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Owen Gleiberman’s “The Desolation of Smaug” Is a Classic Not to Be Missed

In response to Owen Gleiberman’s 445‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Entertainment Weekly,,20483133_20721932,00.html

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Owen Gleiberman’s “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” may be the perfect review. The writing is both intelligent and entertaining in a way that is rare in this review season. The critic has, quite frankly, created a masterpiece that is yet another addition to an impressive career.

Credit Gleiberman for finding connections in his work that are missing from other pieces on the subject. Particularly noteworthy is how he connects the sense of oncoming dread apparent in the original novel with the time period it was written—pre-World Word Two—then credits the film for capturing that same feeling of impending doom. You may not find this kind of observation anywhere else.

His comparisons between the first and second films in the Hobbit trilogy also greatly enhance the audience’s experience. In addition, describing the elves in the film as “isolationists,” or stating how the dwarves “are portrayed with crusty urgency” show an artist whose superior powers of description are very much on display. Such work is fresh and original.

But note also how Gleiberman is a master of brevity. Few critics can incorporate the necessities of plot synopsis into a review as effectively as he does here. There is not a wasted word.

Calling The Desolation of Smaug a classic for this review season may smack of hyperbole, but it more than fits here. You will find few, if any, reviews as wonderfully refreshing, entertaining and insightful as this one. For the lover of true film critique, this is the one that you can’t miss.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation