Tag Archives: movie remakes

The Troubled Remake Of The Crow And My Idea

Its recently been announced that they are remaking the Bruce Lee classic Enter the Dragon.

Enter The Dragon.jpg

Well I never expected that news but as a huge Bruce Lee fan (my middle name is Lee named after him) I was brought up on his movies, I’ve read countless books about the man and watched just as many documentaries. I love me a bit of Brucie so you’d think I’d be upset about a remake of one of my favorite films of his. I’m not.

Just as a quick aside. The Enter the Dragon remake is getting some backlash over the fact they have hired a white American to direct the film in David Leitch. Errrr, the original was directed by the white American Robert Clouse, produced by white Americans Fred Weintraub and Paul Heller and written by white American Micheal Allin. Worked then didn’t it? Point is, why does the colour of a person’s skin or their race matter? Shouldn’t it be about hiring the best person for the job regardless of their race?

Back to the main point…the talk of remaking Enter the Dragon got me thinking about a similar subject, the much troubled remake of The Crow.

Yes I know there will be a certain group of people who will instantly take a disliking to any talk of a remake of The Crow. But hey, I’m not one of them and this is my blog – so tough. You want to rant and rave against it, set up your own blog.

I honestly think that, if done right a remake of The Crow could be amazing. But before I offer my idea, a quick history on the numerous troubles in getting The Crow remade…okay so before my idea and before the troubled history – maybe a quick mention of exactly what The Crow is and why some people are against it.

The Source

The Crow Comic

Originally written in the form of a comic book series and published in 1989, The Crow was born from the bitterness and anger of writer/artist James O’Barr who lost his girlfriend at the hands of a drunk driver. The Crow is a bloody and violent revenge tale with a hell of a lot of heart and emotion. Telling the story of Eric and his girlfriend Shelly, who one night are attacked. Eric is put in hospital fighting for his life while Shelly is killed outright. Eric holds on to life while a mysterious crow tells him the let go. Eric eventually dies but is brought back by the crow. Eric now possess supernatural powers such as invulnerability which he uses to extract revenge on those that killed both him and Shelly.

Its a dark and moody story with a lot of rough edges and a little uneven in places for sure, but its also a brilliant and utterly enthralling story and well worth reading if you can find a copy.

The Movie

The Crow Eric

In 1994, a film adaption was released after the death of its star Brandon Lee who was accidentally shot on set while filming in 93. Director Alex Proyas was so upset by Lee’s death that he felt he couldn’t continue with the film despite the fact that Lee had already finished pretty much all of his work and his death occurred with only three days let of the film shoot. The film sat on the shelf for several months and it looked like it would never be released, until Linda Lee (Brandon’s mother) stepped in an urged Proyas to finish the film out of respect for her son.

The Crow was released in 94 and became a huge cult hit and made a star of Brandon Lee.

The Controversy

It is the death of Brandon Lee while making The Crow why many people feel it should never be remade. I’m not one of them. Look, I loved the movie back in the day – but quite honestly, it hasn’t really held up well. A film I once loved back in the 90s just feels very off after I read the comic books it was based on. The 94 film is a bastardised, diluted film that lacks so much of what made the source material so damn good. I don’t “hate” the film version at all and can quite happily sit down to watch it – but its just lacking in so many ways, it feels so weak after reading the comic books. And as controversial as it may seem, no film or character is bigger than any actor.

The Crow Eric 2

Getting upset over a remake of The Crow due to the death of Lee is like boycotting any and everything involving the character of The Joker due to the death of Heath Ledger. Times change, new ideas need to be explored and above everything else – no matter if The Crow remake eventually happens or not…the 94 film will always be there. Nothing any remake does or does not do can ever take anything away from the film Brandon Lee died for while making. If the remake does happen and whether its the best film ever made or a big piece of shit, the 94 film will still be the exact same film it was before. Nothing changes, so just calm down folks.

The Troubles

So the idea of remaking The Crow has been around for quite a while, as far back as 2008 in fact. Originally Blade director Stephen Norrington was in the main man for the job until he left the project and director Juan Carlos Fresnadillo of 28 Weeks Later fame stepped in around 2011. There were talks of having Bradley Cooper play the main role too as this early concept art shows.

Concept Art

The film was moving along nicely but a few legal matters between the production company of the remake, Relativity Media and creator of The Crow James O’Barr that had not been fully sorted out surfaced. This eventually put the project on hold and led to scheduling conflicts with Cooper who then had to drop out. Producers needed a new lead and looked at Mark Wahlberg, Channing Tatum, Ryan Gosling and James McAvoy as possible replacements. Around this time, director Fresnadillo also left the project. So they were back at square one.

This was when the then unknown Spanish director Francisco Javier Gutiérrez became attached. New actors were considered including Tom Hiddleston, Alexander Skarsgård, and finally, Luke Evans. The film even got to a point where Evans was officially announced to star and the remake was once more going ahead around 2015. Not too long after the announcement though and Evans dropped out to be replaced with Jack Huston…who also dropped out soon after being announced as lead actor. New actors were being suggested with both Nicholas Hoult and Jack O’Connell but director Gutiérrez eventually left. Yes, back at square one…again.

Jason Momoa and Corin Hardy

Enter English director Corin Hardy who relished the idea of remaking The Crow and began working on the film in 2015. However, Relativity Media who were set to produce the film filed for bankruptcy, so Hardy left. Still, Relativity Media carried on with the project despite their money troubles and Hardy unexpectedly returned to the film with Game of Thrones and Aquaman actor Jason Momoa signing to play the lead. It seemed a little strange that a studio filing for bankruptcy were still trying to get a big budget film  made and in 2016 Davis Films, Highland Film Group, and Electric Shadow banded together and bought the rights to the film from Relativity Media. Both Hardy and Momoa stayed on board and in 2017 Sony agreed to distribute the film. Things were looking good once more and the remake was going full steam ahead. Production was set to begin in early 2018 in Budapest. This was the furthest the remake had ever gotten. There were even start dates announced for filming…

Yet around May of this year and it all fell apart…again. Even though Sony announced an 11th of October, 2019 release date, both director Hardy and lead actor Momoa left the project. Which all brings us up to date with this decade long attempt to remake The Crow. Once more, the remake is back at square one. And its a damn shame too as it had been said that James O’Barr was fully on board with this remake and aimed to make it a much more faithful adaption of his original source material…which is exactly what I want to see…

My Idea

I fucking love the original The Crow comics and as I said earlier, I feel they are far more powerful and with more depth than the 94 film version which I think is massively diluted over its source material. I have a far simpler and I think much better idea for the remake than any of the attempts over the last ten years too. Just take the comic books and animate them.

The Crow Comic 2

Same art style, same characters, same plot. Use the comics as storyboards and bring the whole thing to life via animation. I’ll even allow some creative license with the material to a point. Much like Robert Rodriguez did when he made Sin City. Be about 90% faithful to the source, but still tweak things enough to allow the director to put their own stamp on it. Alter and switch some of the dialogue, tinker with colours in the stark black and white world – blood, etc. But still remain as true to the comics as you can. James O’Barr could be story and art director but give the main directing job to a great animator/director such as Brad Bird, Dorota Kobiela, Sylvain Chomet, Gil Kenan or how about giving one of the old guard a chance to return to their roots with Don Bluth or Tim Burton?

Holly fuck-balls. An adult based Tim Burton directed animated film closely based off The Crow comics. That has to be the best idea since someone said “I think I’ll put some Jack Daniels into this glass of Coke.”.

The Crow Comic 3

I’d love to see an adult, uber violent, bloody but still with all the heart and emotion animated attempt at The Crow and finally see one of the finest comic book series brought to life on film full of life. Make it happen Sony.

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All remakes “suck”.

It’s true, every single movie remake “sucks”.

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That seems to be the case if you ever read any post on any remake on any film based site/forum. So it must be true eh?

To be honest, this whole “remakes suck” argument is asinine as even somewhat ironic seeing as most of the arguments against remakes are rehashed/remade from previous arguments.

But I thought I’d take this opportunity to give my view on the sub-genre that is the movie remake and cover many of the arguments and points that continually get brought up again and again.

First off, are there bad remakes? Yes, of course there are. But here’s a newsflash for you…there are bad original films too. Point being that the fact a film is a remake is not a worthy reason for a film being bad. Yet if you go by most people’s opinions that is EXACTLY the kind of argument you will find.
When a remake is announced, even before filming has begun and before anyone has even seen 1 second of film. You’ll find comments similar to “this will suck” on pretty much any movie forum based solely on the fact it’s a remake.
Yes that’s fair right, damning a film based on nothing other than the simple fact it’s a remake.

Just like original films that have both good and bad in them, so do remakes. I can think of plenty of remakes that I enjoy just as much and sometimes even more so than the originals…but I’ll get to these later.

If you really are dead set against movie remakes, then so be it. But you do realise a simple fact that you do not have to watch them right? Really, if the idea of remakes upsets you so much, you feel the need to let the world know over the interwebs. Then just do not watch them. This rule is not exclusive to remakes either as you do not have to watch any film, remake or other.

Often you’ll also see the point of “remakes are lazy”. Are they?
OK, so a remake has not been written from the ground up and often based on pre-existing ideas, stories and characters. But even so, there is still a hell of a lot of work that goes into a remake regardless. It’s not as if a film is a remake and all the filmmakers have to do is click their fingers and there you go, a remake. There is still writing going on, pre-production, filming, post-production, etc. there is nothing “lazy” about a film remake.
But on the same subject, I’d like to ask why remakes get accused of being “lazy” as they are based on pre-existing material…but films that are based on books, comics, plays, etc do not get the same label despite the fact they are also based on pre-existing material? Did anyone call Alfred Hitchcock “lazy” for taking the novel Psycho by Robert Bloch and turning it into a film? Nope. But why not? The story already existed, as did the characters and setting, etc.

Tying into the last point, what about long running stage plays? They get different actors and directors all the time. Technically if you go to watch a play that has been running for lets say the last 20 years several times over that 20 year period, you are often watching a “remake” of the original…yet these do not get the same disdain as movie remakes, but why?
I mean, Cats (the musical) was first performed in 1981 and still runs today. Obviously today it’s not the same show it once was with new performers, directors, effects, etc. This one stage show alone has undergone many, many, many different revisions over the last 34 years…yet you don’t get people damming the new Cats as it’s a remake of the original 1981 performance do you? Cats is just one example of many stage shows that have been remade over the years too.

Also what is with the splitting hairs when people that are anti-remake actually like a film that is a remake, but do not like to admit the film they like is an actual remake. Here’s some examples:
John Carpenter’s The Thing: Often cited as one of the best remakes ever (and it is)…yet that anti-remake brigade that like the film will state this is not a remake but in fact a “re-adaption” of the original story that the original film was also based on, technically that’s true yes. But if you really want to play that game, The Thing is still not “original” if it is based on a pre-existing story and still qualifies as being a remake.
How about one of my favourite films, Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs: Here you’ll find the overtly zealous QT fans argue against this film being a remake. So just go and watch Ringo Lam’s City On Fire from 1987 and tell me that Reservoir Dogs is not a remake. Even after Quentin Tarantino himself has admitted Reservoir Dogs is the American version of City On Fire, those stubborn QT fans will get around calling the film a remake by stating it’s an “homage” not a remake.
Sometimes even the directors of the film itself refuse to call the film a remake. Like with Gus Van Sant’s Psycho: While the film was in production, the director refused to call the film a remake and stated it as being a “re-enactment”. Not only was Gus Van Sant’s Psycho a remake, it was shot for shot the same as the 1960 original…which itself was not original as it was based on a novel.
Even Tim Burton is guilty of this with his take on Planet Of The Apes: Where Tim himself refused to call the film a remake and instead opted for the term “re-imagining” as he did again later with Charlie And The Chocolate Factory.

Really, what is the problem with the term “remake” these days and so many people from fans to even directors trying to bypass the word remake with other buzzwords instead like; “re-imagining”, “re-telling”, “re-adaption” and so on?
If you are retelling the same story…it’s a remake so just call it a remake you pompous arse.

Something else I often see popping up is the argument that the remake is not better than the original. But why does it have to be better? Why can the film not be judged on it’s own merits as it’s own film? Often a remake is not made in order to be “better” but more so to be different. This is why I enjoy watching remakes, to see what is done differently. Stories have been told and retold for centuries and often done differently over the many years. Not necessarily better…differently. Yet it is only movie remakes that get the bad rep. Does it really matter if a film is a remake as long as you enjoyed it?

What about the “this remake ruined my childhood” pathetic rant you’ll often see too?
How has a film “ruined your childhood” exactly? Lets be honest, your childhood has not been touched or affected in any way at all has it? “They ruined the original” is another one, again how? The original film is still the exact same original film it ever was and nothing has changed. No remake can ever change that. It’s not as if when a remake is released, all copies of the original film are destroyed. They have also not been “George Lucased” and altered in anyway either, the original film is still the exact same original film it was pre-remake.
Even more so, if you do not like the look of the remake…don’t watch it and go out and buy the newest special edition DVD/Bluray of the same film you already own about four times anyway and watch that again instead.

There’s more in the form of the other often overused argument of “Hollywood have run out of ideas” or “Hollywood only ever remake movies these days”.
First off, “these days”? Remakes are not a recent trend. Films have been getting remade since cinema was created. You can find remakes dating back to the silent era of filmmaking. There have even been famous and classic directors that have remade their own films like: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1934) which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock and then later remade as The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) again directed by Alfred Hitchcock…yes I know this is the 3rd time I’ve brought him up, but he is one of my all time favorite directors.
Also, how has “Hollywood run out of ideas”? Take a look at how many films are released each year, then look at how many of them are remakes…it equates to a small %.

adding onto the previous point too, you’ll also see comments of people saying that there are more remakes being made now than ever before. Yes I’ll agree with that…but only due to the simple fact there are more films being made per-year now then ever before. Movies used to have a much longer run at the cinema and this was pre-huge multiplex cinemas so there was less screen time overall to show films. Look at E.T. for example, had a cinema run of 1 year and 4 months and was not released on the home market until 4 years after it’s original 1982 release. Now a new film is at the cinema for 2-3 months before it hits the home market. These films are also being shown in huge cinemas with 20 odd screens showing more films in that shorter period. This faster turnround is due to the fact there are many more films being released each year. So yes, there are more remakes made now than before, due to the fact there are many more films made each year. The % of remakes has not increased, just the % of filmmaking overall.

Here’s another comment you’ll often see is when people damn a remake without knowing the film they are defending as being “the original” is in fact itself a remake anyway. With recent announcements of remaking the Brian De Palma classic; Scarface and Oscar winning epic; Ben Hur, you’ll find people saying how these classics can not be remade and that a remake would ruin the original…except neither Scarface or Ben Hur are original as they are both in fact remakes themselves. Believe me, there are plenty of other examples I could give too when someone damns a remake purely as it’s a remake of a film they like yet the film they are defending is itself a remake.

I have no problem with people offering an opinion on a remake at all. But how about you actually watch the film first and with an open mind then judge it on it’s own merits, instead of jumping on the anti-remake bandwagon as soon as a remake is announced?

So that just about wraps up my anti-anti-remake rant. How about those good remakes I mentioned earlier?
Well just off the top of my head and these are film remakes (I’ve not previously mentioned) I personally found to be great on their own merits:

The Magnificent Seven (1960)
Cape Fear (1991)
Dawn of the Dead (2004)
The Departed (2006)
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988)
Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)
Evil Dead (2013)
Father of the Bride (1991)
Per un pugno di dollari/A Fistful of Dollars (1964)
The Fly (1986)
Halloween (2007)
Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai (2011)
Heat (1995)
House of Wax (1953)
I Am Legend (2007)
Insomnia (2002)
Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1978)
The Jackal (1997)
King Kong (2005)
Mean Machine (2001)
The Man They Could Not Hang (1939)
Night of the Living Dead (1990)
Ocean’s Eleven (2001)
Ransom (1996)
Scent of a Woman (1992)
Some Like It Hot (1959)
True Lies (1994)
Vanilla Sky (2001)
The Woman in Red (1984)

Those are just a few remakes I thoroughly enjoyed, and there are plenty more too. Are they “better” than the originals? I really do not care either way. They are films I enjoyed and still do to this day that just so happen to be remakes.

remakes

Hollywood can recycle films all they want…as long as they make them entertaining.

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