Monday, 7 June 2010

Stephen Norrington: The only reason to pay attention to The Crow remake.

I've argued in the past that I'm not as anti-remakes as many critics tend to be but sometimes I look at one of Hollywood's latest reboots/reimaginings/regurgitations and I am completely baffled. The Crow, a rather good but not classic 1994 comic book adaptation starring the late Brandon Lee was perfectly good on its own. Yet now, just 16 years after it was originally released we're being treated to a completely pointless reboot of the franchise. Ordinarily I'd steer clear of a film like this and just pretend it never existed but something about it has taken my interest; the fact that Stephen Norrington is writing and directing it.

To most people that name is probably unfamiliar. To a group of die hard Alan Moore fans on the other hand, the name Stephen Norrington will probably fill them with an uncontrollable rage. Norrington after all, was the man that helmed the epically disastrous League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in 2003 and was part of one of the most infamous actor-director conflicts in film history.

It was no secret that 'LXG' had a troubled production. You only have to look at the shoddy, incomplete-feeling final product to guess that all was not well throughout the film's shoot. It would be an understatement to say that Sean Connery, the film's star (and the only actor in the film with any box-office pull) was not a fan of Norrington's methods. They reportedly constantly came to blows over aspects of the film and when Norrington failed to attend the film's opening party, Connery famously suggested to reporters that they "check the local asylum" to find him.

The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen was to be Connery's last live-action film before retirement; a retirement that he has refused to be tempted out of, even to return to the Indiana Jones franchise (extremely good judgement in retrospect). It was also, however, the last film that Norrington made; the director had such a disastrous experience during the film's shoot that he vowed never to direct a film again.

So it is upon finding that Norrington will direct The Crow remake that my interest in the film spiked. His return to directing is not completely out of the blue; Norrington has been attached to direct several films in recent years, including the Clash of the Titans remake and Freddy vs. Jason, before pulling out. It will be an interesting to see how a man who has been convinced to give directing another shot will do on his return though. Many sceptics will describe Norrington as a hack and point to LXG as an example of why he should never have returned in the first place. However, Norrington did direct Blade; once again not a classic, but a perfectly good comic book adaptation and it would be unfair to condemn someone for one bad film. It is only when a director has been consistently bad (the Uwe Bolls and Paul W.S. Andersons of this world) that we should begin to pass such judgements. I still believe The Crow is a terrible choice of film to make a comeback, but I'll still keep an eye on it. After all, everybody deserves a second chance.

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