Figured this could get its own thread since it’s pretty much a done deal. I never really got into these movies but I guess they’ve been popular enough to sustain a franchise over the last few decades.
There’s only been one crow movie, with Brandon Lee.
That is a fact, there was only one Crow movie with Brandon Lee.
There’s only been one crow movie. This movie happened to star Brandon Lee.
Bill is my favorite Skarsgard! He’s someone who’s done an amazing job and is being recognized more and more, I notice.
Although isn’t a Bill Skarsgard Crow kind of like a good alignment Pennywise? Whatever the case, I’m all for Bill Skarsgard in scary clown makeup killing people. If they deserve it, all the better!
The Crow gave me a childhood love of the wrestler Sting, or vice versa; time is an obscuring mist that withers truth.
Also the soundtrack was great. If the reboot hits that note, I’m in.
I forgot about the Crow soundtrack! It had a couple of really solid songs fromThe Cure and Violent Femmes as I recall.
Please bring back Michael Wincott. Or at least his voice.
Oh, Rupert Sanders directing…
Recapturing The Crow’s success would be extremely difficult with even a visionary filmmaker at the helm as so many of it’s unique qualities were a by-product of its infamously terrible filming process. After Lee’s death, Walon Green, the writer of the Wild Bunch, was brought on during the production shut-down to help re-envision the film, which resulted in the little kid becoming the narrator of the story, giving what could’ve been a fairly standard, if bleak, action film a melancholic fairy tale quality. Proyas also turned the unfilmed Lee portions into romantic silent film-style montages that he could shoot with body doubles, including those emo guitar solo’s Draven plays on the rooftop of his burnt out apartment, which serves the eclectic industrial-meets-goth tone well. If you’ve ever seen the original script that Julien Temple was going to direct you’ll know this film could’ve very well been completely forgettable.
I think it was one of the first studio films, originally made for Paramount before they dropped it, to lean heavily into the goth sub-culture, which when paired with the director and cinematographer Dariusz Wolski’s reverence for German Expressionism and gothic tropes (so many cemeteries, churches, gargoyles and direct references to Poe’s The Raven) and Lee’s instance on including some Hong Kong-style gunfights created an aesthetic that perfectly captured the moodiness and performative angst of alternative popular media in 1994. The creative team somehow managed to get a studio on board with shooting basically a black and white comic book adaptation, albeit with flashes of red for blood and flames. Those aesthetics hold up.
There was no location shooting, with everything shot on studio sets in North Carolina, and outside of the funky but necessary digitally imposed shots of Lee onto body doubles, almost all of the film was shot in-camera using forced perspective that frequently lends its cast strange and distorted features, which is great when you have an amazing, scenery chewing supporting cast of baddies including Michael Wincott, Tony Todd, a sneering David Patrick Kelly, and Kelly Wand’s favorite Bai Ling. Behind the camera, so many went on to do amazing things from producing The Matrix, becoming a production designer for Spielberg and David Fincher, shooting films for Ridley Scott as his go to DP, and the fight coordinator went on to direct a little film series called John Wick. That’s ignoring the incredibly screen presence of Brandon Lee. I wish that guy got to do more films. :(
Assembling comparable talent on that level again is going to be a tall order.
Great post, Mr. Tibbs. I haven’t seen The Crow in decades. Or Dark City, by the way. I should catch up on my early Proyas!
And probably not something we should expect. Given the director’s pedigree, I’m wondering if they’re going to skew this from its Goth roots to something more palatable to tween girls. I know if I were a studio gunning for box office dollars, that’s the angle I’d take for this “supernatural actioner”: use the original Crow’s name to appeal to the parents, and make a Twilighty fable about undead love/revenge for their kids.
Okay, now I’m grossing myself out.
I’m with you on this, there’s no reason to raise such an ugly spectre in service of making money. We don’t need another Twilight Zone movie with a helicopter scene, for example.
This was a fascinating breakdown; I appreciate the extra context. My best hope here is that anyone hopping on for a reboot presumably consumed the finished product that incorporated all those strange compromises and last-minute changes, and (hopefully) fell in love with the whole summed from those parts, rather than what we might have wound up with in a happier universe where Lee survived.
Time will tell. . .
I really fucking loved The Crow as an angsty teenager. It is one of two films I’ve walked out of the theater straight to the ticket window to purchase another ticket for the next showing. (The other was The Matrix of course.) Fantastic post @MrTibbs and it’s exactly what you wrote there: the fairytale quality, goth sensibilities (can’t rain all the time), mournful guitar, Brandon Lee’s tragic coolness (to this day when I shake rain out of my wavy locks I’m imitating Eric Draven), the martial arts gunplay, and scene chewing villains (murder is easy). It was very clearly a piece of schlock that somehow, magically, was beautiful in a grotesque way. I have no hope for any remake (the sequels were all garbage), though it would be great to have something that can capture the same magic while updating the film for '20’s sensibilities (e.g. maybe don’t fridge the girlfriend.)
Have to add Dead Souls by NiN into the mix there.
Thanks guys! Those compromises, as Armando pointed out, were essential in The Crow being more than just an average genre pic. When revisiting the film, I think people will appreciate its lack of exposition; the whole thing zips by at a comfortable 90 minutes. The presentation of the superpowers is just inferred, likely because they didn’t shoot the necessary scenes, there’s no tedious moment were someone explains that the crow is the source of Draven’s powers. I hope the new iteration at the very does their own thing and create a unique visual identity for the film.
Early Proyas is the way to go. Both The Crow and Dark City share some cross-pollination at least in terms of aesthetic and thematic inspirations. I suspect he wanted to make Dark City first but couldn’t so tried to bring his studio debut into closer alignment with his interests. Unfortunately, either because he’s working under the constraints of blockbuster budgets or maybe being on less sure footing updating genres outside of the gothic, I don’t recommend his 21st century work. He did, however, create a series of self-funded oneiric short films shot in 35mm black and white that were brilliant, but I don’t think they’ve been re-released.
I forgot Proyas directed the first Crow. I really liked Dark City.
Medicines Time Baby II is superior to the Time Baby III version on the soundtrack (which I owned).
More than just embracing Goth, this movie wound up with a really peculiar feel and a remake is perhaps likely, due to studio pressure and lots of other stuff, to not have any sort of peculiar feel at all. And that’s too bad. From the, I don’t know, “industrial” (that’s how I think of it) and run down feel of the world (a hallmark of Dark City too, I guess). To the way the story is told. To the bad guys. I love the cast of bad guys in the movie. From Walcott on down to the street crew in his employ, lead by David Patrick Kelly. Energetic and interesting and cruel well beyond the atrocities they commit at the opening of the movie. They’re irredeemable without being one-note.
This movie is the opposite of the Egypt movie.
Also, I love Dark City.
Apparently the original might be streaming on Paramount+? Hmm…
Ha ha, you saw Gods and Monsters!