The internet was abuzz last week when Jason Momoa and director Corin Hardy announced they had left the 2019 reboot of The Crow. In one fell swoop, The Crow had lost its main star and its director. This is not the first time the reboot project has lost its way and it probably will not be the last before it finally gets its feet off the ground. The real question is, do we really want or need a The Crow reboot? Who is asking for it, and why now?
Who Loves The Crow?
Look, I am a huge the fan of The Crow. I love James O’Barr’s original comic. I have met him several times at cons and he is an extremely nice guy. The original The Crow comic strikes a new chord with me each and every time I read it. From my original teenage delight in the violence, mayhem, and poetic dialogue, to my understanding of O’Barr’s use of this story as a coping mechanism for his lost love at the hand of a drunk driver that brought a new light to the story and intensified what I was reading and seeing. To me being married and understanding what that love is and how it must feel to lose it. All that has made The Crow comic an ever-evolving story throughout the years for me. I have also enjoyed the more recently published The Crow comics (reviews here, y’all!).
It almost goes without saying, I adore the original 1994 Brandon Lee movie, as it was my first introduction to The Crow. I have seen it more times than I can count and usually watch it on the night before Halloween (Devil’s Night, you know). Just ask my poor wife who has to sit through it every year! Heck, I used to write “The Crow” on desks, walls, papers or whatever in high school; go ahead ask me what is one of my all-time favorite movies is! Yes, I have seen the other movies and television show (let us not talk about it). All this is to say I love The Crow, it is awesome, and I am not sure we really need a reboot. But I also want to see one.
Reboots are nothing new to the movie-going/all media public. Jumanji made a crap-ton of money last year and as someone who saw the original as a child, this new one was just as good or better than the original. Also, as an avid comic book fan I am used to reboots and different interpretations of my favorite characters. One year Daredevil is possessed by demons, the next he is a sad sap in jail, another he is a swashbuckling hero. Having different artist interpretations and characters changing up is what makes them “evergreen.” It keeps them fresh and invites a new audience to see them.
All right, so let’s get back to The Crow and what makes it prime for a reboot. Number one: the original film is not much like the original comic at all. Yeah, it has the same character names and some other similarities, but they are very, very different. Number two: we really haven’t seen a good The Crow film since the first one came out. There have been some good comics and such but the other The Crow media has floundered. Number three: James O’Barr, Jason Momoa, and Corin Hardy seemed really passionate about getting this movie made. Momoa had a nice apology on his Instagram and posted pictures of him with O’Barr and how he wanted the movie made right. That is probably the biggest bummer, seeing how passionate they were about getting this made.
That is probably the worst part about this current reboot being shot down. The passion Momoa and Hardy had for the project seemed legitimate. O’Barr was on board also, which gave me hope for a good The Crow movie to grace the silver screen once again.
To play devil’s advocate, I can also see why we could do without a reboot. We already have the cult classic 1994 The Crow; that movie is a gem of ’90s nostalgia. The original The Crow bleeds that time and era of movie making. It also is a good homage to the comic while being its own thing. I already have the comic; maybe I do not want a direct adaptation of it? Maybe it is okay that it uses the skeletons of the story to bring us a little different twist on the tale. We also have to deal with the tragic death of Brandon Lee that will forever be attached to this movie and series. Does rebooting the movie somehow downplay his final role as Eric Draven? What if Momoa is a better Eric Draven; does that tarnish his legacy?
Probably the biggest question is, does anybody know about The Crow or care? Sure, I have a big nostalgia for it, and it is a cult classic movie, but is there an audience that big for an R-rated reboot of a cult classic movie? To bring up Jumanji again, as the original was in the same time frame as The Crow, it had a lot going for it. As The Rock was the main star—a known box office draw—it had a much larger nostalgia factor going for it, a PG-13 rating, and it is a comedy. All of those things, The Crow does not have, in my opinion. Momoa is not as big of a star as The Rock, and an R rating is going to hinder it. And yeah, that Hot Topic merchandise is going to sell like gangbusters, but is that going to equal ticket sales?
Let me be honest: I am going to see the movie if the reboot ever happens. Let’s not kid ourselves. If it does happen I hope it is great and defies expectations. If it does not happen, I am equally happy. I still have my collector’s edition of the comic with O’Barr’s signature on my favorite page. I have many more “Devil’s Nights” ahead of me to watch the movie and recite it line for line. So, I can be happy and enjoy a new thing and or be happy and enjoy my old things; it is all in perspective and hey, “it can’t rain all the time”.
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