Reviews are slowly pouring in for the first part of Peter Jackson's The Hobbit trilogy - you can read our take here - and it's regrettable that they're not what we had hoped for; critics have in unison praise its technical sophistication as well as Martin Freeman and Andy Serkis' impressive performances, but have noted the film's numerous gripes that mean it's not a touch on Jackson's more assured Lord of the Rings films. That said, Jackson presses on with production on parts two and three, and though it's too late for Jackson to really adjust much of his trajectory, we hope that in the edit room he can at least listen to fans and ensure that the next entry into the series, The Desolation of Smaug, is a far tighter affair that trims the fat and focuses on those aspects in Part 1 that worked the best. Here are 10 things Peter Jackson needs to improve for Part 2.
10. More Actors, Less CGI
One frequent complaint about An Unexpected Journey was how Jackson deferred a lot of the time to pure CGI creatures rather than combining visual effects with live-action actors as he did on his Lord of the Rings films. In the first Hobbit film, many of Jackson's Orc-like characters could have been humans in make-up that were accentuated with CGI, but for the large part, he insists on CGI renderings which, while impressive, just don't have the same presence and subtle sense of humanity that actual people have. It's a difficult balance to maintain in any project, let alone one of this scale and ambition, but Jackson needs to make sure not lose sight of the tactics that brought him to this dance in the first place. Save the CGI for the stuff that really needs it - the flying beasts and grotesque monsters - and keep everything else as grounded as possible.
Frequently sleep-deprived film addict and video game obsessive who spends more time than is healthy in darkened London screening rooms. Follow his twitter on @ShaunMunroFilm or e-mail him at shaneo632 [at] gmail.com.