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Joe Morgenstern Writes a Review on the Way to Dinner in “The Desolation”

In response to Joe Morgenstern’s 295‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Wall Street Journal

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Joe Morgenstern has stepped up his visual game in “The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug,” however his submissive approach to Smaug is somewhat annoying and just another example of a critic mailing it in simply because the film is part of a franchise. Critique the film! 

The Desolation suffers due to the critic’s failure to commit himself to the craft of film criticism. Sure, the two paragraphs are entertaining and convey the bare essentials, however that is not enough for the modern reader. Nobody wants to hear “I’ll keep it short” or excuses about why the material is too hefty to deliver a proper review. Make it happen, says everybody.  

Morgenstern is a fine writer but The Desolation features phrasing that seems like the critic was late for a dinner and decided to slap a few things together. The statement of “everything that needed establishing has been established” is arguably the best piece of analysis, which will lead Morgensternies to wander off aimlessly in deep thought while pondering the thin pseudo-analysis.

The Desolation is essentially a description-review. Morgenstern notes the “stronger feminine presence” and “awesome dragon presence,” but unfortunately the presence of critique waved bye-bye as the critic frantically rushed to get something online. At least he offered some viewing advice for the innocent readers at the end of the piece.

Joe Morgenstern’s strong visuals in The Desolation aren’t enough to overcome the lack of analysis.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation