Victims, Aren’t We All?

Eric Draven gives The Crow’s villain a righteous send off for a film so concentrated on vengeance. A revenge movie typically ends with the party responsible for a horrific crime shot or stabbed, slowly. Draven (Brandon Lee) wants his opponent to suffer too, but emotionally so.

Part of the post-Batman 1989 comic book movie surge that included The Shadow, Dick Tracy, and The Phantom (among many others), The Crow earned an elite, cult status for its ability to enshrine itself in pop culture. Released in 1994, The Crow benefited from grunge and death metal, imbuing itself with a gothic ferocity that seamlessly hides simple if lyrical storytelling.

It’s visually striking, and familiar now, if only because The Crow influenced countless imitators

The Crow is about poverty and pain, how love can temporarily blind us to inequality, while simultaneously exploiting older teens and college age adult’s urge to defy social order. Opening by panning a city on fire (one of many breathtakingly abstract, distorted inner city visions), The Crow wastes no time in deconstructing contemporary addiction, criminality, and a society’s dwindling empathy for others. It’s visually striking, and familiar now, if only because The Crow influenced countless imitators.

Hampered by budget and what was seemingly a curse on-set, The Crow benefits from both, forcing style through restriction. The Crow never seems to take place anywhere other than a few blocks of decrepit, dirty exteriors. Yet, by remaining so tightly invested, those locations take on a naturally mythical aesthetic.

Brandon Lee’s death amplified The Crow, a tragic means of putting more eyes on the film after Paramount sold the property to Miramax. Ethically, it’s a debate without end, but without Miramax salvaging the broken production, The Crow’s lasting influence wouldn’t have redirected the genre away from its cartoonish pulpy action. Lee’s performance didn’t establish vigilante anti-heroes, but The Crow hit at the right cultural moment to redirect the tone required to make such heroes empathetic even as they kill.

Video

Steeped dense, hard shadows, The Crow’s visual splendor was made for UHD. Flawless black levels greet every scene, their density impeccable. With so little light, contrast isn’t a strong suit, but it’s functional where needed. Say, a fire or lightning strike, where either produce an intense pop.

Thankfully, Paramount treats The Crow properly, from the exquisite sharpness to precise grain replication. Early digital composites have unavoidable issues, but the rest maintains a consistent clarity and precision. Resulting detail finds brilliant fine detail on rotting streets or buildings. Facial definition stands out where possible too, a significant boost over prior HD discs.

Not exactly a colorful film, the faded, dry primaries stay reserved for visions/flashbacks/dreams. Vibrancy does excel in those instances though as the style and aesthetics take over.

Audio

A hefty DTS-HD mix spends much of the runtime throbbing to accentuate the music or score. It’s rumbly, if a touch too loose. In 5.1, rears engage often throughout the soundstage, rain and thunder seemingly a constant presence. The split isn’t that impressive, but it’s notable.

Extras

Paramount includes two new bonuses, in addition to legacy features. The first explores The Crow’s design, the other a unique (if clearly commercial) piece that focuses on Sideshow Collectible’s process. Two older commentaries, a BTS featurette, extended/deleted footage, and profile on writer James O’Barr round this disc out.

Full disclosure: This Blu-ray was provided to us for review. This has not affected the editorial process. For information on how we handle review material, please visit our about us page to learn more.

The Crow
  • Video
  • Audio
  • Extras
4

Movie

A grungy comic book flick ruminating on death, The Crow left a lasting impact on a subset of pop culture.

Sending
User Review
4 (2 votes)

The following six screen shots serve as samples for our subscription-exclusive set of 35 full resolution uncompressed 4K screen shots grabbed directly from the UHD:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *