All I want for Christmas is a domestic release of Bong Joon-ho’s post-apocalyptic adventure Snowpiercer, and I don’t feel like that’s asking too much. Too much would be asking that Harvey “Scissor-hands” Weinstein leaves the film well enough alone and doesn’t cut 20 minutes of story and character development because he thinks American audiences are too stupid to understand the film. We’ll see how that develops. It’s is now being reported that much of Europe will get to see director Bong’s new film before 2013 draws to a close, but with no date set for North America, we’ll have to satiate our hunger by starring at these new images from the film, and gawking at more stunning pieces of concept art.
These stills, from Oh No They Didn’t, are very much in line with what we’ve already seen, with a little newness thrown in just to keep things fresh. The story of Snowpiercer takes place in a world where attempts to reverse global warming begin a new ice age. The few survivors exist within the confines of a train, powered by a perpetual motion engine, that endlessly circles the frozen wastes. Inside, the passengers are divided into two stark castes: the first class passengers, and the grubby poor. The rich live in brightly lit luxury, with enough to eat, while the underclass wallow in filth and scrape by however they can.
While we’ve seen much of the rear of the train, where the poor are sequestered, we’re starting to get more of idea of how the other half lives. Men wear suits and are clean-shaven. Tilda Swinton’s character Mason is even decked out in fur. Their children are educated, as you can see by Allison Pill standing in front of a classroom looking perky and well groomed. We all know this divide can’t last forever without someone getting pissed, especially in so small a space, and much of the film revolves around the violent collision of worlds.
The concept art provides a glimpse at the world outside of the moving walls, as well as the train itself. That’s one of the aspects I’m really curious to see, how they render snow-covered planets. We’ve seen quick glimpses in trailers, but no prolonged looks. But if the reality looks half as good at the paintings, we’re talking about something special. Bong is a master of blending the CGI and the practical, so we have high hopes for the look of Snowpiercer.
The majority of the artwork details the living conditions at the back of the train. You can see that the living quarters are cramped, with people literally stacked on top of one another, and that there is little to no natural light to be found. That seems to be one of the starkest contrasts, the rich get to see the sun, while the poor live in what is essentially a dark metal tube.
Snowpiercer has already opened in Bong’s native South Korea, where it is smashing through records and gathering rave reviews. A handful of other countries also know when they’ll be able to see the film, even if most of us don’t. The lucky bastards in Denmark will have the chance to watch Snowpiercer on August 29, while it opens in France on October 30, and Greece on October 31. Sweden won’t get it until Valentine’s Day, February 14, 2014, and while I’m not sure it’s going to be the best date movie, at least they have a solid date to look forward to.
Snowpiercer features an all star international cast that includes Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, Ko Ah-sung, Song Kang-ho, Octavia Spencer, Ed Harris, John Hurt, Allison Pill, and more.