having Rosamund Pike, from the great “Girl Exemplar”, in the cast is an asset, but don’t expect something that will give a great showcase to the talent of the actress. “The Wheel of Time” is good fun, and its plot is able to hold the viewer throughout the season, with yet another fictional universe debated in online forums and illustrated by committed fans.
It lacks, however, the political ink with which George RR Martin — and later showrunners David Benioff and DB Weiss — loaded “Game of Thrones,” in which palace intrigue was even more mesmerizing than special effects. Or the ingenuity of Middle-earth built by JRR Tolken in “The Lord of the Rings” and other books, and even the hypercharism of the children’s characters “Harry Potter”, with its plot that speaks to current events.
What is served here is entertainment without major allegories, a melting pot of religion and European myths with a meticulously diverse cast that sometimes seems straight out of the 1980s cartoon “Captain Planet”, where each character had a superpower and a different racial characteristic.
Amazon celebrated the debut as the most viewed debut of the year on its platform, and one of the top five of all time. See if it’s enough to get her into streaming A series.
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