I hadn't seen it for about ten years and as the full moon came beaming through my apartment window late last night, it just felt right to indulge in some Proyas Gothic excellence.
The question still taps away at all our doors, namely would the film be the cult classic it became without the Brandon Lee tragedy? That's a tricky one to answer because we all deep down have a morbid curiosity about us, especially with films and their stars. This is why I got a lot more from re-watching the movie after a very long period of time, namely that it may have drew many of us in years ago because of the tragedy and heart aching back story to writer James O'Barr's birthing of Eric Draven the character, but it can now enthral, thrill and shatter emotions of its own accord.
The Gothic art design and the soundtrack are emo personified before such a label was invented, Lee is lithe and skilful and serving notice to what a talent we were robbed of that fateful day in March 1993. The villains are a roll call of go to guys for such roles, Kelly, Wincott, Todd, while Ernie Hudson fronts up as good cop personified. And finally Proyas, struggling with the budget even before Brandon's death, that he manages to create this world of perpetual bleakness, but still offer hope and beauty - the latter via tracking shots, pull aways and intricate frame shots of a tormented Draven, shows him to be a purveyor of considerable skills.
All told, The Crow (1994) deserves to not be thought of as a cult classic, but just as a classic, period. 9.5/10
The Blu-ray is not worth the upgrade, stick with the S/E DVD folks.
on 27 September 2009
Finally, I can watch the Crow in all its widescreen glory.
OK, it isn't the sharpest HD picture I've ever seen, but it's the best I've ever seen this movie and it really made it better for the wait. The picture could still benefit from a complete re-master, but that could take years, if ever and if you want to enjoy this movie in widescreen, with 5.1 DTS and a handful of various extras, this is well worth the upgrade from the DVD.
The interview with Brandon Lee (his last recorded interview) has a few ominous moments and there are some interesting behind the scenes looks.
The movie has dated a little, but it's still a nice Gothic revenge flick which Tim Burton would be proud of. I'm one of the few who likes everything Alex Proyas has made and this is a good solid start for his body of work.
on 13 November 2003
This was definately one of the best movies of the 90's. The story revolves around Eric Draven an underground rock musician who, along with what was his very soon to be wife, was murdered on Halloween. His fiance was brutally raped and beaten, and later died in hospital, while Eric was stabbed, shot twice and thrown out of a three story window.
Exactly one year later, Eric is ressurected by a mysterious crow so that he can take out the revenge his death prevented him from having. He is given the strenth of ten men, the power of invulneribility and sight of the crow. Throughout the movie the crow guides him to the wereabouts of the four wrong doers so that he can put "the wrong things right."
Everything about this movie just oozes quality (even thought the plot is just the reworking of the basic revenge story, but with a supernatural twist). Brandon Lee is just superb as Eric Draven, throughout the film you can see his anguish and rage towards his murderers because of the beautiful life they denied him with his true love. You can also see him going slightly insane due the powers given to him. Ernie Hudson, David Patrick Kelly and Michael Wincott are all also excellent as their respective characters, but it is Lee who steals the show, this young actor would have become a major star after the release of this movie were it not for his tragic death. He is charismatic likable and overall very convincing.
This DVD package is much improved over the last one, with the sound and picture quality given a very good and welcome re-hash. Other extra's include a featurette, commentary from writer and producer, profile of James O'Barr, who created the comic on which the movie was based as well as a comparison of the movie in its old and new format.
The Crow is an excellent, excellent movie, and still is today one of the best comic book adaptations out there, i recommend this movie to everyone as i think it should be seen by as many people as possible, as it is one of the most touching movie's out there.
A bold statement to say this is one of the best comic book films made, but this dark, violent revenge thriller is packed full of so many moments of greatness, from the visual almost Blade runner like dark and rain filled night scenes to the exceptional sound track, both score and rock music onto huge action and stunts, mixed with romance, a quotable script, and Brandon Lee giving a career best performance (sadly his last lead role) it's near perfection.
Only some scenes of gratuitous violence let it down, violence is fine in an adult film but in The Crow it occasionally pushes it a little two far (The villain's sister has a particulary gruesome demise) and seems to cheapen the film, thankfully not too much.
Brandon Lee turns in a manic performance as the make up clad hero (much in the tone of Heath Ledger as the Joker in Dark knight) stuck in despare, turmoil and rage.
The plot is simple Eric Draven a young musician is brought back from the dead to exact tevenge on the criminal gang that killed him and his girlfriend.
The story sets the stage for a lot of graphic, massivly stylish action scenes as he tracks the gang one by one and sends them to there maker.
Michael Wincott (Robin Hood prince of thieves) plays the main villain so well and supported by a good cast of charachter actors, the various interactions between the villains with a great script make for a thrilling story.
Alex Proyas director of later hits such as I Robot has put together a mash up of genres and as near a good film as you get, tinged with the sadness of the tradgedy that surrounded it.
A film ahead of it's time? Maybe, one things for sure, Brandon Lee could have been the next big thing based on his tragic, tortured perfomance.
4.5 out of 5.
The Crow is an adaption of a then-little-known graphic novel of the same name by James O'Barr. There was much hype and anticipation surrounding the film, however, unfortunately all this was overshadowed by the tragic death of star Brandon Lee (son of legend Bruce Lee) prior to its completion (Lee was accidentally shot by a loaded gun during filming and later died from his injuries).
While the tragedy hangs over the film (which was completed and released with permission from Lee's family, with a double standing in for Lee for the few remaining scenes the actor hadn't done), this is still an incredible, albeit haunting piece of film-making.
The story begins when rock musician Eric Draven and his fiancée Shelley are brutally murdered by a gang of thugs on "Devil's Night." One year later, Draven rises from the dead and under the watchful eye of a mysterious crow, dons leather, barbed wire and "Kiss-style" clown make-up and seeks revenge on and his and his fiancée's killers. The powers of the crow have made Draven immortal and with increased senses and super vision; able to stalk the streets and catch his victims completely unawares.
The film raises many controversial moral questions and while you are sympathetic to The Crow character, the ease he picks off his victims and the complete lack of emotion he shows when carrying out the terrible deeds is eerie. However, by no means does that mean that the film condones such behaviour; it's definitely used more as a "What If?" scenario (i.e if what happened to Draven happened to you and you could come back and seek retribution with no repercussions, what would you do?). Again, you don't necessarily agree with his tactics, but you can feel his pain and understand why the reborn Eric Draven can seemingly act without conscience.
The addition of the little girl Sarah, adds some more human emotion to proceedings and shows a more softer side to Draven's Crow persona.
It should also be noted that this is a truly mesmerising performance from the late Brandon Lee. On this evidence, he could have gone on to have one hell of a film career. He completely engulfs himself in the role and owns every scene he appears in, just like Heath Ledger does as The Joker in The Dark Knight (again, another film etched in tragedy due to Ledger's passing just after its completion).
While the story is very simplistic (it actually needed "fleshing out" as the original graphic novel had less characters and less of a "story arc"), the film is well-acted (not just by Lee, but by a fine supporting cast) and beautifully shot. The action scenes are also superb and many scenes play to a thumping heavy metal soundtrack.
Please be warned, though that this is not a typical "comic-book movie." It's a very bleak affair, shot in darkness and some would argue, writhing in misery and tragedy. However, it's engrossing from start to finish and had me close to tears in places. It is now one of my most favourite movies of all time, comic-book- based or otherwise.
I would give the film 4 out of 5 stars, but the DVD as a whole 5 as the extras are great. There are deleted scenes, the last-ever interview with Brandon Lee, and interview with creator James O'Barr and more.
`The Crow' is one of those rare films that is tragic and brilliant all at the same time. It's a great story/action movie to start with, but has the added tragedy of being Brandon Lee's last film, as he died on set during the making.
Now only is it rare for a `revenge movie' to be so perfect, but it's also based on a comic book. Before Marvel finally cracked how to make a successful comic book adaptation with its Avengers series, it was rare for anything to live up to its source material. Here, we meet Eric Draven, a rock star who was murdered brutally along with his girlfriend, Shelley Webster. Now, one year later, a mysterious crow brings him back to life to seek revenge on those nasties who wronged him.
The plot isn't anything special, but the way that it's executed is. The characters are all spot on - Brandon Lee especially, as he shows that he's more than just someone who can kick people over. But all the cast are equally excellent. You'll root for the goodies and cheer when the baddies naturally fall one by one.
Then you have the whole gothic ambience. This may not be for everyone. On the rare occasions I hear people criticising The Crow, it's because it's `a film for Goths.' Well, The Cure do to an excellent song or two for the film and yes, it is more than just a little moody, but I think you don't have to paint your fingernails black to appreciate this one. If you like your revenge thrillers moody, brutal and full of action, then this one's for you.
on 8 May 2012
The Crow is my favorite comic book film. I never considered myself a big fan of classic comic book heroes. Because their stories never touched me on an emotional level like The Crow did. While the story is a pretty basic revenge tale, it's the visuals and the performances that makes this film work so well. Brandon Lee does an amazing job as the Crow. He is very bad***, funny, charismatic and he sells the dramatic parts very well. Same can be said about the supporting cast. Ernie Hudson really stands out as the cop who helps Eric Draven. Villains are also very villainous and delightfully evil. They are a lot of fun. The Crow is directed by Alex Proyas (Dark City) and he gives great visual style to the film. It's very well shot and the visual effects look really good. Overall The Crow succeeds were many comic book films fail. It invests you in the pain and suffering the character is feeling and you want him to succeed. I never got these feelings from current Batman, Iron Man or what ever comic book films in recent memory.
This DVD comes with commentary track by producer Jeff Most and screenwriter John Shirley, deleted scenes, extended scenes, art gallery, making of featurette ( about 15 min), interview with Brandon Lee (about 5 min). And by far the most interesting of the lot - Profile of James O'Barr. It's about 35 minutes long interview with the creator of the Crow comic book. Very interesting and touching backstory on the creation of The Crow. Overall this a good selection of extra features and a must see film for any film or comic book fan.
on 1 September 2011
I grabbed this movie from my DVD shelf, blew the dust off it and watched it for the first time in years this week & I must say I enjoyed it as much as ever.
Infamous for the death of Brandon Lee during its production, we all know that, and what a tragic irony it is that Lee was killed on the set of a movie in which he plays a dead man. Bit like Christopher Reeve being best known for playing the invincible Superman & ending up a quadriplegic. Rest their souls.
Anyhoo, the power of this movie has not diminished in the slightest over the years, its best attribute is its gritty production, every scene is lit perfectly and it delves into the Goth without going overboard on it.
Lee puts in a riveting performance as the murdered Eric Draven who comes back from the dead with the aid of a mysterious crow, to take revenge against his killers who also raped & murdered his fiancé, of which the flashback scenes are a harrowing watch. Michael Wincott is top job as Top Dollar playing the bad guy Kingpin with aplomb while Ernie Hudson delivers a subtle humour to the script as Sergeant Albrecht.
Plenty of action with a knife-fight, a thrilling car chase, a massive gun fight and a fast paced ending. It's also got a great soundtrack (yes, I own that too) featuring The Cure & Nine Inch Nails amongst others and you'll see a couple of other bands featured on it performing live in the movie.
While I'm at it, may I also recommend the Original Graphic novel of the Crow by James O' Barr (which I also bought on Amazon, here's the link: The Crow: Original Graphic Novel: Novelisation) and when you read that book, you will realise how perfectly this movie captured its grittiness, brutality & above all else, the anger & emotion of the Crow.
A must for any collector.
on 5 June 2008
I am not a particular fan of films slavishly adapted from graphic novels or comic books, because they are usually superfluous and artificial: CGI-based, one-dimensional, all climax, no build-up and no sense of shape. Mostly, they're stupid tales of good versus evil, and it would be utterly unrealistic to expect the story or script to be profound; characterization and acting to be strong. BUT, "The Crow" is an exception, strangely appealing and being one of the rarest remarkable adaptations put on a film.
"The Crow" is a gothic urban fantasy, telling the tale of man's two most unsatiable albeit the most self-destructive elements: the capacity for love and appetite for vengeance... Enormously simplistic and, perhaps for that reason enormously effective, it has a way of sucking you in almost right from the start. Thanks to the power of arresting visuals and Brandon Lee's out-of-the-world performance, "The Crow" liberates your soul, takes it and gives it a full-winged flight to its gloomy and grungy universe. The entire movie was filmed at night in the pouring rain. The soundtrack is filled with heavy electro-guitar riffs making a perfect combo with the impressive cityscapes which are decaying & crumbling. Wildly brutal and out of reality as its protagonist Eric Craven and that's cool...
On the downside, as I said, like most comic-book adaptations the plot is plain and predictable. Yeah, villains come across like cardboard cutouts. Some scenes feel largely extraneous, not contributing very much to the storyline. But, "The Crow" is definitely an offbeat experience and the triumph of LOVE, even after the life. (3.8/5.0)
on 26 October 2007
I haven't read the comic... and when they made the movie I really didn't know it was based on a comic. Well I can tell that I've almost seen every movie with Brandon Lee playing in it... Although he only played in (mostly) action movies he played his best part in "The Crow"... I watched the movie the first time right after it was released. I've always been a big fan of Bruce Lee his father but also of Brandon Lee because he didn't want people to see him like his father. Brandon always wanted to play in a non-action movie and I know The Crow is one of those... His acting in this movie is good... I know they use a lot of CGI which is done superb. Yes, the fact that he was really killed in the movie made me see it even more.
This is the ultimate movie about vengeance from beyond the grave, good versus evil, wrongs made right, and the power of love conquering all. That last line may sound straight out of a chick flick, but this movie is anything but. Eric Draven is one of the most emotionally deep characters of all time. He drives through the plot with such power and momentum, never letting the adrenaline slow. If you want to see a true artist performing a true work of art, watch Brandon Lee in The Crow. Any artist can recognize the beauty of Brandon Lee's work here. Just like his father, Brandon Lee has mastered the artless art.
In addition to Brandon Lee's amazing mastery of Eric Draven, Michael Wincott is incredible as Top Dollar, the villainous leader of the gang infamous for beginning the tradition of Devil's Night. Rochelle Davis's performance as Sarah was superb, despite the fact that "The Crow" is the only movie she's ever been in.
The Crow is also full of memorable scenes, and quotes. "It can't rain all the time." became a household phrase among some of my friends and anyone familiar with the scene will know why I adore "Mother is the name for God on the lips and hearts of all children." I can truthfully say that this is one of the better made films in all of the years since "The Crow" came out in 1994. It has a special magic that I sorely miss in today's movies. RIP Lee.