Looking Back At GOOD OMENS - Warped Factor - Words in the Key of Geek.

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Looking Back At GOOD OMENS

Hannah revisits Good Omens…
I am a great lover of book adaptations, from Lord of the Rings to Jurassic Park, it is always interesting to see how a filmmaker makes the source material their own. Of course, there will always be bad adaptations. Sometimes the source material is a little too dense and vague to make a compelling film out of. Sometimes simply the filmmakers decide to take the source material in a different direction, somehow missing the essence of the book entirely (I’m looking at you Stanley Kubrick).

My University Dissertation was an adaptation in-fact, I chose to adapt Tolkien’s Of Beren and Luthien to screen with limited success. This wasn’t my first idea, however, my first idea was to adapt Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s collaboration Good Omens. As I sat in my supervisor’s office excitedly regurgitating my practiced pitch, she held up one hand to silence me. I obviously hadn’t heard; Good Omens was already being adapted for television. Back to the drawing board then…
Eight years later, I logged onto Amazon Prime and there it was. I can’t say I didn’t grumble at first. That was supposed to be my big break. Never mind the fact that Gaiman himself had adapted it, I wanted nothing to do with it. My partner insisted we watch it, if not only so I could tell him how I would have done it better (He knows me so well). It came as no surprise to me, that when watching it, I realized how little justice I would have done this masterpiece, and with the recent announcement of a second series, and the bitter taste thoroughly washed from my mouth, I decided to revisit series one.

From the opening title, you can see the passion poured into Good Omens, the almost stop-motion fits beautifully with Pratchett’s world of patchwork characters. The theme, lovingly created by David Arnold reminds me of those old wind-up musical jewelry boxes from my childhood taking me right back to when I first discovered the novel.

The casting is, quite simply, sublime. Michael Sheen as the awkward ethereal Aziraphale and David Tennant as the insane, snakelike Crowley. This now almost infamous double-act seem to slide effortlessly into their roles. The breezy voice of Frances McDormand serves as the narrator (and also God) giving an almost Hitchhiker’s Guide feel to the piece. Add in the talents of Nick Offerman, John Hamm, Miranda Richardson and Michael McKean and you’ve got expertise spilling out from every orifice of this adaptation.

It’s hardly surprising how closely linked this adaptation is to its source material; crafted by Neil Gaiman’s outrageously talented hands it’s almost a love-letter homage to Pratchett who posthumously urged Gaiman to finish the project they had both started. A delicate balance of Gaiman and Pratchett’s humour are sprinkled throughout, but not so much so that they detract from the overarching narrative of the apocalypse aversion.
The narrative almost plays out as a blossoming love story between Aziraphale and Crowley and both Tennant and Sheen lean heavily into this. This is something I felt when first reading the book, and it's something I feel was captured perfectly in the two actor’s performances. These two characters don’t just love to hate each other, they’re scared to love one another. They feign interest in the finer things the world has to offer in place of its destruction, when really the only thing they’re afraid of losing is their counterpart.

It was an absolute delight seeing something that I am so passionate about being giving the high production treatment it deserved, and both the BBC and Amazon did a fantastic job at bringing Good Omens to an audience that might not have experienced it otherwise. If you’re one of those people who have seen it advertised and glanced over it thinking it wasn’t for you, I would highly recommend giving Good Omens a try, it might surprise you.

Preferring the company of fictional characters to living, breathing people; it should come as no surprise that Hannah is a connoisseur of all things geek. Whilst their body resides in the capital of Wales, their heart resides in Middle-Earth and their mind remains firmly lodged in the memory of that embarrassing thing they did when they were eight.

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