Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Film: The Omen (2006)

This remake wasn't necessary, given how close to the original it was. Many have suggested that if you can't improve on the original, don't bother making a new one. Director John Moore really didn't bring anything new to the film, although I wondered if he was going to with references to 9/11, the ill-fated Space Shuttle Columbia, and the European Union. Had Moore taken some liberties with the film, I wouldn't have watched the film as if someone was retelling an old but familiar story to me. The opportunity to inject imagination into the story has been lost.

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Having said that, this isn't a bad film at all. It starts out at a Vatican observatory where a new comet is discovered. The comet appears to be the final sign that fulfills Biblical prophesy about the emergence of the antichrist. The Pope and his council are told that they are truly now at the edge of Armageddon. The same day, Katherine Thorn, wife of a senior US diplomat, is in labour. Her husband anxiously awaits news, with the two of them having lost two children in birth already...

Julia Styles in real life, is approximately 14 years younger than her character's husband, Robert Thorn, played by Liev Schreiber. Schreiber seems to play cool, restrained characters with little emotion who are not easily rattled. Here, Robert Thorn ends up shedding tears, but doesn't do so with much rage.

Mia Farrow was very good as the creepy and anxious nanny Baylock, protector of Damian, with a dead look in her eyes. David Thewlis was also good as the photographer and relentless investigator. Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, who played Damian Thorn, the child fathered by you-know-who, was very unsettling. His silence was disturbing. Pete Postlewaite played Father Brennan, a wayward priest seeking redemption in Jesus, who was there in the hospital the night Damian was born. He knows everything about the child! Postlewaite played the role with a suitable amount of paranoia and urgency.

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There was plenty of suspense and intrigue in the remake. If you haven't seen the original and simply have a basic understanding of the story, you stand to jump out of your skin in a few scenes. One of the scariest scenes for me was the trip to the zoo, when the monkeys shy away from Damian while a massive age reacts quite a bit differently. I wonder if they will remake the two sequels. For now, fans of the series will simply see this film as a squandered chance to inject life into a true horror classic story.

My rating for The Omen (2006) is 3.5/5 and it rates this well more for the story than for the new interpretation of the classic story.

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