Upon my second viewing of the film, I came to appreciate even more Sean Astin's performance. While all of the performances in the entire series are fantastic, I have to say that Astin captured something in his Sam that is apparent this film that wasn't quite as obvious before. I can't really put my finger on it, any more than I could explain why Ian McKellan made such a phenomenal Gandalf the Grey in The Fellowship Of The Ring. Astin captures an element of Sam that somehow seems to fit perfectly not just with Peter Jackson's vision of the films, but also how I saw Sam in the book. Astin's Sam seems very much like Tolkien's creation to me, more so than the other Hobbits, most of whom are very different in age than the actors in the film.
I also had the chance to give the score a good listen, and I have to say that the album actually seems to follow more along the lines of the shuffled The Two Towers than the more chronological Fellowship. Despite the fact that it is so abridged, the album plays better than its predecessor, and both are twenty times better than the mishmashes John Williams creates for his soundtrack albums.
There are many musical sequences that didn't make the film, of course, plus others that are severely cut down. The charge of the Rohirrim is a particularly noticable example.
Another, totally coincidental relationship exists between the albums for Fellowship and The Return Of The King. "The Bridge Of Khazad-Dûm" is track 13 on Fellowship, and is a masterpiece of suspense and action scoring; while on the new film's album, track 13 is "The Fields Of The Pelennor," which is a pulse-pouding ride of Wagnerian proportions (for the record, both tracks are constructed from much longer cues, and "Pelennor" actually incorporates music from earlier in the film to lead up to its climax).
I have just had dinner with my family, and we watched our annual New Year's movie, Trading Places. Yes, we do watch it every year, and it is still damn hilarious. It is interesting that Bad Santa seems to take as its point of departure the sequence in Trading Places in which Dan Aykroyd invades the Duke and Duke party.
It is really a shame that Eddie Murphy has decided that he wants to be the family movie man. He is knee-slappingly funny ("That's the quart of blood technique! You do that, a quart of blood comes out of somebody") and works really well with the ensemble cast.
Well, I'm off to home. I plan to do some powerful magic once I get there. I will stand in front of my bed and it will hit me in the face. Darkness will take me. And I will stray out of thought and time. The stars will wheel overhead and every day will be as long as a life-age of the earth. But it will not be the end. I will feel life in me again. My alarm clock will sound, and I will trudge slowly but assuredly to the shower.
This is pretty funny.