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Brent Simon’s “Hobbit” Offers Shortcuts to Mt. Critique

In response to Brent Simon’s 536‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Shared Darkness

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Brent Simon, writing for Shared Darkness, employs an unusual visual tack (not talking about the website’s visuals, which are better enjoyed in the dark) in his reviews: he highlights key points throughout his review, “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug” in bold text, making it ostensibly possible to glean his prodigious wisdom in five easy sentences.  

At first, this approach feels like pandering to the gnat-like attention span of today’s readers; a white flag that says, “I know you’re just skimming this, so here. . I made it easy for you.” Once you settle in though, it works to build a strange cadence to the piece; you wait with bated breath to see what glorious insights this text will bring you in all its brazenness.  

Alas, all this anticipation makes you gloss over the less glamorous text and, even when you get to the highlights, they end up feeling less than satisfying.  

The critiques are fairly standard: “As diversionary entertainment, though, it’s fine, really,” but the “film feels like all muddled climb. “ 

The writing is mostly solid, but Simon gets in trouble at times when his obvious hyper-intelligence creates sentences that trip over themselves in their attempts at profundity.  

This one is a middle of the road effort, but its unique approach might be just what readers are looking for.     

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation