An Example of Improving Conciseness

I know, the technical term is concision, but only we geek tech writers and English teachers use that term. Anyway, the third rule of good expository writing is to be concise—no extra words.

So here’s an example of someone promulgating the idea of not being wordy, (or over-written, as the commenter says elsewhere). The passage is in the comments to a review of Toy Story 4 in the Washington Post. (Edited for conciseness and punctuation.) It starts with a quote from the review.

The disaster, in this case, is 2019’s Summer of Sequelae, as dismal a movie season as audiences can remember as one spinoff has followed the other with a graceless thud. Thankfully, “Toy Story 4” arrives just in time to redeem filmgoers’ faith, if not in humanity, then at least in the humaneness of inanimate creatures who have more heart, pluck and conscience in their plastic pinkies than most real-life adults. 

How about this:

The disaster in question seems to be the entire blockbuster season of 2019; a string of graceless thuds. Thankfully, “Toy Story 4” arrives just in time to redeem film-goers’ faith — if not in humanity, then at least in character.

I think the passage could be more concise than that, even:

The blockbusters of 2019 are a string of graceless thuds. “Toy Story 4” arrives in time to redeem the season.
or even
Toy Story 4 redeems a season of graceless thuds.

That’s not as colorful as the original, but this site promulgates expository writing, whose goal is to convey the content, not the writing style—perhaps drier than necessary for a movie review.

PS—I ran into another article about the movie. This was the last sentence:

In a summer of stupid sequels, ‘Toy Story 4’ is a visually dazzling delight