Saturday, January 31, 2009

Natas Jr.: a review of Omen 3:The Final Conflict (and an attempt at formatting)

Omen III: The Final Conflict (1981)
This review is based on the “edited for TV,” pan & scan version shown on AMC in January 2009, so maybe some things got cut out of The Final Conflict (I’m sure all the gore), but what is left is so bad that it’s highly doubtful that if unedited, the flick would be any good anyway.

So here goes:

While The Omen and Damien: Omen 2 were not necessarily great intellectual achievements, they were exciting, with their bleak worldview (Satan’s winning! Yay!) and formula for mayhem: disposable character discovers odd fact about Damien, Satanic forces represented by Jerry Goldsmith’s deliciously Lucifer-riffic music conspire against the sucker in a very complicated and convoluted way, then bait & switch: it looks like the poor sap’s gonna get killed by one thing, but no, they’re saved! Aannnnnnnd—splat! They get killed by something else, in a very gory way. (This is essentially the same formula the Final Destination series has used to commercial success, and I love this formula.)

[BTW, David Seltzer, screenwriter of The Omen, was the screenwriter and ghost-writer, respectively, of two of my favorites movies: The Hellstrom Chronicle and Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. I see a certain worldview here, do you?]

The first of the many problems The Omen 3: The Final Conflict has is that there are not enough killings! In the first two movies, you just looked at Damien wrong, and it was goodbye.

Here, Catholic monks are obviously conspiring against the Anti-Christ, and nothing happens. The big problem is that the flick is too British in temperament, too restrained, perhaps too polite. The third entry in a franchise that prides itself in gruesome killings is not the time to develop manners---it’s the time to go completely ape!

By the way, in the first film, Damien’s birthday is June 6, 1966; yet this movie takes place in 1981 or ’82, with a very adult Sam Neill as Satan Jr. Huh?

And this movie had probably got THE worst, most sickly sweet and sanctimonious ending I’ve seen in a while. I wanted to throw something at my TV!

There is one bright light (and for this, we may perhaps be able to thank the Brits): Sam Neill’s blasphemous monologs and sermons. Some Scandinavian death-metal band really needs to sample Neill’s speeches for a song: Here, the writing and performing become stellar, real top notch quasi-Shakespearian British thespian stuff, and while this movie stinks, it is worth it just to fast-forward to these intense and delightfully evil scenes. It’s for great moments like this that I wade through so much crud.

Best parts: Some of Sam Neill/grown-up Damien’s awesome monologs—kids, memorize these and then FREAK OUT!

“Oh my Father, Lord of Silence, Supreme God of Desolation, though mankind reviles yet aches to embrace, strengthen my purpose to save the world from a second ordeal of Jesus Christ and his grubby mundane creed. Show man instead the raptures of Thy kingdom. Infuse in him the grandeur of melancholy, the divinity of loneliness, the purity of evil, the paradise of pain.”

“Suffer the little children to come unto me. Your words, Nazarene. Not mine.”

“Nazarene, charlatan, what can you offer humanity? Since the hour you vomited forth from the gaping wound of a woman, you have done nothing but drown man's soaring desires in a deluge of sanctimonious morality. You've inflamed the pubertal mind of youth with your repellent dogma of original sin. And now you absolve in denying them the ultimate joy beyond death by destroying me? But you will fail, Nazarene, as you have always failed. We were both created in man's image, but while you were born of an impotent god, I was conceived of a jackal. Born of Satan, the desolate one. Your pain on the cross was but a splinter compared to the agony of my father. Cast out of heaven, the fallen angel, banished, reviled. I will drive deeper the thorns into your rancid carcass, you profaner of vices. Cursed Nazarene. Satan, I will avenge thy torment, by destroying the Christ forever.”

[Interestingly, Omen 3 screenwriter Andrew Birkin (brother of sexy Jane Birkin and uncle of Charlotte Gainsbourg) wrote the films The Name of the Rose (1986), The Cement Garden (and directed; 1993), The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999) and Perfume: The Story of a Murderer (2006).]

Sexy Svetlana, the siren of Stalingrad sez, "Satan's swell!"

[Whew! Now I just have to learn how to italicize or bold text, adding Mp3 files, and URLs. No problem: Duck soup!

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