The Omen DVD Review
PictureConsidering the 70's origins, this is clearly not going to match the pin sharp presentation of more modern fare. Still, despite the grain and oddly colourless picture (and the erroneously labels 1.85:1 picture ration given on the back of the DVD case), there is a documentary feel to The Omen that adds credence to the movies content. The Zoo scenes almost look like a very old David Attenborough narration with frenzied baboons and skitterish giraffe. Even so, there is no doubting that this release is a poor one in terms of picture quality, especially now that other releases of the time have been successfully restored.
SoundNo discrete sound channels, here, so ProLogic II, CMSS or better yet Logic7 is about as good as you are going to get. Saying that, no amount of post processing can remove a rather thin sounding soundscape that, in an effort to add clarity, tends to overstate higher frequencies. There is also a fur about the sound that sometimes blurs the sound presentation, especially the score. This is a real shame because, as I mentioned above, the choral composition is one of the best. At that time, this Gregorian chant type composition was quite rare and so the impact the score had was considerable. As it stands in a modern context, the score is still one of the better ones out there and is considerably better than other similar scores such as William's Phantom Menace.
ExtrasRichard Donner provides a director's commentary full of fond memories and useful information. Stuart Baird's sometimes insipid comments are still welcome with the two chatting to each other in a reassuringly candid manner. This is certainly one of the better commentaries and really does add to the movie.
666: The omen revealed is a good documentary with useful contributions from most of the major players. As is the case, movies from the before the 90's are far more interesting than the bland techniques used in CGI-fests like Sin City or Jurassic Park. Innovation born from need to present the unnatural in a natural fashion, 666... has a bucket load of insights into how the movie was made. You'll not find any boring monologue from some workstation operator, here. Instead there are great anecdotes of vetenary fuelled baboon assaults on the actors, fornicating Rottweilers and a truly remarkable breakdown of an equally remarkable scene where Lee Remick falls from a balcony (the build up to which Kubric “borrowed” for The Shining).
As the score is such an important part of The Omen, it is only fair that a documentary should be dedicated to it. Goldsmith gives generously from his considerable scoring experience (over 320 scores, by all accounts, more than John Williams, James Horner or any other composer that I could find) and you get the impression that he enjoyed the experience. There is even a respect of John William's iconic Jaws theme which was used as the basis for one scene.
VerdictA fantastic movie, and a more than average disc regarding extras, The Omen is one of the old Horror Classics.
Suggested retail price when reviewed: £19.99
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