Sunday, September 19, 2010
The Omega Man
Written by John William Corrington, Joye Hooper Corrington, Richard Matheson (book)
Directed by Boris Sagal
Starring Charlton Heston, Anthony Zerbe, Rosalind Cash and her boobies
some sort of biotoxin released by those damn russians, has wiped out the human race, sort of. there are now religious fanatic blind albinos running around trying to kill charlton heston, the only person to have successfully vaccinated himself against the deadly russian flu.
This was an interesting experience for me, similar (but not the same as) The Men Who Stare at Goats, the script was the weakest part. Not having read the book, I can't discuss the "trueness" of the adaptation; but while the story was good at a high level and being a sucker for a down-ending I liked the conclusion very much, many of the details were silly. The introduction of the other survivors seems to imply more than just a half-dozen and I would think that an officer in whatever service would have spent some time trying to look for communications from others. Also, the details of where and when the surviving humans (as differentiated from the uninfected humans) can be out are oddly inconsistent and the fact that they have such a hierarchical society implies that a much longer period of time has passed than is conveyed by other places in the story.
Coming up the scale is the acting. Heston is a pretty bad ass, and even the weird zombie guys are just the right level of over-the-top. The other regular humans are good enough, as well. Where the movie starts to get actually interesting, though, is in the direction and camera work. Establishing shots are cool, and there's one in particular which starts really close to good ol' Charlton and pulls waaaay back to the LA skyline. As we continue into the action stuff, things brighten further. Most of the setpieces vary tonally but remain consistent. The first, for example, really felt like a West Side Story type dance-fight. What really brought that feeling through in all the action scenes as well as in the general background was the music. About halfway through watching I was impressed enough to look up the composer, and I was pleasantly surprised to see that he also wrote the Doctor Who theme song which has had the same melody for over forty years. The music really did it for me more than anything else.
The philosophical question of which group of humans has claim to the planet is an interesting one. The "neo-humans'" super-Luddite position is a sensible reaction to the "classic humans'" technology-based downfall; and the idea that they should be cured or destroyed rather than embraced is a real counterpoint. However the story doesn't really present a good forum for this discussion. I'd like to believe that this is a big part of the book, but maybe it's just the jumping-off point for a better one (or a better movie). It's tough to recommend this as a story, but maybe if you ignore the dialog it would improve your experience.
shme. this was a little closer to the short story "i am legend" than the recent will smith release. neville is actually played by someone who could be conceived as a 6' german, and he was, in fact, located in the western coastal city known as los angeles. but that is where the similarities end. they sort of took it in a religious direction as opposed to an evolutionary scientific direction that is in the book. at least it is called "the omega man" and not "i am legend" separating itself respectfully from the source material. unlike will smith and his band of hollywood bastardizers.
i think it's funny that the woman was a militant black lady who was offended by the verb "spooked" and yet once someone got sick they turned albino. even their eyes turned white. i also think there was too many bad jokes that charlton heston made to himself about being the last person alive in a city. too many hokey talking to corpses jokingly, traffic jokes, standing in line jokes. he was very amused by himself but he came off like the punny guy you smile at because you're too polite to tell him he's not funny...at all.
i think the jesusianess got a little overbearing towards the end as well. the on the cross pose at the end was as subtle as being slapped in the face with a fish.