Sam Strange Remembers: THE HOBBIT: THE DESOLATION OF SMAUG

Sam goes there and back again. Again.

We're back! Here's a little catch-me-up: The Hobbit movies are about a little guy named Hobbit who gets guilted into joining a band of dwarves on an epic quest to regain their home and a shitload of money from a dragon named Smowg. There are thirteen dwarves in total: Thoring, Boring, KiKi, TitTit, George Harrison, Bashful, Grumpy, Odo, Kelsey Grammer, Gandalf the Dwarf, Willow, R2-D2, and Peter Dinklage.

They also have a wizard named Gandalf the Wizard riding along with them. He's clearly the most powerful of their number, but he frequently abandons them to go star in Lord of the Rings prequels, so he's not really involved in the story. And truthfully, the story's not that involved with the story either, so it all checks out.

The Hobbit: DOS begins just as the last film left off: With Hobbit, Gandalf, and a bunch of dwarves running away from stuff. Orcs, maybe. Their main adversary is a one-handed Orc named Orca the Defriender. He's quite ugly thanks to a face covered with nasty shaving scars he got after his good hand was cut off by Thoring Oakenfold's father (I think).

The crew has nowhere to turn except for the forest's sole comfy cottage. Unfortunately, this lovely abode belongs to a guy named Bjorn. Not only is Bjorn mean, but he's a Bear-wolf. This means he's a vicious bear at night but in the morning he turns into a werewolf. Everyone acts like this is really scary but run for his house anyway, where they find themselves thoroughly unmolested. Bjorn even makes them breakfast and lets them have all his ponies, which they eat rather than ride because his breakfast was all boring vegetarian stuff.

After that, they travel to Sherwood Forest, which is apparently sick thanks to a group of selfish elves who live within (being "sick" just means the forest has bigger than normal spiders and gives you hallucinations). There are really only three of these elves. The main one is named Legodad. He's a pretty big jerk who feels elves should stay out of world affairs because they are immortal, not stupid, and smell good.

His son is named Legolas. You may recognize him from the Lord of the Rings films. Or maybe you won't, as this is a very different Leglolas than the one we saw in that series. Here, Legolas is younger. He has yet to work off all his baby fat. Plus his emerging hormones are going crazy. In fact, he has a big elf-crush on the third main elf, Legolass, a pretty ginger-elf. More than anything, Legolas hopes Legolass will fall in love with him so the two can have a tree full of Legolads. But his father won't allow it. He thinks ginger-elves should stay where they belong - in the baking trees making delicious cookies.

Elves can hear dwarves breathe from up to ten miles away, so almost as soon as Hobbit's party enters Sherwood forest, they are captured and imprisoned by the dickhead elves who plan to punish their trespassing with compulsory bathing.

But these elves are not as smart as they think. While they managed to lock up all the dwarves, they failed to get Hobbit. This is because Hobbit has a ring that makes him invisible. It also tears his soul apart and brings him face to face with ultimate evil. But it is a must for hide 'n seek success.

While the main dwarf, Thoring Oakenfeld, gives up his quest and starts crying over his lost kingdom, Hobbit sneaks around and lets all the dwarves go free. He has to coax the depressed Thoring into trying to open his unlocked door, but eventually they all get out. The elves smell them walking around right away, but Hobbit has a perfect escape plan: They will smuggle themselves out in barrels and float to safety. This works really well. Their escape is so uneventful, in fact, that they have the time to play high-tech video games on their mobile devices, which we watch for about twenty rousing minutes.

Eventually they float all the way to Town Lake, which surrounds a small floating village called Lake Town. This brings them almost to the doorstep of Oakenfold Mountain. But before they can go slay their dragon, they need supplies. Unfortunately, the town is run by a fat idiot and his yes man, Grima Youngtounge, so they have to barter for their supplies in secret with a young rebel named Bord. He strikes a hard bargain and asks for more money than the dwarves have. Thus, Thoring Oakenfeld gives up his quest and starts crying over his lost kingdom. This makes Bord sick to his stomach, and he lowers his prices to something they can afford. Thoring remains sullen, however, and before long, Bord has given his wares away practically for nothing.

Before the dwarves can depart, however, all kinds of shit hits the fan. First, the fat mayor discovers them and tries to have them arrested. Then, Legolas and Legolass show up to have them arrested. Then, that one-handed Orc guy shows up to have them arrested. Everyone fights everyone until all unimportant parties are dead. It's really quite exciting thanks to young Legolas' hyperactive flipping craziness and obsession with decapitating Orcs in increasingly clever ways. Furthermore, he and Legolass have special elf quills which allow their arrows to mate and make more arrows indefinitely, so you see more trick arrow shots than in ten Robin Hood cartoons.

But poor KiKi (or maybe TitTit) gets wounded with magic poison, so Legolass has to cure him with magic medicine. While performing this task, she and KiKi fall in love and she decides not to be an elf anymore. Legolas rolls his eyes. His father, Legodad, warned him, but he didn't believe it until now. Man-elves live celibate lives, you see. Not by choice, but because their women are forever giving up mortality to run off with dudes who aren't dainty assholes.

While everyone fights over the dwarves, the dwarves actually sneak out back and sail to Oakenfold Mountain. According to prophesy, the door inside the mountain will be revealed to them during the last light of this particular day. If they miss their chance, they'll have to wait a thousand years for another. But as the sun sets, no door shines out at them. Thoring Oakenfold gives up his quest and starts crying over his lost kingdom. A thousand years go by. This time everyone pays more attention.

Once the door is open, everyone gets really excited. Thoring explain his plan for entering the mountain, "Okay. We're all going to run inside on the count of three. One, two, THREE!" at which point all the dwarves stay perfectly still as Hobbit runs into the mountain all by himself. Then they wait for Hobbit to either come out with a dragon's head or be dead. After about two hours of waiting, Thoring gives up his quest and starts crying over his lost kingdom.

Meanwhile, Hobbit is having the time of his life hanging out with Smowg. At first Smowg plans on killing Hobbit, but once Hobbit explains how the dwarves tricked him into coming into the mountain alone, the two spend hours commiserating about how much dwarves suck. Plus, Smowg finally has someone around with hands small enough to count his money.

Meanwhile, the dwarves attempt to climb down the mountain. It's difficult because sullen Thoring refuses to walk and must be carried. Bogged down by his heavy beard, the party stumbles and falls through a fissure just above Smowg's lair.

This is actually good timing because Smowg and Hobbit's friendship has just soured over the ring in Hobbit's pocket. Smowg thinks it belongs to him, and Hobbit refuses to let it go because the ring has latched onto his soul and he'd straight-up murder even his gay nephew before letting it go. So he teams up with the dwarves to beat Smowg's ass.

First the dwarves inflate the notoriously stingy Smowg's heating bill by turning on all his furnaces. Then they dump a bunch of water on him. Then they rub their butts on a golden dwarf statue until it melts into a lake of molten lava all over Smowg's feet. After that, they swing paint cans at his head. Then they put a bunch of Micro Machines in his path as he stumbles around. Once he slips on them and falls to the ground, they burn his balls with a blowtorch. Then they shoot him with bb guns and put a spider on his face.

None of this assault actually hurts Smog, but he sure gets angry. And that's the end of the movie.

(three s-

Oh wait! There's the whole Gandalf sideplot. Basically, Gandalf knowingly walks into a big trap where he comes face to face with a shadow version of Middle Earth's biggest enemy, Sauron. They have a little fight, which ends with Gandalf hung upside down in a steel cage, patiently waiting for one of his mega-hawks to come pick him up. It's absolutely imperative he get back home and think about what he's just learned for the next fifty years.

Now the film is over. Or, I mean, this one part of the trilogy. Which is actually part of a sextology. Which is one kind of tology this film is sure to keep you from getting.

(three stars)

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