The Crow based on the graphic novel of the same name by James O'Barr, is a dark fantasy action movie released in May 13, 1994. Starring the late Brandon Lee as Eric Draven as he sets out to avenge his fiance from beyond the grave as he is resurrected from the grave through the power of the crow. The film was directed by Alex Proyas and written by John Shirley and David J. Schow.
On October 30, Devil's Night in Detroit, Police Sergeant Albrecht (Ernie Hudson) investigates a crime scene where Shelly Webster (Sofia Shinas) has been beaten and raped, and her fiancé Eric Draven (Brandon Lee) has died on the street outside after being stabbed, shot, and thrown out the window. The couple were to be married the following day on Halloween.
One year later, a crow lands on Eric's grave stone and taps it; later that night, Eric comes back to life and climbs out of his grave. Eric goes to his old apartment and has flashbacks to the murders, remembering that those responsible were T-Bird and his gang: Tin Tin, Funboy, and Skank. Eric soon discovers that any wounds he receives heal immediately. Guided by the crow, he sets out to avenge his and Shelly's murders by killing the perpetrators.
Why It Rocks
- Good acting especially from Brandon Lee.
- Fast paced action.
- Shadowy and dark visuals that works with the Gothic style of the film.
- Tragic and somber story.
- Pays tribute to the late Brandon Lee who died while making the film.
- Deep emotional depth.
- Excellent soundtrack and music score.
- Well designed dark city landscape.
- Good cinematography.
- All the sequels were inferior.
- It changed much of the source material like rather than being shot to the head by criminals but fall to his death in a house.
The Crow received generally positive reviews. It has an approval rating of 82% on Rotten Tomatoes based on 50 reviews and an average rating of 7 out of 10. The critical consensus states: "Filled with style and dark, lurid energy, The Crow is an action-packed visual feast that also has a soul in the performance of the late Brandon Lee." The film also has a score of 71 out of 100 on Metacritic based on 14 critics, indicating "Generally favorable reviews."
Reviewers praised the action and visual style. Rolling Stone called it a "dazzling fever dream of a movie", Caryn James writing for The New York Times called it "a genre film of a high order, stylish and smooth", and Roger Ebert called it "a stunning work of visual style". The Los Angeles Times praised the film also.
Lee's death was alleged to have a melancholic effect on viewers; Desson Howe of The Washington Post wrote that Lee "haunts every frame" and James Berardinelli called the film "a case of 'art imitating death', and that specter will always hang over The Crow". Berardinelli called it an appropriate epitaph to Lee, Howe called it an appropriate sendoff, and Ebert stated that not only was this Lee's best film, but it was better than any of his father's (Bruce Lee). Critics generally thought that this would have been a breakthrough film for Lee, although James disagreed. The changes made to the film after Lee's death were noted by reviewers, most of whom saw them as an improvement. Howe said that it had been transformed into something compelling. James, although terming it a genre film, said that it had become more mainstream because of the changes.
The film was widely compared to other films, particularly Tim Burton's Batman movies and Blade Runner. Critics described The Crow as a darker film than the others; Ebert called it a grungier and more forbidding story than those of Batman and Blade Runner, and Todd McCarthy of Variety wrote that the generic inner city of Detroit portrayed in The Crow "makes Gotham City look like the Emerald City".
The distinctive features of the film for most critics were the fast-paced action and visual style. The cinematography by Dariusz Wolski and the production design by Alex McDowell were praised. While the plot and characterization were found to be lacking, these faults were considered to be overcome by the action and visual style The cityscape designed by McDowell and the production team was described by McCarthy as rendered imaginatively. The film's comic book origins were noted, and Ebert called it the best version of a comic book universe he had seen. McCarthy agreed, calling it "one of the most effective live-actioners ever derived from a comic strip". Critics felt that the soundtrack complemented this visual style, calling it blistering, edgy and boisterous. Graeme Revell was praised for his "moody" score; Howe said that it "drapes the story in a postmodern pall."
Negative reviews of the film were generally similar in theme to the positive ones but said that the interesting and "OK" special effects did not make up for the "superficial" plot, "badly-written" screenplay and "one-dimensional" characters.
The Crow is mentioned in Empire's 2008 list of the 500 greatest movies of all time; it ranked at number 468. It has since become a cult film. The World Championship Wrestling star Sting got inspiration for his "crow" character from the movie.