A month ago Sony Pictures announced that the long-developed remake of 1994's The Crow has been scheduled for an October 11th, 2019 release. Since 2008 various filmmakers have attempted to reimagine The Crow with a plethora of actors having been suggested for the title role of Eric Draven, including Tom Hiddleston (Thor Ragnarok), Luke Evans (Dracula Untold), Bradley Cooper (Limitless), Mark Wahlberg (Transformers: The Last Knight), Channing Tatum (21 Jump Street), Ryan Gosling (Blade Runner 2049), James McAvoy (Split), Alexander Skarsgard (The Legend of Tarzan), Norman Reedus (The Walking Dead), Sam Witwer (Star Wars: The Force Unleashed), Jack Huston (Ben Hur), Nicholas Hoult (Mad Max Fury Road), Jack O'Connell (Money Monster), and more recently Jason Momoa (Aquaman). In 2013 The Crow's creator James O'Barr stating his displeasure in talks of remaking the 1994 movie stating...
"I don't have great expectations. I think the reality is, no matter who you get to star in it, or if you get Ridley Scott to direct it and spend 200 million dollars, you're still not gonna top what Brandon Lee and Alex Proyas did in that first ten million dollar movie."
However shortly after making the above statement O'Barr became attached to the remake project as a creative consultant, and since 2015 has been championing the remake, assuring fans that the movie will be respectful of the original movie, Lee's memory and the graphic novel upon which the film was based. Currently, Davis Films, Highland Film Group, and Electric Shadow are to finance and produce the remake, which will be distributed by Sony Pictures with Corin Hardy (The Hallow) directing and Jason Momoa cast as Eric Draven. The movie is rumored to be titled The Crow Reborn.
However many fans, this one included, believe that some movies should never be remade. Movies such as Ridley Scott's Alien, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey, Steven Spielberg's E.T., George Lucas' Star Wars, and Alex Proyas' The Crow. Though the latter may seem initially out of place amongst the other movies mentioned, there are three key reasons why The Crow should not be remade...
#1 Brandon Lee's Legacy
The legacy of The Crow is the main part of the reason for which the movie should not be remade. The behind-the-scenes tragedy of the 1994 movie paralleled the tragedy depicted within the movie, in which star Brandon Lee died as a result of a fatal injury sustained in filming the scene where his character Eric Draven and fiancee Shelly Webster are murdered on the eve of their wedding. This scene was filmed three days before filming was set to finish, after which Lee was set to marry his fiancee, Eliza Hutton. Furthermore, O'Barr's graphic novel, of which the movie is based on, was born from the tragedy of the death of O'Barrs first girlfriend in a fatal car accident caused by a drunk driver.
Beyond imitating life imitating art imitating life, the 1994 movie is regarded by fans, movie critics and general audiences alike as a cult classic, with Lee's last role as vengeful protagonist Eric Draven being considered his best, depicting the character's rage and anguish, and embodying the tagline of the graphic novel "For some things, there is no forgiveness" in an empathically balanced performance. Lee's performance lends a beautiful purity to the plight of his character, which is only deepened by the almost fateful real-life tragedy of Lee's death. Lee's performance is augmented throughout the movie by a line up of established acting talent including Tony Todd (Grange), Michael Wincott (Top Dollar), Ernie Hudson (Sgt. Albrecht), Anna Levine (Darla Mohr) and the late Michael Masse (Funboy). Beautifully photographed by director Alex Proyas and accentuated with Graeme Revell's haunting score The Crow is more than just a cult classic, it is an important piece of cinematic history which reminds us of the frailty of life and the importance of those within our lives, as well as a tragic lesson about the importance of on-set safety protocols. Furthermore, The Crow is the voice and a symbol of a generation, whose '80's childhood gave way to an angst-filled coming of age as the world transitioned from the analog ways of old to the new digital era we all now take for granted; or in short, my generation.
#2 An Exercise In Futility
Hollywood studio executives should also remember that amidst a few disappointing sequels, some of which were based upon subsequent installments to O'Barrs comic book original The Crow has actually already been remade. In 1998 Mark Dascascos starred as Eric Draven in a 22 episode TV serial adaptation of the graphic novel and movie. The show, The Crow: Stairway to Heaven was canceled after its first and only season. Dascascos' performance played very much like an impersonation of the character Lee established, however, the serial was considered a more faithful adaptation of O'Barrs graphic novel by comic book purists, featuring elements such as Draven's more simplistic make-up, and other totem animals being used by other resurrected souls.
Should Sony continue ahead with their plans to remake The Crow with Jason Momoa, and even if the movie was executed well with planned director Hardy, the fanbase and most general audiences reverence for the original movie would negatively affect the remakes chances of critical success; the legacy of the original movie is as such that no retelling of the story can hope to strike the same emotional depth, which is core to the essence of The Crow. Sony Pictures' preference for remakes very rarely fares well critically, as evidenced by RoboCop (2014), Total Recall (2012), and Ghostbusters (2016). A remake of a culturally significant movie such as The Crow will see Sony face a larger backlash than what they experienced for remaking Ghostbusters, something the struggling studio cannot afford to endure.
Take 20th Century Fox as an example. The studio, recently purchased by Disney Pictures has in recent years brought back Ridley Scott to direct prequels to his 1979 science fiction horror classic, Alien. Sadly Prometheus and Alien: Covenant have divided the fanbase yet Fox is adamant to continue with Scott's vision and expanding the mythology and legacy of the franchise. However, with the right director, cast and crew Alien could be remade, and in such a way that it was technically superior to the original movie, such as in regards to the directing, acting, characterization, narrative, dialogue, visual effects (both practical and special), layer-of-reveal, continuity, pacing, and execution. Should such a remake be produced that was superior to the original in every way, the fan base, critics, and most general audiences preference would remain with the 1979 movie. Unless distinctly different to the original movie, such as with John Carpenters 1982 cult horror movie The Thing, remakes are, by their very nature an exercise in needless futility.
#3 Expansion Is Key
The truth is that most fans, movie critics, and general audiences would consider a remake of The Crow as an insult to the tragic legacy of the 1994 movie and Lee's eponymous performance. If Hollywood's urge to revisit The Crow is so great then maybe the production team should consider expanding the mythology of the character Lee realized, rather than supplanting it. While previous sequels to the original movie have not fared well, a direct sequel to that movie would be a more tasteful and tactful approach to returning The Crow to the big screen, while another possibility would be to explore the Native American origins of the Crow as explored in the 1996 graphic novel The Crow: Dead Time that followed creator O'Barrs original.
In both comic book and novel form, the mythology of The Crow has been explored and expanded upon through the eyes of many resurrected lost souls other than Eric Draven. So diverse is the mythology of The Crow that the 1998 novel The Crow: The Lazarus Heart featured a transexual supporting character, While the 2001 novel The Crow: Hellbound saw a demon become the new "Crow". Throughout its history in print fans have seen male and female victims of all creeds and social standing become The Crow, something of which the sequels to the original movie have barely explored, merely scratching at the surface of the potentials available in The Crow mythology.