By now you should know the story behind Bong Joon-ho’s epic sci-fi Snowpiercer. The film is being distributed outside of South Korea by The Weinstein Company, and their plan is to cut Joon-ho’s original version by twenty minutes. The reason for this is to make the film more accessible to mainstream audiences, and plans are in place to reduce the talky parts, add voiceovers at the beginning and end, and increase the action to create a “more speedy tempo”.
Personally, I find this cutting of Joon-ho’s vision insulting to the director, and just as insulting to audiences basically being treated like idiots who can’t sit for an extra twenty minutes and enjoy some added depth of story. Joon-ho has openly admitted his anger at the proposed cuts, but according to an interview with Twitch, the cuts have not been finalized yet.
A cut version of Snowpiercer has been produced, but from what the director told Twitch, this was a test cut, and thankfully the results were not good. Snowpiercer played in New Jersey in July, and this was the proposed Weinstein cut, but then Joon-ho directors cut was played to another test screening in L.A, and it got a much better response. Could this lead to the Weinstein’s not cutting the film? Probably not, but Joon-ho is hopeful, and explained to Twitch that the final version of Snowpiercer is not ready yet:
Twitch: I’d like to ask you about TWC and what’s going on regarding recutting the film.
“Bong Joon-ho – It’s still going on. Some aspects are a little bit exaggerated. Some people misunderstood that there already exists a North American version with 20 minutes cut out. But that kind of version doesn’t exist. Officially the negotiation is still going on, and I’m trying my best to keep my own version and also the CJ people (the Korean investors/distributors) are trying to confirm the release date, the marketing plan and many other things they are still negotiating and the funny thing is once there did exist a 20-minute cut-out version, a Weinstein version of Snowpiercer, they had a screening of that version in New Jersey in July. Then CJ did another test screening of my original version in LA with a normal American audience, and with my version the response was much higher than the scores from the Weinstein version”
So there was already a TWC version back in July?
“Yes, for test screenings. So we already have one fixed American version with 20 minutes cut out but that’s not the final version, we are still going through the process”
So there you have it, the twenty minute cut version is far from set in stone, and fingers crossed, and based on the audience reactions, we just might never have to endure a cut version of Snowpiercer. However, I worry this is simply wishful thinking.
The new poster for the film can be found below.
Snowpiercer is written and directed by Bong Joon-ho (The Host, Memories of Murder)
The cast includes Song Kang-ho, Chris Evans, Jamie Bell, Alison Pill, John Hurt, Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, Ewen Bremner, Octavia Spencer and Luke Pasqualino. Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, Thirst, Stoker) produces.
The film opened on 1st August 2013 in South Korea, but no UK or US release date has been announced yet.
Snowpiercer is set in a future where, after a failed experiment to stop global warming, an Ice Age kills off all life on the planet except for the inhabitants of the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe and is powered by a sacred perpetual-motion engine. A class system evolves on the train but a revolution brews.