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Remake Vs Original – The Omen

By: Justin Hopkins

Hello and welcome back to the next installment of a little series that I have totally slacked off on keeping up with. The premise is pretty simple, I take an original and its remake. Run through the pros and cons of each and pick the one I feel is better and why. All without the pesky nostalgia getting in my way. This time around, is one of my favorites, The Omen. In my opinion, The Omen is the best demonic themed movies of all time. Above even The Exorcist. The story, acting, and the building tension throughout was just masterful. With all that, how could the remake stand a chance. Lets take a look and see which one walks away the victor.

THE OMEN 1978

Starting things off with the original, from 1978. Movie starting with a Father, Robert Thorn, rushing to the hospital to be with his wife, who is in labor with their first baby. Only to find out, the baby did not survive, but there was another birth, one in which the mother did not survive, and he agrees to play it off to his wife, as if the boy is there. We get a nice little montage of how loving the family is and the fortunes Robert receives in the form of a promotion to Ambassador. Then, strange things begin to happen. The nanny committing suicide, calling out that it was all for Damien. The animals going crazed at the sight of him. Along with threatening visits from a priest warning him that his pregnant wife was going to die, if he does not kill his son. He ignores it, until she is hospitalized following Damien knocking her from a ladder. A fall that puts her in the hospital, and the unborn baby dies. Along with the aide of a reporter who fells he is next to die, Roberts starts to chase down leads as to where Damien came from, and whether or not, he is in fact The Anti Christ.

The pros of this are numerous. Gregory Peck was the leader of an all-star cast. He took you on an emotional roller coaster throughout. His struggle to keep his family whole reverberated throughout. Denying everything he was seeing. Wanting so much to chalk it up to coincidence, and the last bit of hope disappearing when he found the 6’s on Damien’s head was soul crushing. Knowing what he had to do.  Lee Remick, David Warner all magnificent. Harvey Stephens though, was a terrifying blend of chilling and the sweetest little kid. Even though we see everything and know he is. He gets you to question yourself. Especially, when it was done to the finale, and he is begging his Dad to not stab him. All good stuff. The music and sounds were excellent, and the prosthetic were amazing. The deaths scenes were on a whole other level. The Father getting pierced seamlessly with the lightning rod, and then the reporter getting his head lobbed off, and the camera staying on his head for that extra long moment was brilliant.

The negatives, at times this movie can be really slow. To many zoom in shots that take so long to get anything else to happen. They are being swarmed by dogs and wait way to long to have the dogs attack. Then during the climax, stopped to zoom in on Robert’s face. They are small things but break up the pacing on the movie, and stop the momentum in times where they need to keep it going. Final Grade= S

   The Omen 2006

This synopsis for this will be a lot easier. Since large chunks of this was ripped straight from the original. Entire conversations even. So, take everything from the top and drop it her, with some big additions. They focused more on the mother, played by the talented Julia Stiles. Once she starts have questions over Damien, he begins to psychologically torture her. Having haunting dreams of her death. To the point she is disgusted by him completely. Made her death feel that much more powerful because we invested more time with her. The line, his mother was a Jackal was actually said, so it made more sense to see the canine corpse in the grave. The climax followed at a steady pace, especially when he found the sixes. Blowing through the nanny like a man on a mission. Which was the better way to go. David Thewlis blew it away as the reporter. Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick was terrifying as Damien. While the original wanted to leave it up in the air on whether he was the Anti-Christ or not. They leaned into it here. Him staring down the guard. Keeping him in place was tremendous. Taking over the Robert Thorn role though, was Liev Schreiber, who may have been filling in for the great Gregory Peck, but pulled it off. Able to take you on the same roller coaster of a ride, and in some cases, did it better. Due to Liev having more intensity in his eyes.

My negatives, only one, but it was a damning one. This was the same movie. They added some stuff and what they added was good, but you gave us the same thing. The acting was solid and death scenes were made a little more brutal, was a solid remake, but can only give so much credit when they didn’t do nearly enough to make it their own. Remakes need to keep the spirit of the original and give us a new spin to make it their own. This one did not do that. Final Grade B Plus

Winner – The Original

This was a lot closer then one may think. The remake did a lot of things better then the original did. The montage of life growing up with Damien through baby videos, the dog scene at the grave yard. Katherine having screen time gave her death at the hospital more weight and was done better. With Mrs. Baylock shooting an air bubble into the tube, and Damien flexing a bit of power to keep the guard at bay. The pacing was fluid and Julia Stiles and Liev Schreiber were easily on par with their counterparts and better at times. Their inability to make this their own though is why I had to give it to the 78 one. It is worth watching though, if you haven’t seen it. Would strongly suggest it to anyone who passed on it.

Thank you for reading.

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