Mood & music
The Homage: Even the opening scenes of the short (if you can really call a nearly 40 minute production a "short") are crammed with both the atmospheric grace of Jackson's films, and the music, composed by Adam Langston, Andrew Skrabutenas and Chris Bouchard is a great take on what Howard Shore did for the trilogy.
Lesson For del Toro: If Shore is unavaiable for any reason, we suggest GDT hires Javier Navarrete, his Pan's Labyrinth composer and have him do what other musos have done with Harry Potter: take John Williams' original music and weave it into a new symphonic tapestry that changes with each film.
The Homage: The Gollum team, while they didn't have access to Ian McKellen, create a perfect version of the movie's Gandalf.
Lesson For del Toro: With McKellen to hand, this should be a no-brainer.
Yet we also want to see the film explore other sides of Gandalf: his younger, slightly more impetuous side and how his relationship with Bilbo developed to the point we see in Fellowship.
McKellen's up for the acting challenge of playing a younger Gandalf. But stick to the idea that he's near-ageless and skip the awful plastic youth-o-tron used in X3 and Wolverine.
Location, Location, Location
The Homage: Just look at that statue in the mountain range. If we didn’t know better, we’d think it was a deleted scene from the trilogy.
Lesson For del Toro: He’s in New Zealand, so we want him to take full advantage and produce films that celebrate everything that’s awesome about Peter Jackson’s work.
And NZ was a big part of that - go on, Guillermo, make Murray from Flight Of The Conchords smile with how well you show off the country...
The Homage: Aragorn may not directly be in The Hobbit, but the way the Hunt makers portray him is straight out of Jackson’s world.
Lesson For del Toro: While we acknowledge that del Toro is a master craftsmen when it comes to the visuals of his films, we’ll hoping he’ll offer a blend of his invention and Jackson’s established designs.
The Hobbit and LOTR might be different eras, but we want them to feel of a piece.
The Homage: Jackson used some Elvish in his films, and the makers of The Hunt use subtitles when Aragorn and a fellow ranger speak their own language.
Lesson For del Toro: With more members of races such as the dwarves, we’re hoping del Toro brings his experience shooting movies that end up subtitled (like The Devil’s Backbone and Pan).
Don’t be afraid to use more native talk in the movie – it just heightens the experience.
The Homage: Even given their length, there simply wasn’t time to give the Orcs (and the Uruk-hai much in the way of personalities, aside from a couple of the beasts in the first three films.
The Hunt manages to pull this off in its short running time.
Lesson For del Toro: Use the fact that Smaug the dragon and other villains (goblins! Trolls!) get more time and give them real life.
It’ll add depth to the film and finally use the creatures as something more than lumped-together enemies. No Uruk-hai though: they haven’t been created yet…
The Homage: One of our favourite moments in Gollum is Aragorn sneaking up on a spearing one of the Orcs.
It’s a nicely dark moment and shows that he’s not above a little bit of the ultraviolence, as in LOTR.
Lesson For del Toro: Don’t skimp on the darkness. We’re certain he won’t, but we want him to push the battles and the danger as far as he can.
True, the studio will want as wide an audience as possible, but if The Dark Knight proved anything, you can shove the boundaries occasionally.
Spread The Wealth
The Homage: Despite a much, much lower budget than Jackson, the makers manage to create some effective battle scenes, with choreography that Jackson would be proud of.
Lesson For del Toro: Given that he has studio backing and the funds to do it, we’re hoping for something epic from GDT that shoves every available penny up on screen.
He’ll need it for the Battle of Five Armies…
Humour In The Mix
The Homage: Though he’s kept largely off-screen (well, in a sack) for budget reasons, Gollum in the short is the same chatty, twisted little git we know and love from Jackson’s films.
Lesson For del Toro: With Andy Serkis on board, we’re hoping del Toro’s movie makes full use of the former hobbit and develops him further.
We reckon Serkis has enough of a handle on him by now to ad lib occasionally to keep things fresh.
Good For Your Elf
The Homage: The look of the elves, including Arwen (though she’s not played by Liv Tyler) is spot on in the short film.
Lesson For del Toro: Since we meet Elrond (whether Hugo Weaving is officially signed up or not), del Toro already has his blueprint for how the elves should be treated in The Hobbit.
But since the Wood-elves of Mirkwood are presented in the book as much more ambiguous (Bilbo has to rescue dwarves from them), del Toro also has latitude to play with their look and motivation.