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Manohla Dargis Loses Smaug Focus With “In the Middle”

In response to Manohla Dargis’s 841‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on New York Times

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Manohla Dargis is not one who typically lives in the land of bland reviews, however her latest crafting “In the Middle of Middle-earth” lacks that Smaug fire that has been seen in so many sizzlers.

In The Middle feels like Dargis is a bit disconnected from her inner Hobbit, however she barrels forward with the written word like nobody’s business. The piece is far from classic M-Darg but no one can say that she didn’t put in the effort.

A surprising amount of In The Middle is dedicated to plot summary. Dargis strays from her typical enlightening metaphors and instead offers up prose that doesn’t quite have the “X” factor but more of the bore factor. Connoisseurs will likely start becoming worried for Ms. Dargis, not because the review is terrible, but simply because one typically convulses from delight from her command of the English language.

Dargis produces an intriguing look at the romance in the film and even serves up some sassy talk on Peter Jackson, but unfortunately it all comes across as teasy. There are moments of greatness, however Dargis never quite tantalizes with her critique.

One can appreciate the craftsmanship of In The Middle, but the writing of Dargis comes across like she was distracted or perhaps not in touch with the needs of Hobbiteers.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation