Friday, October 12, 2012

Movie Review: The Omen III: The Final Conflict

 Of the three original Omen films, this was by far the weakest.  The weakness of the film is entirely due to how it was written.  The special effects were on par with other films of the time, and the acting was as good as it could get, with Sam Neil playing Damien Thorn as the fully aware and empowered Antichrist.  The plot simply tried to engage in too much, glossing over several key points that could have been explored more deeply.  In my opinion, there should have been four Omen films, with the third showing Damien's rise to power and setting the final conflict in motion, and the forth being fully about Damien's race to stop the Second Coming, failing in the end in a far more dramatic fashion than the anti-climatic and rushed ending of this film.  The made-for-TV Omen IV is a true waste of film.
 There are several things going on throughout the Omen III.  Damien Thorn is manipulating his corporate and political ties to become both Ambassador to Great Brittan and the head of the US Youth Council.  Damien is using the youth of the world as his personal Army, and idea that was touched upon but not really developed.  The film should have explained why Damien was interested in the youth of the world, and why the young were susceptible to his influence.  A sect within the Catholic Church has recovered the seven Daggers of Meggido, the only weapons which can kill Damien.  Seven members of the sect are given the task of assassinating Damien, which is technically a continuity error.  Originally, Damien could only be destroyed using all seven blades; the first would kill the body and the other six would be needed to destroy the soul.  The alignment of stars in the Cassiopeia Constellation forms a "superstar" akin to the Biblical Star of Bethlehem.  This alignment heralds the birth of the new Christ on March 24th, and Damien has interpreted and obscure religious reference to the Second Coming to indicate that the birth will occur in England.  Damien uses his influence in British Society and his demonic powers to execute all male children born on March 24th in Britain, but still fails to kill the Christ-Child.  Damien also takes as a lover the reporter Kate Reynolds and recruits her son as a disciple.  In the end, Reynolds bids for her son in exchange for her help in locating the Christ-Child, struggling with her interest in Damien while becoming aware of who and what he is.

 This is a lot to pack into a two-hour film.
In Damien We Trust.

  While I understand that it may have been necessary to set up their gruesome deaths, I find it odd that the Church would send untrained priests to attempt to assassinate the Antichrist.  You might as well have sent in the Keystone Cops.  First, the resources of the Catholic Church could have purchased far better assassins, and the film could have depicted Damien confidentially recovering each of the daggers himself after each kill.  Second, shouldn't these priests have known that their attempts would fail, as their own Bible predicts the rise, reign, and fall of the Antichrist? 

 Also, it was established in the first two films that Damien already had a network of devoted followers, even before he fully accepted his fate.  These disciples have proven to be absolutely devoted to Damien, willfully killing themselves to demonstrate their faith.  Yet, Damien's closest lieutenant, Dean, appears to doubt his own role, the validity of Damien's claims, and is clearly no where close to the level of loyalty expressed by Damien's other followers.  You would think that the Antichrist, with a massive network of fanatical devotees, massive wealth, and international corporation, the ear of the political elite, as well as his own demonic faculties, would be a bit more discerning in selecting his majordomo.

The sex was a little rough, but she was into it.

 The end of the film was a real let-down, even after what had been a milk-toast film.  Damien's death is almost meaningless, with his final statements being to a ghostly image of Jesus in the light of the rising sun that only he actually sees.  The film rolls into text on screen celebrating the Second Coming.  It leaves you wondering if you had just seen a horror-film or a church-sponsored morality play.  Honestly, The Omega Code films were probably better End-Times/Antichrist flics.

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