Everything starts off on the right foot...
Too much of this movie looks like a music video.
John Moore's new version of The Omen is a capably told tale, it just suffers from too much stylization. Therefore, scenes that are supposed to be scary really do not come off that way, because too much of the film looks like a music video. This tale of a couple who take in a baby of unknown origins, and then it turns out that he is the spawn of satan, is treated with nothing but the utmost seriousness here. Liev Schreiber does credible work as Robert Thorn, the U.S. Ambassador who would like to think that there is nothing wrong with his child. Julia Stiles is certainly there as Katherine Thorn, but one gets the feeling that she took this role simply because the money is better than in the indy films she likes to do. Lastly, the older Damien is played by Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick in such a way that it seems like he is being directed off screen in a lot of his scenes. In fact, I recall very few moments in the movie where he says more than a few words.
If you are a fan of gothic styled horror movies, mixed with music video-like visuals, than I am sure you will be a big fan of The Omen. For my money, one viewing of this film was enough.
Truthfully, there aren't that many of these. The first thing I checked out was the Alternative Ending which (I don't think I'm giving anything away by saying) isn't that much different than the one that made it into the film. The different ending is only different in that it's a bit more sensational than the final one. These are worth checking out, especially if you liked the decapitation sequence.
A somewhat eery look with director John Moore at some of the problems that plagued this film. It seems that a bunch of the footage that was shot one night was all destroyed. They actually use that footage to good effect by showing it as Moore talks over it. This stuff is also interspersed with this movie's eventual release. I have to say that out of all the featurettes on this disc this one seemed the most genuine and original. Definitely worth a look...
Abby Road Sessions
I found it ironic that this portion of the DVD looks at the soundtrack from this movie, yet the audio during the interviews is poorly done. We see John Moore and the composer working on the music, and we even get a glimpse of how the pieces are broken down not just scene by scene, but character by character.
At first I thought that this might be a mock-documentary simply because you never can tell what tricks they are going to try and play these days. Well, to the best of my knowledge this featurette, which looks at what that number has meant throughout history, is the real deal. As I am someone who just tends to stay away from all that stuff about "devil worship," I just kind of jumped around in this featurette.
Director John Moore, producer Glenn Williamson and editor Dan Zimmerman are on hand for this audio look at this movie. At first it seems like these guys are going to be about as much fun as a root canal. However, as the commentary continues these guys talk about the controversy of trying to change the Fox logo (it seems like everyone wants to do that), the various shots within the movie (they praise the second unit), shooting in Rome for a night, and pretty much everything else you could want to know about how this production came together.
Widescreen - While I might take issue with how much imagery this movie employs, make no mistake about it The Omen looks great. The images are lush and richly detailed with many contrasts in the colors, as well as all all the colors standing out no matter which one is more dominant on screen. Fox may have just sent us a burned DVD, but this movie has a visual quality that seems like it's going to hold up for awhile.
Dolby Digital - I can see this movie getting a multi-formatted release in Blu-ray and HD-DVD mainly because of the image and sound quality. While I think the operatic, religious overtones that a lot of this music has gets a bit long in the tooth, it certainly has it's place within the gothic realm of this movie. While I think the music and images are meant to have a certain effect, I wish this production had employed more originality.
Fox didn't send us the packaging for this movie so I really can't discuss it. Based on some images I have seen, they utilized Photoshop and made Damien look particularly evil, employed the use of 666, and also took some more images from the film. Sadly, that is all that I can say about the packaging for this title.
I had really expected to this movie to grab me more than it did. I can't really say that there was ever a moment where I was scared, or that I didn't know precisely what would happen next. Having never seen the original film, I am not sure that this bodes well for the current incarnation of The Omen. While I thought that some of effects were solid, and that David Thewlis did a credible job with his minor role of Keith Jennings, there is something disconnected about this movie to put the ideas of fear across.
Make no mistake about it, this movie looks really well made and it's apparent that John Moore, the director, was going for something. I just don't think that he ultimately achieved the connection that a horror movie like The Omen needs to have in order to work.
The Omen was released June 6, 2006.