I recently reread the original graphic novel by James O’Barr. I watched the movie years and years ago when it first came out. I’ve watched it on pretty much every format it’s been available on. I owned it on VHS and DVD both. It resonated with me deeply in ways I didn’t quite understand until I was older – a bit like Dune did.
I am about to compare the two pieces. This will mean spoilers if you haven’t read it or watched it. I realize it’s not the sort of thing that everyone likes or gets, but it is well worth both reading and watching. Both are disturbing in their own ways, both are poignant and beautiful and dark. Obviously, I really enjoy The Crow. If you read past this, don’t blame me for spoiling things.
As far as comparing the two, it’s interesting. Both are excellent, awesome things in their own right. There are some differences, but I think there had to be, especially with the girl. Sherry in the comic, Sara in the movie. She was given a far bigger role in the movie than she had in the comic but it was a way to tie it all together. Having someone who knew Eric in life and after gave us a sense of continuity. It also allowed us to immediately trust the sole good cop in the whole movie (split between two cops in the comic without going into depth really with either of them).
There were bigger changes than that. The biggest change is that the movie gave the bad guys a motive for the crime against Eric and Shelly. In the comic, it’s more of a wrong place and wrong time sort of thing than a mission oriented crime. In the movie, the gang of thugs sets upon them for a reason, they were not random targets. I am undecided on this change. It takes away from the senselessness of the crimes that brought Eric back as the avenging angel he is.
The additional characters brought in made the movie richer but their absence does not effect the comic at all. It is the same story. The finale is a little less drama-filled but that doesn’t mean the comic was less than the film in any way.
The rest of the differences were visual, the setting made darker, more dismal with the backdrop of fire and anarchy. It worked very well for the film. And I was overjoyed to discover that all of my favorite lines of dialogue came directly from the comic.
I’m not sure how I feel about a remake of the film at this point. I want Hollywood to find original material. We haven’t had a She-Hulk movie or a Wonder Woman movie yet. Or Lady Death (I would so watch that). There are plenty of comics that haven’t been done that they need to quit mucking with the ones that have. The original movie, despite the differences from the source material, was incredible. From what I’ve read, they’re wanting to stick closer to the source material but, as much as I enjoyed the comic, I think the choices made for the movie worked for that movie with the tone and sound and feel of it. I don’t want to see it messed up and Hollywood seems to love messing up things I love.