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PCR # 324  (Vol. 7, No. 23)  This edition is for the week of June 5--11, 2006.

This Week's PCR
Movie Review
"The Omen"

Movie review by:
Michael A. Smith
Two and a half stars

Movies are rated 0 to 4 stars

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Batwoman Returns as a Lesbian  by Nolan B. Canova
Sex, Lies, and Constitutional Amendments  by Lisa Zubek
"The Omen"  by Mike Smith
Gas Prices Affecting Movies  by Mark Terry
"The Da Vinci Code"....Manatees Off The Endangered List  by John Lewis
Matthew Has Left The Building....Billy and Vince Have Just Left....Don't Drink and Drive....My Favorite Films -- Part 23: "Grease"  by Mike Smith
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20th Century Fox     
Starring: Liev Schreiber, Julia Stiles, Pete Postlethwaite, David Thewlis and Mia Farrow
Directed by: John Moore
Rated: R
Running Time: 1 hour 50 mins

I can almost imagine the pitch. A young movie executive is sitting in his bosses office and notices that soon it will be June 6, 2006. Hmmmmmmm, 6 6 6. Suddenly it hits him: "Boss," he says, "it's time to remake "The Omen." And remake is the main word here. Not since Gus Van Sandt crafted his "homage" to the original "Psycho" has a film been so much a carbon copy of another. David Seltzer, who wrote the original novel, is credited for the screenplay here. He also did the script for the superior 1976 version and, with the exception of a prologue that links such world events as 9/11 and the space shuttle tragedies, it looks like he just handed the studio an old copy of the original. Too bad he couldn't bring back the original film makers and cast.

For those of you unfamiliar with the story, at 6 am on June 6 a baby child is born and given to U S diplomat Robert Thorn (Schreiber) to raise as his own. Thorn takes the child because he is told that his wife, Kate (Stiles) has just lost HER child during birth and the mother of the baby he is accepting died as well. Wow, quite a coincidence don't you think? Fast forward a few years later and Thorn, who we are told is also the godson of the President, is now the US Ambassador to Great Britain. Damien is now celebrating his 5th birthday with a splendid party. Look, there are clowns and rides and Damien's nanny on the roof with a rope around her neck. "It's all for you," she yells before jumping to her death. Of course, now Damien needs a new nanny, who shows up in the form of Mrs. Baylock (Farrow, looking as beautiful as ever at age 61). Needless to say, more strange deaths occur until finally it hits Thorn that maybe he got the wrong end of the baby deal.

It's always hard to remake a film, especially one as popular and acclaimed as "The Omen." Directed by Richard Donner (who would go on to do "Superman the Movie" and the "Lethal Weapon" series) and starring Gregory Peck and Lee Remick, the original movie is still regarded as a horror classic thirty years later. And while I think Liev Schreiber is one of the best young actors working, it is his youth that works against him here. A few years ago, Schreiber tackled a role originally played by the great Laurence Harvey in the remake of "The Manchurian Candidate" and to see him now take a part so identified with Gregory Peck almost works against him going in. Thewlis is fine as the photographer who helps Thorn and Farrow, who almost 40 years ago gave birth to Satan's son in "Rosemary's Baby," chews the scenery as the anti-Mary Poppins. Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick, who plays the little devil, is more annoying then scary. He has one expression, which is to open his eyes as wide as possible, making him look more like a Jim Henson experiment gone bad then evil. Fans of the original film should look for the original Damien, Harvey Stephens, in a cameo role as a reporter.

I'm sure the film makers went into the project with good intentions, but sadly they missed their mark. On the plus side, the second half of the film, devoid of the cheap thrills and subliminal images that fill the first half, moves along smoothly, earning the entire project an extra half star! On a scale of zero to four stars, I give "The Omen"  Two and a half stars

This week's movie review of "The Omen" is ©2006 by Michael A. Smith.  All graphics this page are creations of Nolan B. Canova, ©2006, all rights reserved. All contents of "Nolan's Pop Culture Review" are ©2006 by Nolan B. Canova.