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“It’s Too Long…” Short, Entertaining, and Ultimately Inconclusive

In response to Chris Vognar’s 464‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Dallas Morning News

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“It’s too long, but ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ has dandy set pieces (B-)”, the latest offering from author Chris Vognar, is an exciting foray into the unknown. Sadly, the unknown remains mostly unknown upon the journey’s conclusion.

Rare be literature that attacks its subject with such veracity… such enthusiasm… such wit. Wit in particular is the showcase of this piece. The author has a distinct voice, and one sees it immediately. It is a genuine delight to delve into such a clever mind, even for just a brief moment.  

Yes, this piece is brief, but effective. There is no phoning-in here, no shortcuts to be found. The author seems like he could write forever, and yet has sense enough to realize when his analysis is complete and stop while he’s ahead.

The problem is that when he stops, it’s still unclear what his recommendation is one way or the other. The feelings about the topic are as clear as the sun atop a lonely mountain. But he leaves the ultimate deliberation up to the audience, which is unexpected, unfair and undermining to the purpose of this type of work. Thus, the audience is left to take their chances with this movie—same as before they started reading.

Similarly, the best advice one can give about this piece is to read at one’s own risk. The reader may garner some value from the author’s diatribe, but nothing in the way of discernible consensus… at least not without a translator.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation