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Jeffrey Lyles’ “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” Cuts Thru Human Smog

In response to Jeffrey Lyles’s 855‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Lyles' Movie Files

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With one word, ‘cliffhanger’, Jeffrey Lyles The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug dwarfs its super hero-addicted peers.

Standing, as it were, thusly taller than most of the rest, Lyles Smaug finds itself able to leap tall claims and outrun stale bullet points super-heroically on behalf of both Tolkien and fantasy fans.

While not mentioning it directly, Lyles Smaug makes it obliquely clear what makes this stretching of what is, after all, THE effective prequel to Peter Jackson’s Lord of the Rings so mercenary----it places bottom line far above story line.  After all, cliffhangers, however jagged, keep ‘em coming back for… …. . more, forgoing that less IS.

As a result, Lyles makes clear that Smaug is befogged with characters from that ‘first’ trilogy, banking, literally, on the child-like audience’s ignorance of the actual literature and its interwoven intricacy and its insatiable desire for eye confection.

Of particular merit is his clear exposition of the writers room for Smaug’s script, where we find the unabashed and otherwise rather talented Guillermo del Toro, whose strong suit is horror.  The true horror here, per Lyles Smaug is the seeming carelessness with which Jackson and team meld these very different genres.  Sadly, and not for the first time, helmers and writers believe that their confluence only compounds value when fans---at least of Tolkien’s writing---know they’re being hosed.

I mentioned ‘cliffhanger’, Lyles’ central term; he knows, perhaps as a fantasy fan, that this Potterized audience is left hanging.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation