Apr 17, 3:15pm
the ideal length would be "That amount of screentime required to present Tolkien's story, without rushing or dragging, and certainly without padding or extraneous material." Of course, that's incredibly vague; how does one work out the "right" length of time to spend on, say, the spider fight, or Smaug's attack on Lake Town? And what is "rushed" vs "draggy," given different tastes and attention spans? Nonetheless, it seems to me that the runtime would fall somewhere between 3 and 3-1/2 hours: one looong movie, or two normal to shortish ones.
As is well-known, ca 1960 Tolkien began and abandoned a rewritten "Hobbit," one which was somewhat more Lord of the Rings-ish, at least in terms of a day's-march-by-campsite narrative as opposed to the original's jumping from adventure to adventure, conformed the geography to LR's, and which cut back on the authorial asides. However, he stopped largely because a (nameless) friend who read it said, "But it's just not The Hobbit!"
(It seems that in netlore this version is conceived of as being wholly, radically different from the original. It's actually not all that different)
(This post was edited by Solicitr on Apr 17, 3:16pm)