It has come to my attention that a remake of The Crow is imminent. I would like to make my position of The Crow (1994) very clear, I fucking love this film. To me, it is the
greatest work of art in cinematic history and it will remain my favourite film forever. So given my position, I am positively outraged that this abomination of a film
is even being considered and that someone thought it was a good idea.
The idea of doing a remake of The Crow has actually been around for a while. The film has been wallowing in development hell for nearly 10 years, partly because every lead actor
and director kept dropping out of the project. Firstly, Stephen Norrington (Blade) was all raring to go with writing and directing, then dropped out. After that, Juan Carlos
Fresnadillo (28 Weeks Later) stepped in to direct, then stepped out. Next up was F. Javier Gutierrez (Before The Fall) to come on board to direct and now he is an executive producer. The actual director is now Corin Hardy (The Hallow) who was brought on board, fired and then brought on board again.
So what about the actors who were all set to play the doomed rock star Eric Draven. Mark Wahlberg was in the mix for a while, so was Bradley Cooper, and Luke Evans, then Jack
Huston and now the guy that is in the lime light is a bloke called Jason Momoa. Know him? Nope, nor do I. Apparently he was in Game of Thrones and he plays Aquaman in some films. Quite frankly, with this many actors and directors who have dropped out, maybe they should have taken this as a sign that this film shouldn’t be made.
Let’s go back to my one rule about remakes. Remakes are only acceptable if the original had some good ideas but were maybe hampered by financial issues or technical issues. This is not the case. I watched The Crow again when I heard of the coming remake and I made a list of a few core elements that this new one couldn’t possibly improve.
Set in Detroit, the film has a very dark and grungy atmosphere which is in keeping with the dark subject matter of the films plot. It’s also mostly set at night and is raining all
the time. The atmosphere also carries the theme of this area of the city which is run by Top Dollar who is charge of the gang that kill Eric and Shelly. The sets have a very
industrial vibe along with a nightclub called ‘TRASH’ and a bar called ‘The Pit’. The back alleys are littered with bin fires to keep the homeless warm. Even the flats are very
downtrodden to give the sense that this is a poor area of the city. All of this sets the stage for Eric to enact his revenge.
The first film had a phenomenal soundtrack and score with songs such as Nine Inch Nails cover of ‘Dead Souls’ which was originally done by Joy Division. Throughout the film,
one piece of dialogue is spoken by Eric ‘It can’t rain all the time’. This is a reference to the band that the character is in ‘The Hangmans Joke’ in which he is the front-man and one of the their songs is ‘It can’t rain all the time’. So of course over the credits, ‘It Can’t Rain All the Time’ by Jane Siberry is played. Also, The Cure agreed to write a song for the film and it’s called ‘Burn’ which is played whilst Eric transforms himself into The Crow. The film contains spectacular orchestral pieces which are played throughout emotional and powerful sequences. Two of my favourites are the scene where Eric says goodbye to Sarah in the cemetery and when Eric comes back to his flat and relives his final moments.
In my opinion, The Crow contains some of the best dialogue between characters that I have ever witnessed. The characters are well rounded and consistent plus there are some
quality one liners delivered by all of the cast. Simply quoting them on this page wouldn’t do them justice. As far as these well rounded characters go, some of them do seem a
little eccentric, but in a good way. A prime example would be main villain, Top Dollar (Michael Wincott). He has the classic ‘villain’ traits what with being charismatic, being
very soft spoken one minute and screaming the next. In his case, his actions speak louder than his words. However, the majority of the fabulous dialogue is left to The Crow
himself with the taunting of his victims. He has a habit of reciting poetry to his pray and even offering words of wisdom. One example that I can think of is when he goes after
Funboy, whose girlfriend is Sarah’s mother. She’s also a drug addict who has left her daughter on the streets with no one to care for her, except for Shelly and Eric until they
were killed. With a few words from Eric and a quick detox, she is back at home and cooking breakfast for her daughter. One thing that I did notice was that the gang were killed
by the things that they love the most. The knife wielding Tin Tin was killed by his own blades; drug addict, Funboy was killed with a morphine overdose and had a load of needles
stuck in his chest whilst car and fire enthusiast, T-Bird was blown up in his own car. Skank was thrown out of a window but in all fairness, Eric was in a hurry.
There is no point in an amazing script if there are no amazing actors to bring it to life. In the few scenes that they were together for, I have never seen better onscreen chemistry between two characters than with Sofia Shinas (Shelly) and Brandon Lee. Also up for fine praise is Rochelle Davis (Sarah) and Ernie Hudson (Officer Albrecht). Also in the short time they were onscreen but gave a fabulous performance were the actors who portrayed the gang. Michael Wincott (Top Dollar), Lawrence Mason (Tin Tin), David Patrick Kelly (T-Bird), Skank (Angel David) and the late Michael Massee (Funboy) all gave superior portrayals as the Detroit gang that terrorise the citizens and blow up anything in site. Even with a combination of all this talent, special praise needs to go to Mr Brandon Lee whose supreme acting abilities brought forward a character who is vulnerable, sympathetic and a total badass all in one go. This is the role that he is known for and he performed it with great respect and grace.
I have read that this remake will be closer to the graphic novel in concept, rather than an out in out remake of the original film so that would make it a reboot. I will just say that even if that does turn out to be the case, wouldn’t it just be easier and cheaper to read the graphic novel? The Crow (1994) diverted somewhat from the graphic novel, giving it
an identity of it’s own and an identity well worth watching. The only thing that I can say with some degree of certainty is that any attempt to out-do the original is completely pointless because it will lack what made the original special i.e all of the above. It will be cheaper to buy the original on DVD than to buy a ticket to see a poor imitation of a film that was perfected over 20 years ago.
In summary, I had hoped that a remake of this masterpiece would stay in development hell where it belongs and my words will go unheeded. I will never understand the mentality of remaking something that doesn’t need to be remade. The Crow (1994) is solid gold and well worth 90 minutes of anyone’s time. I believe that there are certain films that should never be remade and I have stood by and watched as all of my favourite films were butchered and repackaged as something new. This one is the one that hurts. This remake will never live up to the high standards of the original and IF it gets made, I will be the first to tear it to pieces. So there.