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Ultra HD : Recommended
Ranking:
Sale Price: $64.99 Last Price: $ Buy now! 3rd Party 64.99 In Stock
Release Date: May 7th, 2024 Movie Release Year: 1994

The Crow - 30th Anniversary 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Limited Edition SteelBook

Overview -

4K UHD Review By: M. Enois Duarte
Thirty years later, it continues to be nearly impossible not to associate Alex Proyas' The Crow with the tragic history of its production or watch Brandon Lee's performance without a heavy heart, yet the adaptation of the popular comic book series lives on thanks to Lee's memorable portrayal of the titular character and the production's darkly brooding, gothic atmosphere. Paramount Pictures celebrates the 30th anniversary of the cult superhero favorite as a 4K Ultra HD SteelBook with a great-looking Dolby Vision HDR video, a satisfying DTS-HD MA track and a couple of new extras, making this UHD edition a Recommended addition to the library.

OVERALL:
Recommended
Rating Breakdown
STORY
VIDEO
AUDIO
SPECIAL FEATURES
Tech Specs & Release Details
Technical Specs:
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
Video Resolution/Codec:
2160p/HEVC
Length:
102
Aspect Ratio(s):
1.85:1
Audio Formats:
English: DTS-HD MA 5.1
Subtitles/Captions:
English, English SDH, Spanish
Release Date:
May 7th, 2024

Storyline: Our Reviewer's Take

Ranking:

To this day, I still can't watch The Crow without also immediately thinking about Brandon Lee's untimely death, yet watching the superhero adaptation of the comic series in theaters remains one of my favorite movie-going experiences. At the time, the tragedy was all everyone talked about, covered almost endlessly in the media primarily due to Lee being the son of legendary Bruce Lee, whose life and career were also cut too short. Much of this news ran concurrently with the filmmakers still planning to complete the movie — which was met with some controversy of its own — using the latest advancements in CGI effects, stunt doubles and significant script rewrites, such as the beginning apartment sequences. For an entire year before its release, this was all my friends — two of whom also read the comics — and I could talk about, building both our excitement and anticipation for seeing Lee one final time. And in a gothic action flick to boot!

It was with this in mind that I went with friends to see the completed product, and I still remember walking out feeling satisfied but not quite as thrilled by the end result as others were. Decades later and after several rewatchings, my thoughts have not changed yet have lightly skewed to less favorable. Although I admire Alex Proyas' (Dark City) camerawork, love the cinematography of Dariusz Wolski (The Last Duel, The Martian) and absolutely adore Graeme Revell's (The Craft, Riddick franchise) musical score, the movie itself feels choppy and terribly rushed, which is understandably due to the rewrites and the special effects standing out to the point of distracting us from simply enjoying the story. Also, the insular plot about supernatural vengeance leaves very little room for character development and growth as each character serves very narrow, singular archetypes for Lee's Eric Draven to easily prevail in his goal.

Nevertheless, I must admit to still enjoying The Crow thirty years later, captivated more by Proyas's gothic atmospheric tone and the overall production design than the story itself. (Movie Review Rating: 3.5/5)

For another take on the film, check out our review of the Blu-ray HERE.

Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray 

Paramount Pictures Home Entertainment brings Alex Proyas' The Crow to Ultra HD Blu-ray as a single-disc Limited Edition SteelBook. The package comes with a flyer for a Digital Copy, unlocking the 4K UHD version in Dolby Vision HDR with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio. The dual-layered UHD66 disc sits comfortably inside a glossy, attractive SteelBook with an equally attractive plastic slipcover. At startup, the UHD goes straight to a static menu screen with the usual options along the bottom and music playing in the background.

Images are 4K disc-sourced. We haven't been able to offer up a video sample for the YouTube channel, but we're working on it. 

 

Video Review

Ranking:

The dark superhero flick takes out its vengeance on Ultra HD with a great-looking HEVC H.265 encode, delivering a notable upgrade over its Blu-ray predecessor. However, some of the early CGI unfortunately keeps it from truly shining with several moments looking noticeably soft and blurry, occasionally distracting from its many favorable aspects.

Nevertheless, the reportedly remastered 4K transfer comes with sharp details in the costumes, furniture, city streets and the overall production design, and close-ups of the cast are often revealing, exposing pores, tiniest wrinkles and negligible blemishes. The heavily stylized photography also features dark raven black throughout with strong gradational differences in the various shades, providing the 1.85:1 image appreciable depth and solid shadow delineation. 

Unfortunately, the contrast balance is mostly average with clean whites, but it can run a bit hot in some spots while a couple of scenes appear rather lacking and flat, looking somewhat overcooked with a tad of posterization, such as when Darla is cooking breakfast for Sarah. Thankfully, specular highlights supply a snappy, sparkling glow in the hottest areas. Then again, much of this is the result of the filmmakers' deliberate aesthetic choices, especially given that the color palette is markedly restrained and significantly limited. Still, primaries appear a tad fuller and accurate than its HD SDR counterpart, and in spite of whatever minor drawbacks exist, the Dolby Vision HDR presentation is nonetheless the best the movie has ever looked on any format. (Dolby Vision HDR Video Rating: 80/100)

Audio Review

Ranking:

The cult classic arrives with what appears to be the same DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 soundtrack. But after spending some time comparing the two, there are some minor differences to suggest that this might have been remastered along with the video and arguably, the better of the two. However, those differences also come with some downsides, such as the dialogue running at a slightly lower volume than the rest. For the most part, vocals are clear and discernable, but the louder, action-packed sequences tend to somewhat drown out what characters are saying in the moment. During those same moments, the upper ranges feel a tad bright, losing some of the finer details. 

Thankfully, Graeme Revell's score maintains excellent clarity and definition while bleeding into the surrounds. There is also better rear activity with various ambient effects discretely and smoothly moving all around the listening area, creating a more immersive and satisfying soundfield than before. And with the receivers' Dolby Surround or DTS: Neural:X up-mixing functionality, the atmospherics effortlessly spread into the overheads to further envelop the listener. Although not as commanding as would have been preferred, the low-end is punchy and potent enough to provide the action and music with some weight and depth. 

While an object-based audio option would have been a much-welcomed upgrade, this lossless track is nonetheless a fun listen that complements the visuals well. (Audio Rating: 76/100)

Special Features

Ranking:

For this UHD edition, Paramount Pictures ports over most of the bonus material from previous Blu-ray releases, including the Japanese Import, while also throwing in two new additions fans will surely love.

  • Audio Commentaries begins with director Alex Proyas sharing anecdotes from the production and memories working with Brandon Lee while the second track features producer Jeff Most and co-screenwriter John Shirley provide their analysis of the film.
  • NEW Shadows & Pain: Designing The Crow (HD) is a short three-part documentary looking at various aspects of the production, from the adaptation and overall design to the music and performances
    • Angels All Fire: Birth of the Legend (7 min)
    • On Hallowed Ground: The Outer Realm (8 min)
    • Twisted Wreckage: The Inside Spaces (10 min)
  • NEW Sideshow Collectibles (HD, 13 min) is an interview with producer Edward R. Pressman discussing collectible figurines of the movie
  • A Profile on James O'Barr (HD, 33 min)
  • Behind the Scenes Featurette (HD, 17 min)
  • Extended Scenes (HD, 12 min)
  • Deleted Footage Montage (HD, 5 min)
  • Trailer (HD)

Thirty years later, it continues to be nearly impossible not to associate The Crow with the tragic history of its production or watch Brandon Lee's performance without a heavy heart. However, despite a few arguably minor hiccups, Alex Proyas' adaptation of the popular comic book series lives on due to Lee's memorable portrayal of the titular character and the production's darkly brooding, gothic atmosphere. Celebrating its 30th anniversary, Paramount Pictures brings the cult superhero favorite to 4K Ultra HD with a great-looking Dolby Vision HDR presentation, offering a notable upgrade over previous Blu-ray releases, and a mostly satisfying DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. Along with a couple of new extras joining the same set of supplements as before, the UHD SteelBook makes for a Recommended addition to the library.

All disc reviews at High-Def Digest are completed using the best consumer HD home theater products currently on the market. More about the gear used for this review

Order Your Copy of The Crow on 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray