Movie News 5.12.13: 'The Crow' remake

photo©fanpop.com

photo©fanpop.com

‘The Crow’ remake signs its Eric Draven in up-and-comer Luke Evans.

Evans can be seen in the upcoming ‘Fast and Furious 6’ and may be known most recently for his turn as Zeus in director Tarsem Singh’s ‘Immortals.’

Released in 1994 to movie audiences and starring Brandon Lee in his final film role, ‘The Crow’ met with box office success and also garnered critical praise for the dark and vengeful tale about a musician who returns from the dead to exact justice upon those who killed him and his fiancé.

Based on the graphic novel by James O’Barr, ‘The Crow’ tragically cost star Brandon Lee his life while shooting scenes for the film. A “dummy bullet” or “blank” became lodged in the chamber of a prop gun and actually discharged into Lee’s abdomen and fatally injured him.

Director Alex Proyas was later quoted as saying, “I never wanted to finish that movie.”

“…my friend had died and that’s all I could see.”

The story itself, as conceived by author James O’Barr, was borne from tragedy. O’Barr had begun working on the original story as a way to deal with the loss and grief of losing his girlfriend in an auto accident wherein she was killed by a drunken driver.

Fans of both the graphic novel and the film version have elevated ‘The Crow’ to cult status through their continued passion for and devotion to both projects. Numerous websites exist on the web dedicated to Brandon Lee, the film version, and the original source graphic novel.

What a daunting task for film director F. Javier Gutierrez to accept. An unknown director to US filmgoers coupled with a slightly better known actor portraying Eric (The Crow) Draven.

Maybe not.

The original story, as envisioned by O’Barr is much darker than the filmed version. The Alex Proyas film took on added gravitas as a result of the sadness surrounding the loss of Lee. The fact that Brandon Lee was perfect for the role contributed to the legend of ‘The Crow’ as Lee’s final performance was fantastic.

The strength of the story is simple. ‘The Crow’ is about the power of love and karmic justice. And overcoming any obstacle, including death itself, to protect the ones we love.

Acknowledging that ‘The Crow’ benefits from having such powerful, simple themes (albeit dressed up as a supernatural revenge tale) is what may allow the director of the remake to have success.

Casting a largely unknown actor such as Evans in the role is a huge benefit. How many people had really seen Brandon Lee in any movie prior to ‘The Crow’? The fact that Lee wasn’t an established “movie star” at the time lent credibility to his performance and allowed the audience a further suspension of disbelief. We believed Lee was ‘The Crow’ because most fans hadn’t seen him as anything else.

When stars such as Bradley Cooper and James McAvoy, and most recently Tom Hiddleston (Loki in The Avengers movie) were attached, I admit that I had very little interest in Hollywood defiling one of my fonder cinematic experiences by remaking the movie.

Evans has good screen presence. After watching Evans as Zeus in ‘Immortals’ I found myself watching the credits to find out who he and Henry Cavill were.

As for F. Javier Gutierrez, his most recent film ‘Before the Fall’ is an atmospheric and gritty film about love and redemption while facing incredible obstacles. ‘Before the Fall’ is a Spanish movie about the decisions that a small group of people must make when confronted with a global catastrophe. That film has terrific visual scope, yet expertly weaves in some intimate dramatic storytelling.

To read a companion article reviewing ‘Before the Fall’ click here.

The choices that the producers for ‘The Crow’ remake in selecting Gutierrez and Evans to revive the story of Eric Draven and Shelly Webster’s star-crossed love have actually made me reset my expectations for the remake.

Movies that resonate with me are always “story first.” I read the graphic novel by O’Barr when it first came out and loved it. I saw ‘The Crow’ with Brandon Lee on opening night and loved that. The story and how the talent delivers it…makes or breaks this remake. I’m looking forward to watching.

‘The Crow’ is scheduled to begin production in 2014.

‘The Crow’ trailer 1994

 

 

 

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