The Omen (2006)
I think this is a new genre that they're all sort of working their way through it and haven't got all the kinks worked out yet but it's a genre that works for me.
One of my all time favorites.
The film's masterful storytelling did its job. The message was clear. No need to overdo.
A terrific literary drama and character piece that shows how the process of creating art can be seen differently by those doing it and those looking at it from the outside.
Very surprised at how a remake of a classic movie could be as good.It ran alongside very well but had enough changes to put it's own stamp on.Obvious not as good as the original but never is any remake.In fact I don't see this as a remake...just an update.Very well directed and think the lead was very much a broody Peck-like character.I think the story is important about the evil over good world state which is becoming more and more evident by week...certainly more now than in the 70's when the original was made. Maybe it was just a wake up call for the young of today. Great extras on the DVD and well worth a watch.
The best part was knowing that nearly everyone was going to die. The filmmakers took the worst aspects of the original film and based their film around them. There are the same existing plot holes from the original (like if it's the end of the world and only the Catholics knew it, why did't they send backup to the one man who has to kill his adopted son?), but none of the great creepiness. One of the most jaw-dropping moments of the original were attempted to be recreated for this film, but unfortunately really just missed the mark. A prime example of this being the suicide of the nanny. That scene was incredibly realistic and powerful in the original, as was the dynamic between mother and nanny. The remake covered it briefly, and while I see what they were trying to do with it, it fell flat. The actors were terrible for the most part, especially the entire Thorn family. I could actually see Liev Schreiber's Robert Thorn being able to kill his child because Schreiber himself cannot portray personality or emotions. Immediately when seeing Julia Stiles I had to frantically reassure myself that she would be the first of the Thorn family to die. Most disappointing was Damien. There is just no way to compete with the equal amounts of innocent and creepiness of the child from the original film, but this little boy did not even come close. The best part was Mia Farrow, and it was obvious that she would be.
I generally detest remakes. I'm sorry, but if it ain't broke don't fix it, or if it was already broken there's no need to smack it around. I enjoyed Richard Donner's 1976 horror classic The Omen though I can't say that I am consumed by it. The movie was a nice little time-killer but hardly a classic. What surprises me about the 2006 remake is that it doesn't make mediocrity out of mediocrity but actually improves on the original material. This is a solid film told with mood and atmosphere and characters, not from a lot of digital effects nick-nacks or that annoying "RUNT!" noise on the soundtrack that makes up most horror films, though it does have one or two.Even with some shortcomings, I have to say I really enjoyed this film because it was true to the original story. It doesn't hammer us with a lot of needless visual effects but allows the situation to come out of real life. The movie begins where The Da Vinci Code fears to tread, with astronomers from the Vatican observing three shooting stars in the sky then interpreting them as a sign that The Son of Satan is born this night. That leads to an interesting but ill-advised lecture in which the signs in the book of Revelation point to the Tsunami in Indonesa, Hurricane Katrina and the attacks of September 11th. Those scenes integrated into an entertainment film took me out of the movie because I think there are other ways to get your point across. But anyway, let's move on.Meanwhile in Rome, a baby is born to an American Ambassador and then dies. A doctor quietly informs the father Robert Thorn (Liev Schreiber) that he can have the son of an unwed mother and that his wife need not know about it (I was waiting for the mother to try and figure out who the kid resembles but it never comes up). Our first clue as to Damien's troubles begin when his nanny hangs herself during his birthday party. It is a disturbing moment that, even in a remake, still works.Ominus signs bubble-up that suggest that Damien is not quite right. He's never sick, kids don't play with him, a snarling drooling rotweiler is always lurking about, zoo animals become violent in his presence, he nearly pulls his mother's hair out on his way to church and, oh yes, there's that business of his mother on the stairway balcony. It gets worse with the typical scenes of nervous priests babbling about books of the bible while trying to convince Thorn that "Your Son Must Die!!" His reaction is pretty much as a father would react, tell the nervous priest to take a hike until the bodies start stacking up then maybe consider hearing him out.After it becomes clear to Robert that his son is not quite human there is a long road trip in which he and a good-natured tabloid photographer named Jennings played by David Thewlis (who played Lupin in the third Harry Potter film) travel back to Rome to solve the mystery. The photographer is along to keep Robert on track because he's noticed that his photographs seem to portend death. A white line across his neck in one photo shows the he will die soon as well and anyone who has seen the original already knows his infamous fate.Those scenes in Rome are some of the best looking in the film, using reds and browns and light and shadow to suggest an eerie presence that is constantly shadowing them. There is a tense, very quiet scene that had me leaning forward with fascination, as Thorn and the photographer visit a half-dead priest (who could take skin-care tips from Emperor Palpatine) and ask for information. The man barely communicates but the scene proceeds almost in chilling whispers.A film like this needs an anchor and like Linda Blair who played the center of The Exorcist while still maintaining a supporting role this one includes a chillingly effective performance by little Seamus Fitzpatrick who doesn't mug but simply observes, squints, grins and looks up at his grown-up parents. He has exactly two words of dialog and for my taste that's probably more than the movie needs. His screen time gets smaller and smaller as the films progresses but what he leaves us with in the early scenes is chillingly effective.The most valuable thing that The Omen has to offer is that it isn't a splatter movie with a lot of dumbed-down scenes with things jumping out of the sides of the screen, the movie considers the situations and is more interested in displaying a tone, a mood that comes naturally from the story. There are long passages in the film with little to no dialog and when there is an action scene it's brief and to the point. I mentioned The Exorcist and this film reminds me of some of the qualities I valued from that film.There is a realistic setting with an unrealistic motivation at it's core and having grounded us in a narrative that we are familiar with, that makes the shocks resonate more. There are many deaths in this movie but the movie works it's way toward them. There are the usual impalings, be-headings, shootings, burnings but it's not used as splatter porn but as a means of reminding us what we're dealing with here.Thirty years after the original Omen, this movie stands on his it's own. It's almost shot for shot but it avoids the copy-cat catastrophe of that awful Psycho remake. Not much is tinkered with in the story department but I think the filmmakers have given us a better and scarier experience.
Virtual scene-for-scene remake of the 1976 Omen film with the 21st century music video gloss that passes for cinematography now. That this was made by the same director who would later do the awful Max Payne and A Good Day to Die Hard should come as no surprise. John Moore is a director more focused on making a film look good than actually be good.Did The Omen need to be remade? Of course not but such is the nature of the business. Before I start going on a diatribe about that, I'd better get back to this film and what's good or bad about it. What's good: some nicely staged scenes, but nothing particularly creative or original. For a director so obsessed with visuals, Moore offers little to improve upon the original's film's creative death set pieces. He just copies them. How creatively bankrupt is this man? As for the bad: the movie is plodding, unoriginal, often boring with no suspense or scares worth mentioning. Will viewers unfamiliar with the original film feel the same way? I think so unless these viewers are just generally unfamiliar with movies altogether. The cast is nothing to write home about. Julia Stiles tries and Liev Schrieber is dull as mud. Mia Farrow does fine with a performance that, judging by some of the praise I've seen, is a tad overrated.Overall, it's yet another misfire remake of a superior film. Do yourself a favor and see the original instead. If you already have seen the original, watch something else. Something new or something old you haven't seen before. Just not another crappy horror remake.