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Michael O’Sullivan’s Review of “The Desolation of Smaug” Panders

In response to Michael O'Sullivan’s 756‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Washington Post

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Michael O’Sullivan’s “‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ A Fun Redemption of the Franchise” is a solid review that spends too much time acknowledging potential fan-boy objections.

A Fun Redemption wastes space pointing out the movie’s divergences from Tolkien’s original novel and where purists might object. Divergences from the source text are not important when considering the finished film qua film.

The whole endeavor raises the question whether the review reader cares about what a sub-group of fans think (hint: Not in the least!) Also Tolkien is hardly an unknown cult writer. His “Lord of the Rings” books have been popular since the early 1960s, and “The Hobbit” has been on high school reading lists for years. He’s not some unknown whose material Jackson is shamelessly mangling.

O’Sullivan and others need to stop treating Tolkien purists as if their approbation of the film adaptations matter; and stop pretending Tolkien’s books are flawless.

One objection O’Sullivan and others have raised is Jackson’s inclusion of a female elf character not present in the book. Jackson wouldn’t have to do such things if Tolkien actually included female characters in his oeuvre, which is, though transcendent, a giant sausage-fest in which female characters are plot devices or on the sidelines—when they’re not non-existent.    

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