A shocking statement for some, no doubt!
I was taken aback as well by this comment; but after a while I tried to consider the reasons for this – if it turns out to be true.
(skip to between 0:25-0:27 – some spoilers may follow later on)
Then again, his exact words are: “I think it will be a shorter film” … that word “think”.
Of course Peter Jackson still has over 8 months of post-production to do and much can be altered.
Nonetheless, it won’t do any harm to speculate on the possibility of There and Back Again being the shortest of all six films.
I was instantly reminded of the last Harry Potter movie (Deathly Hallows Part II) and interviews that emerged a few weeks or months before its release – claiming that it would be the shortest of all the Potter movies.
As it turned out, the film really worked in terms of pacing the story. Any unnecessary scenes were omitted, leaving only the heart and soul of the journey to make its way to a triumphant conclusion.
If this is the case with There and Back Again, it eases the headache for Peter Jackson in reducing the gap leading up to the Battle of Five Armies – (even though we’ve learnt that he knows how to fill his gaps with impressive, and sometimes over-the-top, action scenes).
It’s no mystery that the three main sequences in the third film will involve Smaug’s attack on Lake-town, the assault on Dol Guldur, and the aforementioned battle.
If the film spans the length of two hours, much more focus can be made on each of these major moments; each successively leading to the next – throwing audiences in a race against time – which is ultimately one of the elements that makes the story of The Hobbit so effective.
Yes, I certainly wouldn’t mind watching a Middle-earth film where every conversation takes five or more minutes to conduct.
I literally want to explore every nook and cranny of the cinematic Middle-earth.
But I also recognize the general film audience and the dangers of a long-drawn conclusion. For us die-hard fans, we’ll have to make do with the Extended Editions – leaving the theatrical cut to be as carefully constructed and polished as possible.
The Desolation of Smaug, which was definitely more urgent and well-paced, left me slightly disappointed at the lack of proper introductions to characters and locations – until I realized the importance of satisfying the general audience and keeping only the essential elements of the narrative.
There and Back Again, not having the lack of post-production time like An Unexpected Journey – nor any more necessary explanations to the story – should prove to be the best in The Hobbit Trilogy.
As long as the essence of every major moment is there, this could be the strong link between the two Trilogies.
Who knows, it might even top one of The Lord of the Rings films too.
We’re all waiting with bated breath…