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Carla Meyer Mostly Hits Her Targets in “Popcorn Fun”

In response to Carla Meyer’s 748‑word review of The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug on Sacramento Bee

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Carla Meyer’s “Movie review: ‘Desolation of Smaug’ is popcorn fun, not Tolkien serious” hits a few potholes along the way, but is a mostly satisfying piece of film criticism.

Meyer starts with an interesting premise; these films—the Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit trilogy—are not serious entertainment, they’re fluffy popcorn action flicks and should be treated as such. Meyer uses this premise to great effect and it’s a thread that informs the entire review by shifting her critical focus from the sober (think My Left Foot) to the blockbuster crowd pleaser (Die Hard).

Once she frees herself to let loose a bit, Meyer’s prose becomes an absolute delight. She downright hilarious at times and the work shines with an effortlessly lively tone. There’s a wonderfully breezy flow to it all and Meyer is clearly having fun, an attitude that translates here perfectly.

The piece falters a bit at the end when Meyer becomes a little too preoccupied with the actors’ physical appearances. She goes to the “bountiful handsomeness” and “intense good looks” one too many times and it feels empty—her explanation doesn’t quite cut it either.

Aside from this late fumble, Popcorn Fun is a worthy entry.    

Quality of Writing Quality of Argument Spoiler Avoidance Presentation