Director: Alex Proyas
Cast: Brandon Lee, Michael Wincott, Ernie Hudson
Review by Brian M. Sammons
I love The Crow. I loved The Crow before it was cool to love The Crow. Before goth was cool (if it ever was) and before it became an infamous film for the tragic accident that claimed the life of Brandon Lee. I loved The Crow when it was only a very independent, and quite obscure comic book by a sad and troubled man from Detroit, James O’Barr. And I still love The Crow now, even after all the truly horrible sequels it has spawned. So imagine how happy I was when I got this new Blu-ray edition of The Crow just in time for Halloween, and if you don’t know why Halloween is a perfect time to release this movie, then you really need to sit your butt down and watch it.
However my happiness over old movies making the jump to HD has often been dashed to bits over shoddy transfers and far from special editions. Would this new Blu-ray be something to celebrate, or something to morn? Well grab some black clothes, some white makeup, your big black bird, not to mention a bunch of guns, and let’s find out.
Brandon Lee plays an up and coming rock musician named Eric Draven who, on the eve of his wedding, had his life literally shattered by some thugs who raped and murdered his wife and killed him. That’s right, they actually murdered Eric, but that’s not going to stop him from getting justice. One year after his death, Eric returns from the grave, aided by a special crow spirit guide that has granted him invincibility, and leads him to those responsible for his murder. So begins a dark, moody, bloody, gothic, and often darkly comedic tale of revenge as Eric, literally driven mad with grief, gets justice and uncovers a deeper mystery of why he and his girlfriend were murdered.
The Crow is a great revenge film, with a touch of the occult, truly despicable villains to loath, and it all but drips with dark atmosphere. Sure there were goths before this film, but after it came out no goth worth his or her black eyeliner didn’t have the poster on their wall. I guess some of that could have been the depressing infamy associated with it, due to the accidental death of rising star Brandon Lee, but it’s also the look and the very fine soundtrack. But despite its undeniably moody goth bona fides, there is also some light in this story and the promise of love everlasting, even from beyond the grave. Really, this movie has it all – love, death, gunfights, kung fu, rock n’ roll, and a bit of melancholy as you can see the star that Brandon might have been, but sadly he would never be.
This new Blu-ray from Lionsgate and Miramax has a crisp, clear picture which is a very good thing since The Crow is such a dark film. No, I’m not talking about subject matter; I’m talking about lighting here as the vast majority of this movie takes place at night. So while color is still kept to a minimum here, the darks are deep and rich and the overall picture is damn good looking. Unfortunately the extras are nothing to crow about (ha). They’re not bad, and there’s a nice collection of them, but they are all from the previous 2 disc DVD, there’s nothing new here at all and that always bums me out a bit.
Anyway, what you get here, while old, is still pretty good. There’s a pretty good audio commentary track with director Proyas and your standard behind the scenes featurette that runs just over 16 minutes, with interviews from a whole slew of people who worked on the film, including the late Brandon Lee. There’s a 33 minute interview with original Crow creator, comic book artist and author James O’Barr that’s honestly quite depressing. The rest of the extras are the usual suspects of extended and deleted scenes, trailers, storyboards, and a poster and still gallery.
The new Crow Blu-ray is a pretty good buy. While it only offers a new and much improved picture over the old DVDs, you can pick it up for a good price from almost every retailer out there. If you already own the last 2 DVD set, then you might want to hold off, unless you are a total videophile. If you don’t already have this goth, revenge, love story in your collection, or like me you just had the first bare bones DVD release, then consider this a strong recommendation.