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Ethan Alter’s “The Desolation of Smaug” Is a Seesaw Ride Worth Taking

In response to Ethan Alter’s 991‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Television Without Pity

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One thing that jumps out about Ethan Alter’s “The Hobbit—The Desolation of Smaug” is the genuine affection he has for the film franchise and the source from which it came. This is a good thing because it helps get the audience through some of the clunkier moments of the piece.

This is definitely a mixed bag. Larger font in the presentation would have helped. And watch out using your cursor to follow along as you read, because some annoying boxes are going to pop up. But get past these annoyances and there are plenty of worthwhile moments.

When at his best, Alter is making some cogent observations, such as how this second film, besides continuing the story, suffers from also trying to set up the Rings trilogy, which has already been seen, comparing this to the first three Star Wars prequel films which attempted to do the same thing. Or admitting that his affection for “all things Middle-earth” helps sustain him through the film’s weaker moments. This is good info for the audience member who comes to this film with the same affection to know.

On the other hand, bringing in the Indiana Jones trilogy as well, and trying to jokingly pretend that the fourth film in the series doesn’t exist, isn’t funny and unnecessarily breaks the mood.

This type of back and forth prose throughout admittedly hurts the work. However, despite the seesaw effect, this uneven piece is worth reading. Fortunately, you’ll find yourself raised up more often than stuck on the ground.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation