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A view from the Blu (-ray) on DVDBeaver by Leonard Norwitz


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Damien: Omen II (The Omen Collection) [Blu-ray]


(Don Taylor, 1978)



Review of the entire collection:


The FOUR Blu-rays comprise Fox's The Omen Collection on Blu-ray which includes The Omen (1976), Omen 2: Damien (1978), Omen 3: The Final Conflict (1981) and The Omen (2006)


Review by Leonard Norwitz



Theatrical: 20th Century Fox

Blu-ray: 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment



Region: A

Runtime: 1:46:51

Chapters: 20

Feature Size: 32.6 GB

Case: Lightweight Gatefold Case, with Slipcover

Release date: October 7th, 2008



Aspect ratio: 2.35:1

Resolution: 1080p

Video codec: AVC @ 36 MBPS



English DTS HD 5.1 Master Audio. Original English Mono, Dub: Spanish & French mono.



English, Spanish, Cantonese, Mandarin, Korean



• Feature Commentary by Producer Harvey Bernhard with DVD Producer J.M. Kenney (sp?)

• Theatrical Trailer in 4:3 SD




The Movie: 6
Damien: Omen II opens where the original movie ended. Young Damien is orphaned after having killed his adoptive mother and after her husband was, in turn, killed by police in the act of attempting to dispatch Damien in a ritual murder to prevent his becoming the Antichrist. Damien, for his part, has been only vaguely aware of his role in all this.

Robert Thorn's brother, Richard (William Holden), takes on the job of surrogate parent to Damien, along with his second wife, Ann (Lee Grant). Damien (Jonathan Scott-Taylor), now on the eve of puberty, bonds warmly – and for the time being, innocently, with Richard's son, Mark, as they prepare for a life at the Military Academy. As in the first Omen, Damien has his protectors who help guide him into full consciousness of his birthright, if not his actual mission, with the usual body count by mysterious and always brutal deaths of those that might present impediments.



I find a queer cynicism, even a certain unintended humor, in the second installment, as it becomes all too clear to me, though not to the various victims, that their fervent Christian faith ("To save yourself, you must accept Jesus as your savior") does them no good whatever. The Evil One's power is not stayed by the grasping of a crucifix or by a belief in the power of Christ. There is a foregone conclusion to this tale - like the way the Lone Ranger always defeats the bad guy while remaining unscathed – that no matter how anyone feels, or what he or she does or believes, Evil will win out. . . that is, until the Lord of Darkness is pitted against the Prince of Light. . . but that's another story.



NOTE: The below Blu-ray captures were ripped directly from the Blu-ray disc.

Image: 6/8
The first number indicates a relative level of excellence compared to other Blu-ray video discs on a ten-point scale. The second number places this image along the full range of DVD and Blu-ray discs.

Don't be alarmed by the opening image of a North African coastal skyline. It's one of the most indistinct shots on Blu-ray, but it soon gives way to an acceptable image for most of the rest of the movie. The image quality seems to me to be consistent with what I would expect a good print to look like in the theatre, probably much better. Black levels and contrast are good, if not nearly as punchy nor as sharp or as highly resolved as recent movies. Joan Hart's red collar (when she attempts to interview Richard) has very little distinction despite that bit rates are in the upper 30s here and throughout.















Audio & Music: 5/7
As with the first Omen movie, Fox offers both the original mono and a 5.1 DTS HD-MA mix. In this case, I prefer the original. I began with the DTS track and well into the movie I switched to mono. I found the mono more focused, clearer and sometimes even fuller. In the couple of places where surround channels would have been a plus, for example when taps was played in a bugle duet, nothing was gained in the DTS mix. Goldsmith is still on board for the music, but he lacks the spirit, shall we say, he had for the first movie.


Operations: 2
I took off 3 points for the worst packaging I've seen for a Blu-ray set. The outer sleeve, which is the same height as a standard DVD package, is thin – that's not uncommon, but the gatefold that holds the discs is an embarrassment to the industry – hardly double the thickness of the thin outer sleeve, with the cheesiest disc holders ever. Another thing I had trouble with was that when I selected the desired scene from the menu while the movie was playing, the scene came up but the menu persisted. Why? Everything else went well. Disc loads quickly with no previews or promos.




Extras: 3
Harvey Bernhard is the producer of the first three Omen movies. His remembrances, sporadic and lazily told, are of some interest. Not least, that the storylines for the two sequels were considered together and almost immediately after the first movie was completed. I found this surprising considering how much like the first movie in many ways is Omen II, but how much unlike it is to Omen III. I am suspicious of the so-called "theatrical trailer" which is displayed in terrible quality 4:3 SD.


Bottom line: 6
Considering the price of this collection, the presentation is inexcusable. That said, the discs themselves are all very good in terms of both image and sound. It's nice that the first two movies retain the original mono option. At the moment, only the first movie is available separately, so the "Collection" is the only option for any of the other movies in HD.


Leonard Norwitz
October 9th, 2008



Review of the entire collection:


The FOUR Blu-rays comprise Fox's The Omen Collection on Blu-ray which includes The Omen (1976), Omen 2: Damien (1978), Omen 3: The Final Conflict (1981) and The Omen (2006)





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