The last time Judge Brett Cullum watched a nanny fly out a window, she had an umbrella and a really nice singing voice.
Damien: Did I scare you, Mommy? I didn't mean to.
As far as remakes go, you can lump the 2006 version of The Omen with the "it's not all that bad" camp. Nothing much new is added to the material save for recent events for the apocalyptic signs. The story is untouched with no new twists. If you're familiar with the original there is not much reinvention to dazzle you, but in a way that's fine. The Omen (2006) is akin to a stylishly produced cover song, perhaps a radio-friendly band redoing a Rolling Stones classic such as "Sympathy for the Devil." You appreciate the effort, and may listen to it a time or two. Still, the real deal will always be the original. Richard Donner doesn't have to worry much; his vision will be the one people remember decades later. Nobody is going to convince me that The Omen needed or demanded a remake. The 1976 masterpiece holds up as a ruthlessly taut mystery where the Antichrist might have already been born among us. Director and producer John Moore (Behind Enemy Lines) decided a reimagining was in order, and a savvy studio saw the potential of releasing a devilish tale on June 6, 2006. Entire ad campaigns were built around "06-06-06," and a remake was born from an advertising jackal somewhere on Madison Avenue. We all know the inevitable answer that The Omen (2006) will never live up to its source material. You could never match the acting, the Oscar winning score, or the gruesome deaths that seemed shocking thirty years ago. Does the son of the devil still have some potential to scare us now that the Satanic millennium has passed and not much happened?
If you've been sealed in a tomb since 1975, here's the popular story in a nutshell. In Rome, a diplomat is told his newborn son has died, but a sympathetic priest offers him a replacement child with the caveat he tell not a soul about the switch (even the mother). The desperate father agrees to the terms, and raises the boy as his own. The name given to the baby is Damien Thorn. As the mysterious offspring nears his sixth birthday, mounting strange occurrences begin to worry his family. Before you can say "spooky evil son of Satan," nannies are flying out windows at birthday parties, animals are freaking out in the child's presence, and the kid won't go near a church. A photographer and a priest hold to the theory Damien is the Antichrist, the son of the devil. Could this be true? Is he marked with the sign of the beast? And can anything be done to stop the unholy terror now that the apocalypse is only years away?
There are things to admire in this new version; in the spirit of the Satanic
numbers, here are six good things about The Omen (2006):
Now for six bad things about this film:
And finally, six things you should know about the DVD:
The beauty of any remake is that the original will always be there. The Omen (2006) has its fair shares of ups and downs, and it suffers when compared to what came before it. Yet how could it not? The 1976 masterpiece was so accomplished that anything would pale in its long shadow. Check this one out for the gorgeous visuals, tripped out fantasy scenes, and a chance to see Mia Farrow become the nanny from hell (probably a long-standing fantasy of hers since Woody walked off with one of their adopted wards). Too bad the film has none of the soul of the original, but something tells me Satan isn't a fan of remakes. Damien has already walked the earth once, and his second coming is not terribly impressive. The Omen (2006) will be banished to rental hell where it belongs, while the original should be purchased immediately if it's missing from your shelf. Hell would be having only this neutered cover version.
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Scales of Justice
• Featurette -- "Omenisms"
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