The Crow: City of Angels (or COA as most fans refer to it as).
What I said then………..
I make no apologies for saying that I enjoyed this movie. However, I feel that production was rushed and important elements were not examined thoroughly enough. The theater run-time of only 84 minutes speaks loudly to this. The filmmakers never explored the Sarah/Ashe relationship in detail. Expansion of that element would have set COA apart from the first movie and given it more emotion. A better use of the flashback scenes between Ashe and his son Danny would also have improved the film. The majority of flashbacks concentrated on their murder, not their love. I thought Vincent Perez did an excellent job in his portrayal of Ashe, as did Mia Kirshner who played Sarah. In my opinion, fans that could not distinguish between the fact that Perez’s Ashe Corvin was a totally different character from Brandon’s Eric Draven, judged Perez too harshly. There is so much about COA that is very good. The yellow/green tint, used throughout the movie, was both original and effective. It gave the feeling of a barren, dry, dream-like Los Angeles. The premise of an avatar falling in love, after coming back, was very intriguing. The attempt to make a different movie was there, but somewhere along the way, originality was compromised for the sake of staying with a known successful formula. The following quote is from Frieda Noone who does reviews for Cinescape. I saw this quote on the site “A Dead Man Visits You”, and I think it sums up COA perfectly: “If you accept that the CROW: City of Angels is not really a movie, then it’s quite possible to enjoy it. More a visually intense tone poem than a film, City of Angels resembles a lavish picture book – which is the medium from which the CROW films sprang.” Very well said indeed.
Rating – 3 Crows
What I say now……………
Again, like the first film, this one has not lost any luster with me over the years. If anything, I have grown to appreciate it even more for what was attempted, but ultimately damaged by too many fingers in the post production cookie jar. Looking back, I think they should have made the Sarah character a person who had a connection to the dead, not a connection to the Crow or the previous film. COA, more so than any of the other sequels, has grown in legend for what was NOT featured on screen. Fans have long pined for the deleted footage to be put back in and the film assembled in the original form and context that Pope had intended. Would this change the minds of those that to this day have to reach for the Pepto at the mere mention of COA? Personally, no. I think if you hated the film then you would hate it with the deleted footage restored and the context Pope intended. I think it would win over some fans that didn’t necessarily hate it, but all in all, if you hated it in 1996, you would hate it today even restored to what it was intended to be. I have personally seen 4 or 5 cuts of this film and I just don’t think there is enough that would bring the masses of haters over to our side. I think all in all this film came out too soon after the original and the concept was lost on many fans and for that matter, lost on the suits in the production offices. Tim Pope had a vision of a truly tragic and Gothic romance and unfortunately the ghosts from the previous film had not been laid to rest and many fans saw it as an inferior clone of the first film, no doubt helped along by post production tinkering by producers that all but ripped the guts out of the film and laid it out in the sun to rot. The one thing I think the deleted footage would help fans appreciate more is the excellent performance from Vincent Perez. There was some absolutely great stuff deleted, such as his self-destructive moment with Spider Monkey and the original intended tragic ending. To this day I cringe when I see the pseudo happy/sad ending that made it to the final cut. I will say that one required re-shoot was a wise decision and that was the original Kali/Ashe fight which in it’s original form was very week. The re-shoot is one of my favorite scenes from the film, though the deleted confrontation on the street after the fight between the mortally wounded Kali and Ashe is deeply missed. I have found that with the passing of time, more and more people are coming to appreciate COA more than they did back when it first came out.
Still a solid “3 Crow” rating in my book, maybe even 3 1/2 Crows.
The Collectors DVD release of this film is good, but like the first film, lacks some important features. The “making of” is VERY informative. The commentary track is frank and open. Alex McDowell (production designer for the first two Crow films) all but spells out the butchering that the producers did to the film, commenting many times about how their vision and Tim Pope’s vision were worlds apart and ultimately the film lost its soul in the editing. The DVD-rom features a rare find for many fans, the full Chet Williamson novelization of the film, which is very hard to find in any stores. Of course the omitting of deleted scenes as well as none of the music videos featured on the VHS release make this DVD, like the film, a great concept but in the end lacking everything to make it a full viewing experience. Hopefully when this makes it to Blu Ray these omissions can be taken care of and maybe even some righting of wrongs and allowing Tim Pope to put together a TRUE director’s cut, not the supposed Director’s Cut that the DVD box claims it is today.