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Tom Long’s “Trip to Muddle-Earth” Is a Devilish Delight

In response to Tom Long’s 639‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Detroit News

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Tom Long’s “Review: Bloated ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ is a trip to muddle-earth” is a devilish delight. As cutting as a warrior’s sword, the critic leaves nothing unscathed, and yet his blend of caustic wit and sly humor guarantees one thing: the audience will have a great time.

Long makes no bones about it: blaming the movie for being about money because the film “has nothing to do with art,” or likening watching the film to waterboarding may sound nasty—well, maybe it is—but the audience certainly knows where he stands, and, in context, it’s very funny. If comedy is all about timing, Long’s timing is impeccable.

Even when he’s finding something positive to say, that slicing wit of his comes out. “The group of dwarves don’t sit around singing endlessly as they did in the first movie.” That is certainly faint praise worth yet another chuckle.

Whether the reviewer is lamenting the film’s inability to give some of the characters any personality, or questioning who the heck takes the time to name dragons, he does it with a biting wit that is highly efficient. Comedy (and film reviewing) has a long history of using the putdown; Long is an expert here.

You might feel a teensy bit guilty enjoying the abrasive wit on display in the excellent Trip to Muddle-Earth. But don’t dwell on it too long; you don’t want to miss all the fun.    

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