Saturday, March 2, 2013

Taliesin Meets: Omen III: The Final Conflict

In 1981 a third Omen film was directed by Graham Baker and starred the marvellous Sam Neill as Damien. Now, as a kid I enjoyed this film and it has been an awfully long time but… God it has suffered due to my growth into a more critical individual.

It seems that in 1981 scriptwriters lost all sense of calendar, both in terms of a series of films and within the film itself. What do I mean? Well, let us get to the beginning of the film.

The film starts with some sort of tunnel being dug. It seems this is under the ruins of the Thorn museum and a worker pockets the unearthed sacred daggers, previously lost to a blaze that consumed the museum at the end of the last film. So the reappearance of the only items that can kill the antichrist is addressed in film (rather than in the novelisation of the film).

ambassadorial suicide
Now the film is set in 1982… we know this because Damien tells the US President (Mason Adams) that he intends to run for senate in 1984 – 2 years away. This being the case then the first film should have been set in the 1950s (or maybe the later 40s) but it was clearly set in the 70s. Later in the film it is said that he had been in charge of the Thorn Empire for seven years and took over in 1971… not only wasn’t he born in 1971 but we have established the film to be set in 1982 not 1978… oh dear. Anyway Damien knows that the Nazarene (or Christ) will be reborn in England, due to biblical prophecy, and so has the UK ambassador kill himself and is subsequently asked to be the ambassador. He is also made president of the UN Youth council.

Damien with Christ statue
Whilst over in jolly old England he seduces a TV Journalist, Kate Reynolds (Lisa Harrow), corrupts her son Peter (Barnaby Holm), whilst collecting daggers from inept monk assassins (I’m sorry but they are absolutely inept, surely the Vatican could have dug up some warrior priests). Unfortunately the return of Christ starts to drain his power (one would have thought that the Christ and antichrist should have been in perfect balance but that would be too logical) and so he has his aid Harvey (Don Gordon) send Damien’s apostles out to kill every boy child born on that special day.

revealing the Nazarene
Now I did like the apostles as they were ordinary people; a vicar, a nurse, boy scouts… Harvey’s son, unfortunately, was born on that day and Harvey tries to keep him from being killed but eventually the child is taken by Damien’s satanic powers. But this is just another example of ineptitude in the film because, whilst Damien knew from the bible that Christ would return to England, he clearly didn’t read the related passage that revealed he would return as a king (or grown man) and not a child.

when doggies go bad
That could be the story of the film. Ineptitude. Inept script writers who can’t calculate dates, inept priest assassins who keep dying, an inept aid who can’t save his son, an inept antichrist who doesn’t know his bible, an inept journalist who doesn’t notice all the dead babies were born on the same day until a priest points it out. Inept.

Sam Neill as Damien
Luckily the film has Sam Neill, which makes it watchable because critical faculties make the story hard to accept. Certainly not as good as I thought it was as a teenager. Next in my exploration of the Omen we get to the two films I haven’t watched before. A fourth in the series and a remake of the first film. In the meantime the imdb page is here.

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