on April 14, 2002
This DVD has it all, and is well worth the extra price. First of all there is a great movie. The Crow is a cult classic, but I don't mean to demean it at all by calling it one. Based on the comic book of the same name, The Crow has a great premise (a man comes back from the dead to avenge the death of the woman he loves) and is made well. It's a dark film made in muted, dark colors, almost black and white. The action sequences are great (after all, Brandon Lee is Bruce Lee's son). This would have been Brandon's break-out role if he hadn't died. It also has one of my favorite fight scenes, the shoot out at Top Dollar's. And Ernie Hudson is surprisingly good in his role in the film. And a great soundtrack.
The DVD is loaded with extras. There is commentary by Jeff Most (producer and executive music producer of the Crow movies) and John Shirley (co-writer of The Crow). Their commentary is almost as good as the film. You get a lot of insight into the movie, how it was made, and why certain choices were made. This is what DVD commentaries should be like. (It is a shame that Brandon Lee was unable to do a commentary, it would have been very interesting to see what he had to say about the film). Most's commentary is very informative and very entertaining. My only fault with the commentary is that there wasn't much on Brandon's death. I really expected to hear more about it, since it is such a huge part of the mythos of the film. Also on disc one is the DVD-ROM extras. There is the script that you read the same time the film is playing. There is a trivia game (which really isn't that great and is about the entire Crow franchise and not just this movie). You can also watch the "enhanced playback track" which has trivia and other features as the film plays.
In addition to the usual production stills, posters, and (five) story boards (one of those is the story board for the Shoot Out at Top Dollar's and it is very interesting to see), Disc 2 contains a Behind the Scenes featurette that runs about 15 minutes. It is not a making of, rather those involved with the movie (including Brandon Lee) discuss the movie and concept. There is a 30 minute Portrait of James O'Barr (creator of The Crow comic book) which is O'Barr in his basement talking to someone holding a video camcorder. You get a lot of insight into his life, his work, the movie, Hollywood, and where many of his ideas for The Crow came from. There is something called the Deleted Footage Montage, but it really isn't deleted footage. There is some deleted footage in the montage, but most of it is outtakes, alternate takes, behind the scenes footage, and what looks like scenes that weren't deleted from the movie. It's a touching `tribute' to Brandon Lee, but not what it should have been. And finally there are three extended scenes (The Arcade Bombing; Fun Boy Fight; Shoot Out at Top Dollar's). What makes these so interesting is that you see what the original footage was and how they edited the scene to make it move so fast paced. You see the decision process in removing unessential footage to keep the movie from bogging down.
So you have a great movie and some really good extras on this DVD. Definitely one that should be in your library.
For those of you don't know this movie is Brandon Lee's last. Tragically, he died during the last days of filming. This film would have catapulted Brandon Lee into major-stardom.
Knowing this only makes the movie darker, sadder, and more heart-wrenching.
Based on the comic book series of the same name by James O'Barr, the movie stays close to its comic book roots. Dark imagery, up-close shots, and stark contrasts add to the comic book feel and gothic look of the movie. The music in the film, both soundtrack and songs, convey thoughts and imagery.
The Crow is a story of love and revenge, loss and retribution. It is a portrait of the struggle between the pain of seeing the past, and the peace of gaining closure. Director Alex Proyas did a wonderful job of capturing this struggle on film.
While the bulk of the supporting cast is at the very least believable, Michael Wincott is disturbingly creepy as the main antagonist "Top Dollar." Ernie Hudson, here playing a cop who thinks he's seeing a ghost, delivers an even performance.
But the movie is ALL Brandon Lee. He brought his martial arts background and talent to this film and gave 200%. He was also the movie's fight choreographer. This means: sit up and watch!
This movie is 80% action, 5% comedy, and 15% heart-wrenching, tear-jerking tragedy. Be prepared to sit on the edge of your seat, and use up a box of kleenex.
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 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 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 December 15, 1999
This was my favorite movie when I was 16 years old. I love the story, the characters, the cast. The film is very dark, literally and figuratively. Still though, in the midst of that darkness is the love story of Eric and Shelly. Their murders spawn one of the most twisted and bittersweet revenge-from-the-grave stories I have ever seen. The love story is a central figure to Eric's return, but it doesn't weigh down the movie by going into the sappiness territory. You really feel for Brandon Lee's character, and you can't help but cheer him on as he wastes those punk losers who murdered him. Michael Wincott (playing yet ANOTHER villain, what's with that?) is perfect as the sadistic Top Dollar, and I love the little girl on the skateboard. The soundtrack is great too--a combination of industrial, alternative, and a very haunting score. The ending of the movie always makes me cry. I won't give it away, but it does give you a sense of hope in this dark and cynical world. I love this movie and would recommend it as much for the drama as for the action sequences, which are good too. A beautiful tribute to Brandon Lee's memory.
on January 28, 2001
Sadly, this film was thrust into the stuff of legends first by the untimely demise of its star, Brandon Lee. Then by it's beautiful story. The story should have been enough, Lee should have lived to make other films. But that's just wishing in the wind.
The story of a murdered man's return one year after his death to exact vengeance on those who killed him and his wife is based on the popular comic book. The idea of love transcending the borders of Life/Death allow the violence to be overlooked, if not accepted as just. Filled with darkness and rage, Eric Draven (Lee) seeks out those who killed him and his wife, guided by a psychopomp crow. Brandon Lee's portrayal of the tortured spirit is nothing but masterful. Alex Proyas's direction is both superb and haunting. The script by John Shirley brilliant. Not only was The Crow one of the best and most memorable movies made in the 1990's but it did a wonderful thing in this age of teenage illiteracy, it prompted teens to seek out and read the source material. Even if it was just graphic novels, kids were reading. Interested in the written word. Because they had been shown that magic could be found on the page. A killer soundtrack didn't hurt either. A movie that will one day be hailed as a classic. To me it already is.
on November 6, 2003
The Crow - An absolutely brilliant film, and one of the best adaptations of a book (or graphic novel, for that matter) I've seen. James O'Barr's twisted world is conveyed perfectly. My only issue with the film stems solely from my unbridled passion for the book: Eric isn't nearly as demented in the film as he ought to be. Book!Eric had absolutely and completely lost his mind in his hunger for revenge, where Film!Eric was a teeny bit twisted sometimes. This is easily ignored, though, in light of the excellent acting, directing, cinematography, etc.
The Crow: City of Angels - My personal favourite of the three. Sarah, the little girl from the first film, returns as an incredibly hhhhot young woman. She guides Ash, the new Crow, seamlessly bringing in the mythology and spirituality of the first film. Iggy Pop costars as The Villian With The Coolest Death Scene Ever, exuding insanity and badassitude. The visuals set the perfect mood, somehow transforming L.A. into a believeably dark and broken city, and the imagery and themes of the Day of the Dead celebrations running throughout the film are perfect.
The Crow: Salvation - I didn't like this film nearly as well as the other two, mostly because it didn't bring in any of the totemic and mystical themes for which the series ought to be known, and because the high-school-boyfriend concept seemed a little immature compared to the other Crows. However, it was deliciously dark and violent, and I'm a sucker for the mystery element, something that the other Crow films lacked.
This boxed set is definitely worth one's time, if one can resist the urge to pick at the minor flaws - just sit back and enjoy the ride.
And one should definitely do a search in the books section for 'The Crow'.
I splurged and treated myself to this set on my last birthday (Devil's Night.) I wanted to have all three films available should I feel the need to watch them again. The concept of supernatural justice has always appealed to me- it seems to be the only kind that really exists....
I wasn't dissappointed in this set. It contains all three of the "collectors series" versions, which means that they are packed full of special features. The profile of James O' Barr the creator of the original comic series was especially good. Plus, there is a special little booklet that gives an outline of the making of the films.
I really can't quite get the resentment of some people over the last two films. I mean, the original comics were about the reoccuring theme of different Crows and different injustices to be righted. Sure, the original film is by far the best, almost supernaturally superior, but the other two also manged to stay true to the vision.
on September 2, 2003
I'll be the first to admit that when this movie was released, I wasn't in a rush to see it. Needless to say, I ate my words.
I absolutely love this film!
"The Crow" tells the story of Eric Draven, a young rock star who's life is devoted to his art and his fiancee, Shelly Webster. When hoodlums brutally murder them both in their apartment on Halloween, Eric is resurrected and returns to avenge his and Shelly's murderers one by one. The Crow is born.
Yes, the movie is dark, gloomy and violent, but that doesn't take away from its substance. This movie has heart. It tells everyone that true love survives even in death.
Brandon Lee, forever remembered now for is accidental and ill-timed death while this film was in production, has never looked so beautiful. He plays this tortured soul so effortlessly but still adds a little humor to the somber mood. The action is great, the dialogue is great. In a nutshell, everything about this movie is great. You'd be missing out if you refused to see this.
As Eric Draven said..."It's not a good day to be a bad guy."