Maintain The Mystery of Smaug
Dragons are pretty damn badass. Giant winged lizards with a taste for destruction and an ability to breathe fire? That’s pretty damn cool – and we got a great taste of just how cool it is during the opening scene of An Unexpected Journey as we watch how Smaug completely dominates the land of Erebor and takes all of their treasure. And only adding to the suspense of the scene is the fact that we can’t really see what is actually unleashing all the destruction – just shadows and flame. With any luck Jackson will keep that mystery going in part two.

The director does give us our first real taste of the dragon in the last shot of the movie, centering on one of the creature’s giant eyes, but in The Desolation of Smaug we hope that the great beast stays hidden for just a bit longer. We have full faith in the Weta Digital team to bring us something amazing (we can never forget just how amazing Gollum looks), but why not give audiences a bit more time within their own imagination figuring out what the villain looks like? Those who have read the book know that they do eventually have to show the thing from head to tail, but hopefully Jackson makes us wait for it a bit.

Don’t Be Afraid To Make It Short
I’m sure that Jackson has a Super Ultra Mega Extended Version of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey right around the corner, but for now the movie is actually the shortest Middle-earth movie that the Kiwi filmmaker has made. Clocking in 169 minutes – or two hours and 49 minutes – the prequel is at least 10 minutes shorter than the theatrical cuts of the Lord of the Rings movies (and it’s a full 95 minutes shorter than the Return of the King Special Extended Blu-Ray Edition). This is a pattern we wouldn’t mind necessarily seeing Jackson continue in his next two entries.

As evidenced by both King Kong and The Lovely Bones in addition to Jackson’s Tolkien adaptations, it’s clear that the filmmaker has a taste for epics, but epic runtime doesn’t necessarily mean epic story. There are too many scenes in An Unexpected Journey that just hang on for too long and could have and should have been given a trim in the editing room. For The Desolation of Smaug Jackson should experiment with being more active with the knife and taking out at least some of the non-essential material. Not only should it help the sequel, it could improve universal bladder health at the same time.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug will be in theaters December 13, 2013. For more, head over to our Blend Film Database.

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