on June 28, 2004
The Crow is based on the dark comic series by James O'Barr. The film was directed by Alex Proyas who later made Dark City and the upcoming feature I, Robot, which is due out July 16, 2004. The Crow is a stunning film, its visuals are dazzling. This film of course is always remembered for the sad and unfortunate death of Brandon Lee, son of martial arts legend Bruce Lee. Brandon Lee had emerged and stunned us with this great performance and if he had lived he could have had a promising and grand career as an action star.
Brandon Lee plays Eric Draven, a rock musician who is brutally murdered along with his fiancee. A year later he comes back to life by the powers of a crow and the crow guides him as he seeks revenge for those who took away his life. The movie does turn simply into a revenge flick, but it is a quite stunning one. This film features some great action sequences and Lee as I stated earlier gives a great performance. The film was released in 1994 and spawned two sequels, neither were as good as the original, infact the third went straight to video. Due to Lee's unfortunate death, the filmmakers were able to finish the film using digital technology by what they had filmed of Lee's performance so the film could be released. Proyas released the film to honor and in tribute of his death, some where upset by this but others think it was good of him. This is a great film and I'm pleased to say it is a part of my DVD collection.
The Crow is rated R for A Great Amount of Strong Violence, Language, Drug Use and Some Sexuality. The violence is pretty intense and some might be offended or upset by it, after it one can expect that considering this is a dark and gritty film. The violence includes the use of guns, knives, swords as well as fisticuffs. There's also use of profanity, most of which is strong, and some drug use. Overall a great movie and one which should be seen.
on March 19, 2004
The Crow opens with a voiceover reading this myth: "People once believed that when someone dies, a crow carries their soul to the land of the dead. But sometimes, something so bad happens that a terrible sadness is carried with it, and the soul can't rest. Then sometimes, just sometimes, the crow can bring that soul back, to put the wrong things right."
The Crow is mythmaking at its best. Eric Draven (Lee) is brought back from the dead to avenge the rape and murder of his wife and his own murder. While filming the scene where his character is shot dead at the beginning of The Crow, in order to return to life as an immortal Jesus figure, the cap from the blank hit him and lodged in his spine, and Brandon Lee died. The way Lee's death on set at that particular moment fit into the myth of the movie is just as much to do with the cult status of this picture, as its fantastic gothic landscape, exciting story, gorgeous score and irresistable central figure.
Brandon Lee, being interviewed about The Crow, was asked about death and his character in the film. He said this:
"Because we do not know when we will die we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. And yet everything happens only a certain number of times. And a very small number, really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood. An afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it. Perhaps four or five times or more. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless."
He died not long after. This was his last interview.
on October 24, 2003
I never saw this originally in '94 because I dismissed it as A. a martial arts film (and I hate those) and B. adapted from a comic (and I just can't get into those) and C. aimed at a teen/goth/punk audience (and I am way too old for that). What a mistake! Finally almost ten years on, a friend heard me say I really liked Alex Proyas' DARK CITY -- a neat sci fi film with a very different story but the same kind of dark fantasy look -- and couldn't believe I had never seen THE CROW and made me watch it.
I have to say that I really think this is a fine, well made movie and none of my preconceptions were remotely correct. The art direction is brilliant, with a wonderful and creepy gothic fantasy look, almost but not quite black-and-white, set in a mysteriously surreal "Detroit" that is in some kind of alternate universe from the real Motown. Brandon Lee is really charismatic and haunting in the role of Eric Draven, and not merely because of the tragic incident surrounding the film. He was real star material and just totally inhabits this part.
After seeing the film, I did read the O'Barr comic, which is very sincere and heartfelt, but I think the filmakers -- in what is a pretty rare event -- IMPROVED the plot and characters while keeping all of the angst and atmosphere. They totally honored the character of Eric and the basic idea of the avenger, the memories of his beautiful girlfriend, and sense of overwhelming grief that inhabits the graphic novel. Where they impoved the storyline in cinematic terms is in the treatment of the minor characters and villians. They really fleshed them out, and it enriches the movie and balances the storyline well.
Bookending the film with quotes from Sarah (Rochelle Davis), the little girl who narrates and observes much of the story is an example of a good idea that doesn't really exist in the comic, where the little girl is called Sherri and only appears briefly. Even more so is the expansion of the character of Top Dollar, who again is a minor episode in the comic and more of a grubby hell's angel/drug dealer -- in the film he has been transformed into a complex and compelling crimelord. Michael Wincott is simply amazing in this part, playing Top Dollar as a kind of depraved, satanic, renaissance prince, and clearly having a great deal of fun with this role, especially some wonderful and very clever dialogue. The very, very sick but quite sincere love story between Top Dollar and his psychic half-sister is the reversed-mirror image of the pure and innocent love of Eric and his fiance, a clever idea.
Wonderful music, great visuals, terrific acting...The Crow should NOT be missed.
NOTE: I bought the "Collector's DVD". Don't bother. There is NOTHING worth looking at on the second DVD, some production sketches and posters, nothing special. The director's commentary (on the first disk) is interesting to listen to ONCE, but you can get that on the single disk DVD. There is a smattering of extra footage, but nothing you will miss. Save some bucks and just get the one disk wide screen version.
on March 5, 2002
As with all good movies, "The Crow" is more than the sum of its parts. You could classify it as action, revenge, supernatural -- but it is really a love story, set against a background so grungy and gothic it looks like the Boulevard of Broken Dreams after an artillery boimbardment. The city (Detroit, sort of) is a decaying, rain-swept sewer run by an occultist crimn lord... who sends his goons to murder good-natured guitarist Eric Draven (Lee) and his fiance... Cut to a year later, when Draven bursts out of his own grave on a quest for some serious payback... "The Crow" is an extremely dark, bleak, bleached-out film, set to a sly, sinister rock-grunge soundtrack, but the overall message is actually sappy -- that love triumphs over all. The contrast works, and while Lee may not have been a great actor, he had more charisma than he knew what to do with. I can't think of any other actor who could have pulled off such a complicated role, alternating from tenderness to bloodlust and back, without batting an eye. The idea of a soul reaching out from beyond to right a wrong and meet up with his lost true love is poignent enough, and Lee's tragic demise only adds to that emotion. Bottom line: whatever its flaws, this is just a damn good movie. Period.
on April 30, 2001
Fans have not been able to see and hear THE CROW movies like this before (in the case of Salvation, this is its intro). The Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound & DTS 5.1 Digital Surround Sound further enhance the impact on the senses (the movies are viewable in Widescreen 1.85:1 or full screen Enhanced 16x9). The picture is flawless and the soundtracks gloriously spring from the speakers with added power. The quality of the video and audio alone make owning the re-issue DVDs a must.
Miramax was forced to issue the first movie's DVD without Proyas' commentary, or any other supplementals that had his image, which include the advertised Schow 90min "chronicles", a stills presentation taken from pics Schow took, and appx 6mins of the "making of" featurette that featured Proyas. An unfortunate circumstance for sure, but one that dealt with unknown agendas and legal issues not a thumbs down of the disk by Proyas as a previous reviewer has tried to insinuate.
The first movie's disk still contains plenty of supplementals to satisfy the fan pallet. The James O'Barr interview is a fantastic look inside the man who created this great story. Deleted scene montage & extended scenes are fantastic looks into things that many fan chat sites have discussed and debated for years. A highly informative "making of" feature that was shot during production; original poster conception art, production design stills, and storyboards. And a highly informative commentary track by Jeff Most (producer) and co-script writer John Shirley . The extras don't stop there, in the DVDrom section there is a trivia game and a commentary playback feature that each in their own right tests the average fans knowledge of THE CROW while also giving us tons of never before seen or heard inside stories and trivia. The text commentary track is of special interest as it flashes information in regard to each scene while the movie plays, in some cases, allowing you to stop the movie to view pictures, more information or connect to the web. Also, the entire original shooting script can be read while you watch the movie.
The second movie's disk (The Crow: City of Angels), along with the sound and video enchancements mentioned above, has the best "making of" featurette of the 3 Crow movies. It is over 20mins and is a gem. Along with that, it has an extremely detailed Production & Design featurette that is another great addition, original poster concepts & production design stills (over 50). The commentary track is very informative and unlike the first movie's commentary track, contains most of the people involved in the movie. The DVDrom section has two priceless additions. The full original shoot script of the movie, never before seen by most fans and the complete Chet Williamson novel (which can be printed). Both can be read while the movie plays.
Salvation contains three "making of" featurettes, one focusing on the birds which is fantastic, production design featurette and commentary track that unlike the previous two movie's commentary tracks, has the total representation of the main actor/production persons. It is a highly informative track. The DVDrom section features the script.
The Crow disk has 11 supplementals, COA has 7 and Salvation has 6. More than enough quality supplementals to purchase these disks.
on April 21, 2001
I just finished viewing the 2 DVD set of The Crow Collectors Edition. Everything about this set is better from the versions that were previously available to fans. The sound and picture are phenomenal, and the extras, like the extended footage feature, the behind-the-scene featurette, and the deleted scene montage is extra icing on this cake. However, the sad thing about this set, one that we have been waiting 7 years for already, is that the last interview given by Brandon Lee before his death WAS NOT included. I was quite saddened when I realized that this had not been included. Often imitated, never duplicated ... Brandon Lee was The Crow.
Two more things that were left out that could only have made this set better is a directors commentary, and most of the Skull Cowboy scenes that were deleted from the movie.
Who knows why movie companies do things the way they do. I guess we will have to wait for the next bigger and better release of The Crow on DVD to find out if they finally get it right. But for now, the Collectors Edition will do just fine.
on April 5, 2001
The Crow. Your link between the land of the living and the realm of the dead ... or in this case, your link between a really good movie and a couple mediocre sequels.
The Crow collector's series turns out to be a pretty good disc overall, with a couple unfortunate ommissions. The picture looks and sounds fantastic! The deleted scenes are great for anyone who has never seen them. The extended arcade games sequence shows us what truly "bad guys" these men are. I can't for the life of me figure out why they cut this scene down. The funboy extended scene was also great. It showed him going absolutely insane on drugs and you could see why he did the things he did. The shootout at Top Dollar's lair was the weakest of the three with just a few alternate takes and extended takes of the shootout, but it does have one great line delivered by Brandon that was not in the theatrical release. There is also a deleted scenes montage (similar to the one in Gladiator), which could have been great, but it looked like they put it together in about 5 minutes. Couple nice shots of Brandon though within.
The Jeff Most commentary is OK with some funny and interesting side stories, but he just talks and talks and talks. The point of a commentary is to tell little stories about what the viewer is watching at the time AND still be able to see and hear what is going on in the movie! Sheesh!
The most noticeable ommission from this dvd is NO DIRECTOR'S COMMENTARY. This is a real drag. According to David Schow, the main writer of the film, Alex Proyas had indeed completed a commentary for the film, which was to originally be included. There was some in-fighting between the producer, Miramax and Alex, which I won't go into, and ultimately Alex was pulled from the disc. VERY sad for the fans. Maybe in 2 years, for the Crow's 10 year anniversary, we will get a better disc with the Crow Chronicles and the Commentaries included this time. What do you say guys, can we put our feelings aside and do something for the fans for a change??
It would have also been nice to see the skull cowboy footage (shown very briefly in the deleted scenes montage) which is on the CD-Rom and also it would have been nice to see Brandon's "Complete" last interview. Even though this has been shown elsewhere, it's nice to have this stuff neatly packaged together. I hear that there is a moment where Brandon is talking about "safety" on movie sets and how no one should get hurt doing movies. Very eerie. No wonder Miramax won't give us this.
The featurette is not good. It's just a re-hash of interviews from 1993 with very little new material. This could of and should have been much better if the Crow Chronicles had been included, but it wasn't because of more Hollywood nonsense.
The James O'Barr interview is good and for the first time, James really opens up. He's just a little dry and uncomfortable in front of the camera, but if you can get past this, this is really pretty good.
Other extras: There are some alternate Crow poster concepts that were really cool to check out. I hope one of these shows up in auction sometime. The storyboards and conceptual art included was also neat to see, but ultimately a "one time" viewing in my opinion. It would have been nice to see some unpublished photos of Brandon and some behind the scenes stuff from on-set photographer Robert Zuckerman. I REALLY wish they would have included these. I don't have a dvd-rom so I was unable to check out the other goodies. I REALLY wish they would stop putting dvd-rom stuff on dvd's. Just put it on the disc so I can watch it all in ONE PLACE!!! Why do I have to watch most everything from my dvd player and then take the disc out and put it in my computer to see the rest? This has always been a stupid idea to me.
Overall this disc is worth it, but avoid the Crow box set. Crow: City of Angels has very little extras with no deleted scenes, so if you own it already, don't bother. Salvation is a good "rental" but ultimately not a very good movie.
on March 29, 2001
Brandon Lee is nothing short of amazing as the title character! Based on James O'Barr's cult underground comic book, the movie itself, is stunning. Directed by Alex Proyas (he also directed and co-wrote DARK CITY another favorite movie of mine) the film explores the themes of death, love and revenge with a style like no film before or since. Brandon Lee IS the character. He is able to display not only a wonderful physical strength but he also shows off his acting talent as well. The film is very dark and murky and may be a problem for some but fans of the comic should be very pleased. As for this new 2 disc set and its extras fans of the movie should be pleased. Standouts include: the look of the film, it is much "cleaner" on DVD as opposed to the VHS version, the deleted footage and the expanded featurette. Hearing Lee talk about life and death within the context of the movie was very errie. It is tragic that he never lived to see his fine portrayal on the big screen.
on April 14, 2001
"It is said that if a person is wronged, then a crow shall bring them back from the land of the dead to the land of the living to avenge there death..."
THE CROW tells the story of a rock musician Eric Raven(played by Brandon Lee) who is viciously killed, along with his girlfriend, by a gang of drug dealers, robbers, and hoodlums. On the anniversary of Eric's death, a crow brings him back to life, and he sets out to find the people responsible for killing him and to punish them.
This movie is dark, emotional, and a little humorus at times. The one thing that makes this movie memorable is the fact that Brandon Lee was killed by a misfired gun on the movie set while shooting some of his final scenes. The Special Edition DVD has a lot of extra goodies: deleted scenes, theatricl trailers, storyboards and stills from the movie, everything that a fan of THE CROW could want.
on November 13, 2003
Highlights: Brandon Lee's doomed performance, resonating dread and malice; astounding sets that possibly rank amongst the best in comic book adaptations (except, perhaps, the original Batman and Alex Proyas' later Dark City), non-stop full-throttle energy.
Lowpoints: Over-dramatized bits; lack of decent dialogue.
Conclusion: The Crow, famous for its protagonist's death during the shoot, is a startlingly uncompromising visual experience that will be cherished by fans of dark comic books, such as Spawn, The Punisher and even Alien. Watch it for its groundbreaking special effects, efficient rock soundtrack and possibly the most agreeably gothic atmosphere ever created in a film.
SEE THIS IF YOU LIKED: Spawn, Batman I, II, Dark City, Aliens.
DON'T SEE THIS IF YOU LIKED: Daredevil, Spiderman, or any other PG-13 atrocity out there.