on July 22, 2010 by Fuzzy in You May Not Have Seen This, Comments (1)

You May Not Have Seen This: The Omega Man

Omega Man poster

The last man alive, except for all the other people

In the early 1970’s people were worried about a fair number of things: the oil embargo; the war in Vietnam; inflation; and of course, the Cold War that was going to erupt in nuclear fire at any minute. One of the ways Hollywood showed and fed this was movies of a dystopian future. Many of them starring Charlton Heston. I know that my apocalyptic visions of the future feature Charlton Heston, but your mileage may vary.

So, should you watch this movie? As far as the dystopian Charlton Heston films, it’s fairly weak and doesn’t stand up as well as Soylent Green or Planet of the Apes. There’s nothing particularly great about the camera work, but it’s serviceable. The sort of thing you’d expect for a mainstream movie from this period. The dialogue isn’t great either, but isn’t as bad as you might fear. If I’d been making this, I’d want Orson Welles, but I have an Orson Welles fetish. Watch this if you just what a sense of closure on the dystopian Charlton Heston genre, otherwise stay tuned for a summary. It’s amusing in some regards for people who like to see the cutting edge technology and things people really thought were cool and desireable 40 years ago. As an adaptation of the Matheson story, I prefer Last Man on Earth which has more of a zombie feel to it. There are too many unanswered questions here and too many holes that you notice to be really enjoyable. That said, it is worth watching at least once, preferably with friends to help you say helpful things to the screen while you watch it. Just remember to drink responsibly.

Potential spoilers for a movie you’ve probably seen another version of already, follow. If you don’t plan to watch it, you can read this so you can discuss it at parties if the need ever arises.

Anyway: The Omega Man, yet another adaptation of Richard Matheson’s story I Am Legend. Charlton Heston is the last man on earth, not to be confused with The Last Man On Earth which was also an adaptation of the Matheson story, but starred Vincent Price. Chuck is tooling around Backlot, USA dressed like a Great White Hunter heavily armed in convertibles, which he apparently just takes from convenient dealerships throughtout Backlot, USA. He tools back to his swank mansion and is set upon by a bunch of albinos with mirror shades and black robes. Never trust albinos, especially albinos who wear mirrored aviator shades to hide their pink eyes.

So, if Chuck is the last man on Earth, where did the albinos come from? There was some sort of a plague, which either killed everyone who isn’t Charlton Heston or made them into shifty pyromaniac albinos or possibly both. Why is Chuck in conflict with the albinos? Little known fact, natural enemies of Charlton Heston include Yul Brynner, albinos, people who want to restrict gun ownership and of course, damned dirty apes.

But Chuck isn’t the last man on Earth, at least not if you mean man the collective noun that refers to humans of any gender. I’m not counting shifty albinos here. Chuck is going about his daily routine of scavenging in what I’d like to call ruins, but can’t because they’re too clean for that. He’s going about his daily routine and he sees a woman, a non-albino woman, we can tell because she’s black and not wearing mirrorshades. She manages to elude Mr. Heston, proving at least that she hasn’t lost her senses in the apocalypse. This doesn’t stop him from chasing her, which isn’t as much fun as he’d think, when the albinos get the drop on him in a cellar. Unlike normal albinos, they capture him and subject him to a lot of exposition. It turns out that they’re a bunch of luddites and Chuck is public heretic number one.

A quick and explicable end to the film is prevented when the minions of Foxxy Cleopatra show up to pyreblock the albinos at their Chuck Roast. The minions are, quite naturally, a bunch of spunky orphans. They may not have been orphans at the beginning, but the whole plague thing has done a number on the traditional family unit. Back to the story: Foxxy Cleopatra’s brother is turning into an albino. He either got bit by one or the plague that killed everyone else in a couple days has decided to wait a couple years for him or whatever. It turns out that the plague isn’t specifically engineered to kill everyone who isn’t Charlton Heston, it’s supposed to kill everybody. Chuck was some sort of Air Force Biowar expert who developed a vaccine. He only developed one dose for plot specific reasons and he hasn’t been able to make any more. But his blood, the Blood of Chuck, may cure everyone, albinos and plucky orphans alike.

So, religious symbolism time for the third act. The only salvation is through the Blood of Chuck. They cure Foxxy’s brother and they’re going to head to the mountains or somewhere to start anew. There are some holes in this plan, but it’s only a movie. Foxxy’s brother wants to cure the albinos too though, so he goes off to albino central, which he happened to just know where it was. Chuck had been looking for it for two years with no luck, but the plucky sidekick chacter knows exactly where it is. So while everyone else prepares to go far away from the albino menace, Foxxy’s brother tries to convince the albinos to take the cure for themselves. He seems to have forgotten how untrustworthy albinos are. Also Foxxy has turned into an albino while she went out shopping. Whether she’ll be trustworthy is probably apparent, especially since we’re coming up hard on the end of the film.

Damn you dirty albinos, you ruin everything. Sure enough, Foxxy has let all of her albino buddies crash at the Swank Mansion. The albinos bust the joint up and destroy all the precious Blood of Chuck that had been made into a cure. Chuck gets a spear in the chest for all his trouble and seemingly dies in the fountain out front. In the morning, the plucky band of orphans arrive and find that Chuck had been holding out one last bottle of the Precious Blood of Chuck serum. They also forget how shifty and untrustworthy albinos are and take Foxxy Cleopatra off with them to the mountains to start over. Humanity is doomed. The end. Unless you’re an albino.

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1 Comment

  1. BunnyHugger

    July 22, 2010 @ 9:41 pm

    Great review, but I’m wondering what Zeta and Squizzle are going to think of all the anti-albino remarks.

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