The Omen

The Omen (2006)
20th Century Fox Home Entertainment
Cast: Liev Schrieber, Julia Stiles, Mia Farrow, David Thewlis, Pete Postlethwaite
Extras: Coomentary Track, Featurette, Alternate Scenes, Omenisms, Trailer

I always find it dubious if studios decide to have films remade that were essentially perfect in the first place. I mean where can you go, but down? The flurry of uninspired remakes of the past years has shown on countless occasions that remaking a classic is something to handle with a lot of care. In the case of "The Omen" it feels more like an elephant in a porcelain store.

When his son dies at birth, unbeknown to his wife, ambassador Robert Thorn (Liev Shreiber) allows the hospital to switch the baby with one whose mother died at childbirth. The baby grows into an extraordinary young boy by the name of Damien (Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick) who has a somewhat sinister aura about himself. Soon his mother (Julia Stiles) sees signs that frighten here. She notices that Damien has something in evil in him.
In the meanwhile a priest (Pete Postlethwaite) tries to convince Thorn that Damien is in fact the son of the devil. And as the signs mount and more and more people in Damien's vicinity die in strange accidents, Thorn must face the possibility that he is indeed raising Satan's son.

I am really not sure who thought that remaking "The Omen" would a good idea by any stretch of imagination. The original 1976 film was a classic with a phenomenal cast, a wonderful ominous atmosphere, the best score that was ever written for any movie, and a premise that was new and fresh. How could you possibly top that?
The remake follows the original story point by point, so you have to really ask yourself, what is the purpose of this remake? To then put a project such as this in the hands of a newbie director who has already butchered a classic before with his inept reincarnation of "Flight Of The Phoenix," and you begin to scratch your head. And then to top it all off, to allow anyone to cast someone like Julia Stiles in one of the lead roles, is just plain out embarrassing. Stiles is a kid… a teenager… I mean, Stiles works fine in a Disney movie, sure, but a dramatic role as the wife of an ambassador? And then Mia Farrow as Mrs. Baylock? Give me a break! Farrow is a bit weird, yes, but how could anyone accept this sweet lady as being Satan's little helper? "Lobotomy Galore in Hollywood" is what they should have called this film.

But the embarrassment doesn't end there. "The Omen" has some of the worst lines of dialogue since Ed Wood's "Bride of the Monster." In fact, they are so bad that not even actors like Pete Postlethwaite can deliver them convincingly. And then there are so many production and logic flaws in the film that it will simply drive you out of your mind. The production design is simply horrible, trying too hard to create an ominous atmosphere by using horribly bad looking wall paper. The film never knows whether it wants to settle for a 50s look or a 21st century appearance. And what's up with the changing dog? First he's a Shepherd who then inexplicably turns into a Rottweiler? Why not a poodle? Poodles are scary… Or a Chihuahaua? At least they can talk last time I checked…

As you can tell, the film is a complete and total mess. Absolutely unwatchable and a waste of time and money. Not surprisingly it didn't make any money for the studio either and whoever allowed the director to spend $25 million on this hapless hack job should have to foot the bill out of their own pocket.

Since the movie performed so poorly, it appears 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment didn't take much pride in it either. The DVD version we have in front of us here is easily the worst DVD I have seen in years. Not since "Halloween" in 1998 have I seen so much pixilation in a single movie. There are times in "The Omen" where the entire screen turns into nothing but macro-blocks. The car explosion early in the movie is a prime example, but also throughout the film, any time something moves and shifts in the background, the image will completely break up in those areas. Even during slow camera pans the picture is not able to hold detail and turns into mushy pixel gob. I did not think I would see something like this ever again, but here it is. The rotten tomato of all 21st century DVD transfers.

At least the audio on the DVD is fairly good, though here is a case where I'd have preferred the film to be silent. As pointed out before the dialogues in this film are beyond good and evil. If this were a "Scary Movie" entry I'd laugh my butt off, but here? Brrr…
Then there is the score. I won't even comment on this ludicrous piece of music that underscores the film. If you thought the film was bad, think again. Marco Beltrami did some scores before – nothing to write home about, mind you, but nothing too bad either – but it is clearly evident that he had no grasp on the subject matter here. Going for the ominous low note every single time he tries to create suspense is worn out after about 10 minutes. The score sounds uninspired and never has any counterpoints that would set the dark brooding atmosphere of the material against the light and uninhibited atmosphere of the child. It is all just music for filler's sake without any real substance or depth. Maybe someone should take away Beltrami's synthesizer and ask him to write for real orchestra instead.

The DVD comes with a number of bonus materials but after suffering through the movie I'm not sure how many people will have the stomach to actually go through more of it. I sampled the commentary track by the director and producer real quick but it gave me goosebumps at how oblivious they are to the cardinal mistakes they made.

The extended scenes are pointless as is the unrated alternate ending. Neither add anything to the film or material.

You will also find "Revelation 666" on the disc, a featurette on the film, but the question remains, what for?

In a sense, "The Omen" DVD is perfect. It is perfect at being really, really bad. It marries a horrible film with a horrible DVD transfer, making it the perfect horrible DVD. Do yourself a favor. Skip this disc and get something else for Halloween. This DVD is not worth a penny of your money.