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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Thu Mar 07, 2013 8:43 pm 
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Soylent Corp. Lackey

Joined: Thu Mar 07, 2013 5:55 pm
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I think it's a missed opportunity... I agree it wasn't very good. My copy is the DVD-R from Warner Archives.

This reminds me of the fact that Heston turned down the part in THE OMEN (which was going by the name of ANTICHRIST in the earlier stages). As it turned out I always felt Gregory Peck did a marvelous job in it... but as a horror fan, I always WISH that Chuck would have done this movie, just for the novelty of having him in a major horror movie that was quite successful.

Although THE OMEGA MAN is science fiction, that is kind of close to Horror, I suppose.


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 10:26 am 
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El Cid
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Joe
Charlton Heston watching WOODSTOCK .... that's definetely Science-Fiction!


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Fri Mar 08, 2013 7:20 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Joe Karlosi wrote:
This reminds me of the fact that Heston turned down the part in THE OMEN (which was going by the name of ANTICHRIST in the earlier stages). As it turned out I always felt Gregory Peck did a marvelous job in it... but as a horror fan, I always WISH that Chuck would have done this movie, just for the novelty of having him in a major horror movie that was quite successful.


I've often wondered about how things would have gone if Chuck made different film choices and a forum is one way to indulge in such speculation. You can see what a poster of such an OMEN film might have been like in the Alternate Realities Film thread - heston-films-in-alternate-realities-t254.html (this is an old thread now because I finally ran out of ideas for it and out of steam, but it's one of the larger threads in these forums). I speculated about Chuck's alternate seventies career on pg.5 of that thread and that's where The Chuck-Omen film version can be found.

btw, I think Chuck would have done at least as fine a job with the OMEN role as Peck. I suppose his character in THE AWAKENING was in some ways richer due to the eerie and strange conflict he encounters, involving possible incestuous feelings for his daughter (Stephanie Zimbalist), though this wasn't played out out too well by the final act.


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 Post subject: THE AWAKENING review by Roger Ebert
PostPosted: Wed May 29, 2013 6:30 am 
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El Cid
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THE AWAKENING reviewed by Roger Ebert.
-----------------------------------------------
THE AWAKENING is bad in so many ways that I'll just have space to name a few.
It is, for example, completly implausible in its approach to the science of archaeology - so hilariously inaccurate, indeed, that I can recommend this movie to archaeologists without any reservations whatsoever. They'll bust a gut.

Example. Charlton Heston, a British archaeologist, is searching for the long-lost tomb of the Egyptian Queen Kara. He finds it - well, no wonder. It's "hidden" behind a gigantic stone door in a mountainside, with big, bold hieroglyphic written all over it. It's about as hard to find as Men's Clothing at Marshall Field's. Anyway, having found this priceless and undisturbed tomb, Heston immediately begins pounding away at the door with a sledgehammer.

Now, even if your knowledge of archaeology is limited to leafing through back issues of "National Geographic" at the dentist's, you know that when they make a major find, they're supposed to spend years dusting off everything with little brushes and making a fetish disturbing anything. Not Heston. He even has a team of laborers with pickaxes standing by as backup.

Well, wouldn't you know, every time Heston hammers at the tomb, his pregnant wife back at the camp doubles up in pain. That's because, as the movie makes abundantly clear, the spirit of Kara is being reborn in Heston's baby daughter. There's also some nonsense about how Heston ignores his-wife-to-be with his comely young assistant (Susannah York), and then the movie flashes forward eighteen years, and we see veteran "Omen" watchers prepare for scenes in which the child becomes aware that she is possessed by a spirit, and that Her Time Has Come.

Great! And none too soon, we're all thinking. But the movies climax is so filled with impossibilities that we're too busy with the mental rewrite to get scared. For example: Do you believe a priceless tomb would be left open, eighteen years later, so that people could walk straight into it? That the operation of a secret door could elude generations of grave robbers, but be solved twice in a matter of minutes? That Heston could walk into a modern museum, move a sarcophagus around on a freight elevator, light candles, lift a two-ton lid with his bare hands, and conduct arcane rituals without attracting the inquiry of a security guard?

If you can believe all these things, then, at the end, when the reborn priestess Kara turns and snarls at the audience, you believe THE AWAKENING is set for a sequel. Call me an optimist, but I believe this movie is so bad it'll never be reborn.


Last edited by James Byrne on Wed Jun 05, 2013 8:39 am, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Mon Jun 03, 2013 6:36 pm 
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Prince Judah
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I admit that I'm a bit surprised by this latest overview from you, James, since in the past you seemed to be the one who was the most positive about this film on this board. I guess this is one of those 'so bad it's good' movies in your view?

I will note one subtext running through this film which may elevate it above the laughable. Heston's character is essentially a good, decent man, like most of his characters. Yet, throughout the film, for a couple of decades, he has this, shall we say, fatal attraction or fixation on this ancient princess, who turns out to be the personification of evil (as clarified by her hiss at the very end). What is this attraction that a decent man might have for something evil, the film may be asking. It's baffling and quite ironic, but such attraction does exist in the world -- the real world. A paradox existing in the human condition?

This is in contrast to Peck's character in The OMEN, where-in he was only revolted and dismayed by the concept of evil. The film doesn't provide any answers, of course, but it does seem to ask those questions. Maybe it doesn't ask them too well, but at least it asks. :twisted:


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 10:07 am 
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El Cid
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Hi Chrysagon
I think you might have missed the headline I posted above the review. Roger Ebert wrote that review - not me. I love THE AWAKENING, as does my youngest daughter.
I guess I'll have to re-watch it, take some notes and post my own review of this sorely abused movie.


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 5:47 pm 
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Prince Judah
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James Byrne wrote:
Hi Chrysagon
I think you might have missed the headline I posted above the review. Roger Ebert wrote that review - not me.

Yup, you're right - I completely missed that. Sorry about that. :oops:

Oh, well, at least it gave me the impetus to post my own thoughts about the film.


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Tue Jun 04, 2013 11:29 pm 
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Cheating Bastard

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Haven't seen this one yet but I do have it recorded on my Sky Plus box so looking forward to seeing it.

I knew Chuck turned down the lead in The Omen and the IMDB trivia section for the film lists several other actors who also turned down the role-I was surprised to read that **** Van **** was one of them! Someone asked Mr Van **** (on twitter) if that was true and he confirmed it was.


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 4:49 pm 
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El Cid
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Chrysagon
I havejust added Roger Ebert's name to his review, to avoid any further confusion in the future. I was actually going to post it some weeks ago, with some scathing comments attached, but then Mr. Ebert sadly passed away. Out of respect for him, I didn't think it was right to criticize his work when he had just died.
I think it's a terrible review of THE AWAKENING, one that had dire financial consequences for the movie. The first week it opened THE AWAKENING did great business, then Mr. Ebert wrote that total slag/off and nobody went to the movie afterwards. It died a death at the box-office almost immediately.


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 Post subject: Re: The Awakening (1980)
PostPosted: Wed Jun 05, 2013 5:04 pm 
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Prince Judah
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Chrysagon wrote:
Yup, you're right - I completely missed that. Sorry about that. :oops:

Oh, well, at least it gave me the impetus to post my own thoughts about the film.


What the power of brotherhood is! I also missed the heading, and meant to post my views, and simply could not do it for want of time. However, my take on the review is this:

I am against calling it such a bad and ridiculous movie, though I have to agree with two points in particular: the scene that shows simultaneously the archeologist's hammering at the tomb, and his wife's getting sick in extreme labour pain. The way it is shown looks a bit overacted and melodramatic. And this is also true that 18 years after a discovery is made, a tomb cannot be left open without security. But these are only technical faults, and can be put aside if we are to appreciate the movie on the whole in terms of acting, story, suspense, theme and imagery.

The subtext is fascinating, on the one hand, there is an uncanny and ghostly parody of the 'Immaculate conception', the death-and-rebirth myth of primitive and ancient gods, a legacy of which persists in Chjristianity, and of course, the Resurgum. If we go by the track of classic ghost stories in Europe, we will reach a common thematic pattern where the same metaphors and allusions are used both in religious or holy myths, as well as in the legends associated with evil and darkness. Man consumes the flesh and blood of Christ for spiritual food, and Vampires or evil souls do the same on human body for a demonic purpose. The rise of the dead, is seen in a spiritual and positive light, is the Resurrection, and in a negative sense, it becomes the upsurging of some unsatisfied evil soul from the vail of darkness and mystery. THE AWAKENING, as the title suggests, can be read in both positive and negative senses, until we know the story in full.

The strange connection between good and evil, as shown in the movie, reinforces the universal mystery of a power-struggle between cosmic forces. Heston's character, as Chrysagon has pointed out, a good and decent man, feels an ambivalent attraction to the dead princess, and he cannot be blamed. He feels the attraction as a devoted archeolologist, and his soul is caught in the enchanting call of the past, he doesn't have a sixth sense to tell him whether the fascination is for good or evil. Chuck's character here is an archetypal explorer, like the knight of Keats' horror-poem 'La Belle Dame sans Marci', or the ancient mariner in Coleridge, who by his very nature and potential, also renders himself vulnerable to the mystic forces at work , forces that cannot be reduced to any scientific and rational interpretation. If seen as a psychological allegory of the struggle between good and evil, Chuck's performance in this role is very different from his signature-roles, quite deep, subtle, nuanced, and representative of a certain philosophy.

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