After the Oscar winning original, the even more intense sequel, the Omen trilogy concludes with a now grown Damien in charge of a large multi-national corporation and ready to take over the world. Stylistically, Goldsmith's score is somewhat different from the first two; the original was often quite an intimate, but hair raising mixture of choir and orchestra, the second expanded on this idea to become a Black Mass, for the Final Conflict Goldsmith penned a large proportion of new melodic material, as well as a different style of choral writing. It doesn't entirely cut itself off from the originals, but is a marked change in direction. One of the most productive and best periods of Jerry Goldsmith's composing career was the late seventies and early eighties and so with such a (theoretically) dynamic subject, he has written more of a Light & Dark Mass where good and evil battle musically. If the film was as impressive as the score, it would have been terrific - however, it isn't. However, in the case of so many Jerry Goldsmith scores to less than brilliant films, we are left with a superb musical work that totally eclipses its origins.
The opening track features a new theme for Damien, an imposing horn fanfare against full orchestra and choir. This is countered by the Second Coming theme, which wouldn't have been out of place in a Biblical epic and is truly spectacular in both composition and sonically. The most notable appearances are of course during The Second Coming and the truly spine tingling finale, The Final Conflict as Damien is finally defeated. No Omen film would be complete without being full of dramatic deaths and The Final Conflict is no exception. A T.V. First accompanies a scene where a Monk (one of several) who is attempting to kill Damien undertakes to do so, but it all goes horribly wrong and so is naturally accompanied by some heavy duty choral music. It sounds more exciting than what happens on screen, but as in many cases throughout the trilogy, Jerry's music lifts what happens on the screen above how risible a lot of it actually is.
Of course some of the deaths are more suspenseful and less outright dramatic; Electric Storm creeps about moodily until the final minute when it explodes impressively. The Hunt is almost certainly a highlight and surprisingly doesn't feature the choir. A superb set piece as both music and in the film. The Monks (again) try to sabotage a fox hunt to trap Damien; almost the entire sequence is without dialogue and so is carried along entirely by the music. It does contain appearances of Damien's theme against rattling percussion and swirling strings, but also contains some new musical ideas, as well as a fox hunt trumpet call in counterpoint. Quieter moments are almost always laden with doom, but there are some which are less unsettling than the rest, most notably the very liturgical sounding Monastery which is one of few moments that features the choir when it isn't going for all out Heavenly or Satanic.
The Deluxe Edition from Varese contains a few extra tracks, but in truth they don't actually add a great deal to the tapestry to the score, there are certainly no missing classic cues. However, the biggest pleasure is the remastered sound which improves on the original album markedly. The cue The Final Conflict particularly benefits as much of its sonic impact was marred by the original mix, but here bursts forth gloriously, particularly welcome after the added few minutes at the beginning of the cue which add suspense until the moment finally arrives and the choir and orchestra explode into life.
The Omen Trilogy is one case where different film makers have employed the services of the same composer and the result is actually fairly typical for a trilogy. A pretty balanced, but generally dark opening act, a very dark and doomed second act with the final act where everything is resolved. As a musical trilogy there is no reason not to compare them favourable (in terms of quality) with John Williams' Star Wars Trilogy. Jerry uses his leitmotifs from score to score, developing ideas as it progresses and introducing new ideas that expand the sound world, give each film an identity of its own while easily definable as one part of the same story. On its own terms, the Final Conflict isn't perhaps the benchmark that the original was, but is an excellent work in its own right that has more drama than the film itself could ever hope to muster and is absolutely worth seeking out.