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The Omen (DVD, 2006, Widescreen)
(7 Epinions reviews)
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Let him that hath understanding count the number of the beast...THE OMEN
Jun 29, 2009
Review by Mark Vaughan
Rated a Very Helpful Review
Pros:Well done remake. Did not fall into run away special effects. Mia Farrow.
Cons:It is an unnecessary remake, lacking some of the horror of the original.
The Bottom Line: This tries to improve on the original, but only succeeds in one or two spots.
The Omen (06/06/06) Directed by John Moore
Recommend this product?
"When the Jews return to Zion, and a comet fills the sky, and the Holy Roman Empire rises, then you and I must die. From the eternal sea he rises, creating armies on either shore, turning man against his brother, until man exists no more." Father Brennan
When Robert Thorn's (Leiv Schreiber) son is still born, and it looks as though the birth will preclude further pregnancies, the bereft father follows a priest's advice and allows a swap to be made; another baby was born in the same moment, and it's mother died. To protect his wife Katherine (Julia Stiles) Robert accepts the little cuckoo into their family.
Things go well for them; Robert is appointed the deputy ambassador to Great Britain; and when a freak accident involving a runaway gasoline truck kills his boss, he steps in to take his place.
But things also go poorly for the family; at Damien's (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) sixth birthday, his nanny (Amy Huck) gives him the present that keeps on giving...her public suicide by hanging, dedicated to him. This opens the way for a new nanny, Mrs. Baylock (Mia Farrow).
She is devoted to young Damien, but far from being a relief, it becomes something of a burden...she meddles. Like when the family prepares for their first church service... (at six! I wasn't six days old!) Mrs. Baylock does not think Damien is well enough. Certainly his panicked attack of his mother in the car on the way does lend credence to the theory... And she adopts a hellhound as Damien's pet...
Robert receives some warnings as well; Father Brennan (Pete Postlethwaite) is a priest bent on delivering pronouncements of doom, and instructions on the proper manner to kill his son.
But the things that really catch their attention are the little things; other children won't play with him, wild animals are scared of him, he is never ill. These things build up.
But when Father Brennan warns the Ambassador that Damien will try to kill his wife, and their (unknown) unborn child, and then Katherine is knocked off the high balcony to fall three stories by Damien riding his scooter, well, now Thorn is willing to listen.
Of course, the Father's tragic freak accident makes him a little unavailable, but a photographer named Keith Jennings (David Thewlis) has evidence, if not knowledge...his photographs seem to predict the deaths of the people in Damien's life; a shadowy rope appears around the nanny's neck, Father Brennan is menaced by a blur that moves ever closer to his body.
A bit of detective work ensues, with Thorn playing reluctant Watson to Jennings' Holmes. And these two men are on their way to thwarting prophesies written at the dawn of time. Or not.
This is a very faithful remake of the 1976 classic starring Gregory Peck. In fact, it is so faithful, that I wonder why it was made at all; it seems to have been created merely to take advantage of the date of its release, 06/06/06. Of course, Gregory Peck is an outstanding actor. Yet I have to say that Leiv brings a certain hard edge that was missing from the former Ambassador Thorn. While Peck was busy being horrified and stumbling in disbelief, Schreiber absorbs the horror, and moves on to the next logical step, no matter the pain it brings him.
Another jewel of the production is Mia Farrow as the Devil's Mrs. Doubtfire. Having gone from the mother of the Antichrist, to his protector, Farrow is at her most terrifying when she is acting the sweetest. Her gentle facade conceals a core of iron hard crazy that makes her terrifying.
So many remakes are just an excuse to use modern Special Effects; The Day the Earth Stood Still, War of the Worlds. They do not necessarily improve on matters, except technically. This resists that urge. It's true to the original but falls short of it. It just lacks that Theological terror.
This review, my 666th, is Lean-N-Mean at 666 words exactly.
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