25 of 27 people found the following review helpful
essential science fiction viewing.,
This review is from: The Omega Man [VHS]  (VHS Tape)
This is one of the best science fiction films ever made and the first half of the film, dealing with Robert Neville's one man battle for survival against the mutated survivals of a global plague caused by germ warfare, is simply some of the most effective story telling in the history of SF cinema. Much of Matheson's Vampire novel is stripped of it's gothic horror trappings and turned into a potent speculative tale of the way the world is going. It even as a layer of semi religious symbolism that is handled with subtlety and daring for the most part. The best thing here is that Heston plays the modern man to metaphorical perfection. On the surface, he's all macho coolness and style, with guns, sports car and sunglasses, like James Bond in the grave yard, but this bravado and techo-cool style is all front, underneath it, the modern man is lonely and frightened, a prisoner in his own home with no one to talk to but himself, and no future to hope for either. Images of scanitily clad women are so painful he can't bare to look at them and one daring scene has him reach for the body of a female mannequin. Then the real cruncher...this symbol of white male America must die, Christ-like, and give way to blacks, hippies and children, who represent the only real future of our society. He gives them his blood to wash away their sins, saving them. He dies symbolically, but the message is clear, this tough guy war monger belongs to the past. Amazingly subversive and potent, with a charging narrative thrust and sinister atmosphere, this film takes Matheson's novel which was really a gimmick piece anyway, (the one man becomes a legendary monster, like Dracula, to a world of Vampires, a classic reversal of how Dracula the Vampire is the legendary monster in a world of humans)and makes it into something much more sophisticated and memorable. This is an underrated film, it has its faults (too many people can be seen in the back ground when Heston's supposed to be the last man on Earth!) but overall, it's a brilliant film and well worth a close inspection.