Putting PJ through the geek translation matrix:
"Time to show Lucas how to make a frakking prequel trilogy!"
That may be possible!
At the same time, LotR had the nine of the Fellowship, plus MANY other characters, yet each was visually fairly distinctive. Here, there's 13 fairly visually-similar characters. I mean, if they're all (or mostly) short, male, with beards, time (film time) is going to be needed to have 13 fully established and distinguishable characters.
And many non-Tolkien fans won't get references to "past history" without some help. Some history of the dwarves and the King Under the Mountain--why they're all going there in the first place--why there's five armies fighting at the end, who Dale is, etc. Explanations to the casual viewer so things make sense to them. And this is going to take screen time. Sometimes a chapter can take two minutes on film; sometimes a half hour. It adds up.