A temporary home and repository for television and film critic Daniel Fienberg, formerly of HitFix.com and Zap2it.com and one half of The Firewall & Iceberg Podcast.
Friday, June 09, 2006
MovieWatch: "The Omen" (2006)
Director: John Moore
Fien Print Rating (Out of 100): 46
In a Nutshell: Here's a confession: I kinda liked Gus Van Sant's "Psycho" as a post-modern exercise. I loved that he told everybody that he was going to do a shot-for-shot remake and then he proceeded to make 10 or 20 little changes in camera angles or he inserted a picture of a cow or the sound effect of Vince Vaughn jerkin' the gerkin and waited patiently for each and every reviewer in the country to list those little changes as the reason why the movie stunk. It all felt like a mind-game from a smart-aleck art school student which -- let's get real -- it kinda was. Now I don't want to imply that Gus Van Sant is smarter than John Moore, but I have reason to suspect that Gus Van Sant is very probably smarter than John Moore and he's certainly a better filmmaker. Thus, I'm not quite willing to give his remake the same benefit of the intellectual doubt, particularly in the scenes where it's lifted shot-for-shot from Richard Donner's far superior film. Just as part of the criticism of the fake "Psycho" was that Vince Vaughn and Anne Heche couldn't measure up to Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh (though I kinda like both new performances, not in comparison to the originals, but just a bit in general), it's obvious that Liev Schreiber and Julia Stiles aren't in any way equals to Gregory Peck and Lee Remick. That's true. No question. And it hurts the movie. As does the fact that Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick's Damien is more cute and funny than menacing. However, David Thewlis, as ill-fated photographer Keith Jennings, is better than David Warner, if you ask me. And while I recall Billie Whitelaw's Mrs. Baylock fondly, I prefer Mia Farrow in the new one, thanks in large part to the "Rosemary's Baby" ties. That being said, Moore and 20th Century Fox had no reason whatsoever to make this remake beyond just the 06/06/06 release date. The couple flickering 9/11 and Asian Tsunami images are exploitative rather than illuminating. So the movie just feel tedious and labored.
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early in the movie, that montage of mother and son bonding over feedings, playtime, &c., really should've been over-layed with some creepy high notes on the piano tinkling and ominous tympani. in fact, one of my main complaints about the movie, in addition to the ones you ennumerate, would be the woefully mis-scored first half to two-thirds of the film. the right music could've off-set the cuteness of the kid -- kinda like conan o'brien's recurring "evil puppy" gag. instead of being scored as a campy re-make, someone decided to take a page out of hallmark's guide to reduxing the classics.ReplyDelete
I deleted the duplication of your comment, but I totally agree that there were oodles of ways that the movie could have been better...