One and a half stars.
So Damien the Antichrist has returned to wreak havoc on the world once again. Incidently, he decided to do it on 06/06/06. You know how I remember that? Not because I gleamed it from the Wikipedia page, no sir. It's because I was at working for the other most evil entity on that day. There was a co-worker who was "scared shitless" because she believed the devil was actually going to rise that day. She didn't go to church and wasn't even religious, but because she put so much stock in that sequence of numbers that she demanded to have the day off. Even if that was really going to happen, what good does it do to take off work? Was she going to hide from the devil in the basement? For lords sake, I could not stand that idiot and I really hate numerology.
Today's remake was a really stupid-ass attempt to cash in on the numeric significance of the release date. But that's not the irritating part. At least not the most irritating. We get this shit dished up ala Gus Van Sant. The whole thing is almost shot-for-shot the same movie. So why do it at all? What makes this all the more irritating is that they kept the shock ending of the faceless commander-in-chief standing in as temporary ward of Damien. I mean, what possible reason would they have for this? There was no reason to think a sequel for this would be in the works. Even so, were they planning on starting a different continuity? Since there was little to no deviation from the original's plot, there's little indication that would be a possibility.
Being the negative prick that I'm, I also have problems with the few alterations they did do to the movie. Take the ape attack scene for instance. The '76 version had Damien and his surrogate mother Katherine (portrayed then by Lee Remick) trapped in their car by baboons during a tour of a drive-through wild life park. It's such an intense scene and almost makes you sympathetic to the demon spawn. In the updated version, the scene takes place with Julia Stiles playing Katherine this go-round. They happen to be walking through a glassed in observatory and the monkeys go nuts behind the glass at the sight of Damien. Seriously, this is the scene you're going to make different? It has the heart-pounding suspense of watching Grandpa the chimpanzee eat his own droppings at the St. Louis Zoo. Also, it's very clear (from the cars and technology displayed) that this is supposed to take place in the mid 2000s. But everyone seems to be dressed like they're stuck in the 1970s. Look at every garb Julia Stiles wears in this movie. Last, there's this subplot that shows the Vatican half-ass monitoring the situation. This results in a paralell between the death of the Pope and the death of Robert Thorn. I'm sure this was concuted to prey on peoples fears, as Pope John Paul II had recently died. Nonetheless, this point never amounts to anything and all related sequences feel like they would be utilized for another film.
I will say the acting is exemplary. Liev Schreiber is doing his best Gregory Peck as Robert Thorn. Julia Stiles plays it up, although she doesn't always have the charisma for the role at times. One travesty is the bashing David Thewlis took for his portrayal of Jennings (he even received a Rasperry nod). His take was every bit as impacting as David Warner's earlier portrayal. Seamus Davey-Fitzpatrick was okay as Damien, although he is so creepy looking through most of the movie that he doesn't retain any of the subtlty exhibited by the original's Harvey Stephens. The person who really shines in this is Mia Farrow as Mrs. Blaylock. You know damn well, that, after decades of lackluster roles, Farrow jumped at the chance to once serve as the protector of the antichrist. She is the one improvement over the original film.
Aside from that, this movie is vomit. It's well shot, the acting is decent, but it's a slap in the face to the original. Not only does the original still hold up today, there wasn't even any call to remake this. To add insult to injury, the filmmakers were possibly holding out for a sequel. Let me know how that works out for ya.