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New featurettes for Bong Joon-ho's Snowpiercer, plus details on the film's cuts

Aug. 14, 2013by: Paul Shirey

Bong Joon-Ho's first American debut, SNOWPIERCER, is coming at us like a freight train (on ice!) and is expected to debut sometime this year. Today, we have two brief featurettes for the film, featuring stars Chris Evans and Tilda Swinton, which showcase their individual characters in the film. Sadly, there's been a bit of a snag in terms of distribution in the U.S., which comes down to Harvey Weinstein initializing the director to cut at least 20 minutes out of the film in order to "make it more accessible to American audiences." The film has already premiered in South Korea to rave reviews, but apparently that's not enough for Western audiences.

TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film will be understood by audiences in Iowa ... and Oklahoma," said Tony Rayns English writer and film festival programmer. Leaving aside the issue of what Weinstein thinks of its audience, it seems to say the least anomalous that the rest of the English-speaking world has to be dragged down to the presumed level of American mid-west hicks.

Pretty heated words from Rayns, but the sentiment has been echoed from many in regards to the cuts, which are substantial. According to Rayns, Bong is being asked to eliminate a lot of character detail, making it more of an action film, as well as adding voice over to the opening and closing of the film. Many will recall the same snafu happened to Ridley Scott's BLADERUNNER, where Harrison Ford's voice over was added after the film was completed in order to make the film "easier" to understand for the "common folk."

I'm really excited to see SNOWPIERCER, but torn about seeing a heavily modified version that's not approved by the director. Sure, studios step in and make changes and "suggestions" here and there for many films, but this feels like a complete repackaging of what Bong Joon-ho had in mind to begin with. It's not uncommon for directors making their English-language debut to butt heads with studios (there's a reason John Woo doesn't make American films anymore) and this seems to be another case of that. Hopefully, Weinstein and Joon-ho find a middle ground. Otherwise, I think many will be waiting for a "director's cut" blu-ray.

SNOWPIERCER is expected to hit theaters sometime in 2013, in one form or another.

Extra Tidbit: The recutting of Bladerunner has caused many people to have one too many copies of the film in their library. Hopefully, this won't be the case with Snowpiercer.
Source: You Tubeif.com.au

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6:52AM on 08/15/2013

I loath those guys, BUT...

The saddest thing is that 'american audience' proved them right, time and time again.
YES, SF audience wants smart SF, but GENERAL US AUDIENCE has NOT been interested in smart SF in years. They want action and explosions... But not character development... I hate to admit it, the 'dumbest common denominator' theory has become a reality !
The saddest thing is that 'american audience' proved them right, time and time again.
YES, SF audience wants smart SF, but GENERAL US AUDIENCE has NOT been interested in smart SF in years. They want action and explosions... But not character development... I hate to admit it, the 'dumbest common denominator' theory has become a reality !
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3:46AM on 08/15/2013
Fuckin Weinsteins, man.
Fuckin Weinsteins, man.
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9:45PM on 08/14/2013
Dammit Weinstein you douche! Stop messing with people's work!
Dammit Weinstein you douche! Stop messing with people's work!
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5:47PM on 08/14/2013
I'll just download a copy that was shown in a foreign theater. Problem solved.
I'll just download a copy that was shown in a foreign theater. Problem solved.
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7:15PM on 08/14/2013
Is it English subtitled?
Is it English subtitled?
6:55AM on 08/15/2013
I think the movie is half in English and half in Correan...
I think the movie is half in English and half in Correan...
+5
4:48PM on 08/14/2013

Typical Weinstein

Harvey Scissorhands has been pulling this shit on directors for years. It's almost funny how the Weinsteins built a reputation as an art house studio when nothing could be further from the truth. Harvey's strategy was always to buy well received foreign films very cheaply and chop them up for American audiences, which he assumes to be morons. Then they bankrolled cheap American films or served as a distributor when an indie director became a "name" i.e. Tarantino or Kevin Smith. Even then he
Harvey Scissorhands has been pulling this shit on directors for years. It's almost funny how the Weinsteins built a reputation as an art house studio when nothing could be further from the truth. Harvey's strategy was always to buy well received foreign films very cheaply and chop them up for American audiences, which he assumes to be morons. Then they bankrolled cheap American films or served as a distributor when an indie director became a "name" i.e. Tarantino or Kevin Smith. Even then he was notorious for forcing cuts on directors or taking films away from their directors and re-cutting them himself.

Sad how studios still haven't learned that especially sci-fi, but also action film audiences in general, want more sophistication and detail in their films, not less. Unless we get Joon-Ho's version I hope the Weinsteins lose their ass on this movie.
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4:03PM on 08/14/2013
At least they didn't retitle the movie as "Legend of the Snow Dragon Train"
At least they didn't retitle the movie as "Legend of the Snow Dragon Train"
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3:24PM on 08/14/2013
I thought that said John Woo and got over excited
I thought that said John Woo and got over excited
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3:03PM on 08/14/2013
Only thing TWC will accomplish with this Snowpiercer for dummies cut of theirs is lose money at the box office. Lots of people will just opt to either wait for the original version to come out on Blu-ray, or worse, just download it.
Only thing TWC will accomplish with this Snowpiercer for dummies cut of theirs is lose money at the box office. Lots of people will just opt to either wait for the original version to come out on Blu-ray, or worse, just download it.
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2:57PM on 08/14/2013
I'm waiting for "doesn't treat their audiences like idiots" cut.
I'm waiting for "doesn't treat their audiences like idiots" cut.
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