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Bill Gibron’s “Better?… the Desolation of Smaug” Looks Far

In response to Bill Gibron’s 1068‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on PopMatters

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Bill Gibron takes the long view in his “Bigger…Badder…Better? ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’”.

“When all three parts of this preposterously overlong project are finally formed and released,” he writes, “it is then and only then when we will be able to gauge…what Peter Jackson attempted with ‘The Hobbit’”.

Gibron is one of the few critics to appreciate the nature of how modern filmmaking has changed the rules and possibilities for movies.

The films of this trilogy form a whole; Jackson is filming them simultaneously. Gibron argues (articulately) that they can’t be adequately judged until all are released.

In this he honors the spirit in which Tolkien worked on Lord of the Rings, which wasn’t written as a trilogy but rather a single novel that his publisher subsequently broke up into the three books we now know. (Trivia: Tolkien initially objected to the title “The Return of the King” for the third book of the trilogy because it gave the ending away.)

Still, Gibron analyzes this movie on its own merits and is not ready to excuse every cinematic sin. He casts a jaundiced eye on the inclusion of some characters (and the introduction of others) and mercilessly points out a cheap marketing ploy.

In the end Gibron’s review is like the movie itself in that readers will have to wait for the final verdict until the third film. But it’ll probably be worth the wait.    

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