Movies  •  Critics  •  About
Existimatum  >  Movies  >  The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug  >  Reviews  >  Chicago Tribune

Michael Phillips’s “Review: …” Aims True in Spite of a Weary Bowman

In response to Michael Phillips’s 474‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Chicago Tribune,0,4587154.column

By ,

Although a bit brief, “Review: ‘The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug’ ***—Director Peter Jackson picks up the pace in this ‘Hobbit’ sequel” by Michael Phillips is sure to entertain and enlighten fans of all stripes, even those unfamiliar or unimpressed with the subject’s premise.

There is a little concern in the opening passages that this piece may be bias, based upon the author’s mood when creating it. He alludes to fatigue accumulated from analyzing other subjects and suggests that, because of that, his facilities may not be in an appropriate state to judge this one properly. It’s unwise to preface one’s work with the disclaimer that it may be inaccurate, as that brings the integrity of the piece as a whole in question. The reader needs to be confident in the author’s ability to assess their premise in a way that is competent, fully supported by reasonably solid evidence, and pleasing to the eye.  Conversely, Phillips instills doubt that any of these critical elements will be present in his text.

Thankfully, the remainder of the tome seems to contradict this. What follows is a genuinely engaging and comprehensive synopsis fueled by much forethought and backed up by legitimately convincing supporting argument. It is a true pleasure to witness the author’s undeniable ability to entertain and inform at the same time. His conversation structure is unique to be sure, and may take some getting used to, but once the reader does, they will quickly become immersed in the world the author creates.  

The only negative, other than the off-putting intro, is the piece’s relatively short length.  Although the size is adequate and mostly suits the concise tone the author employs, there is room for so much more. After all, the subject is fairly robust and there is much to elaborate on. And while brevity gets the point across in less time, not to mention shows focus and self-restraint (which is too rare in this genre), a little more embellishment would only serve to help magnify the effectiveness of the argument in this case.  

That minor qualm aside, fans and newbies alike will be quite pleased by Phillips’s latest offering. The former, being more familiar to the author’s low calorie approach, will no doubt adjust their appetite accordingly. And the latter will leave hungry for his next work. In either case, the author presents a delicious feast that is as nourishing for the mind as it is for the soul.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation