April 24, 2007

The Omega Man (Sagal, 1971)

I enjoyed this film quite a bit, though I must admit a certain inclination towards 70’s science fiction cinema. Nevertheless, The Omega Man must surely be considered one of the decade’s better genre films. This isn’t contemplative sci-fi on the order of Silent Running. Rather, this is a film that seeks above all else to entertain, and succeeds admirably. Of course, there are issues (political, racial, social) contained beneath the narrative, but wisely, that is where they stay.

Director Boris Sagal provides some compelling visuals and never gets in the way of his "last man on earth" story. He keeps the proceedings moving at a brisk, engaging pace, and allows Heston to carry the film. Heston seems to thrive in the sci-fi genre and he turns in a charismatic performance here, infusing the film with a surprising but welcome sardonic humor. There is a thought-provoking, subversive quality to Heston’s hero, which I find immensely intriguing. At times, he seems as pathological as the film’s villains. Ultimately though, The Omega Man doesn’t seem to benefit a great deal from in-depth analysis. Rather it is simply, and refreshingly, a solid piece of intelligent genre entertainment.


Mr Tank'd said...

I just thought I'd add that this film is based on a book called "I Am Legend" which also served as the basis for George A. Romero's Night Of The Living Dead.

A new film which adopts the title of the book is supposed to be coming out soon as well!

R.A. Naing said...

Richard Matheson's "I Am Legend" is a novel I have had on my "must read" list for quite a while. It also served as the basis for the 1964 Vincent Price film "The Last Man On Earth," which I haven't yet seen.

Initially I had my doubts, but I'm actually looking forward to the new take on Matheson's novel, which, based on the teaser, looks appropriately atmospheric. The fact that Francis Lawrence (Constantine) is directing assures that, at the very least, the film will be visually appealing.

daddy-o said...

I just saw "I am Legend" and I did enjoy it, however, the ending was a little dissappointing. I had expected a better ending. The Omega Man is a better movie in my opinion.