Words don’t adequately express how excited I am about South Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s upcoming English-language debut, the post-apocalyptic Snowpiercer. The only upcoming movie I’m more excited for is Pacific Rim, and even that’s up for debate. While the film is less than a month from release in Bong’s native country, there is no word when the rest of the world may finally get to see it. The Weinstein Company picked up the distribution rights, which has led some to speculate that the film may hit the festival circuit, with a wider release pushed back into 2014. That’s a depressing thought. Until we hear more, we’ll have to rely on what is coming out of Korea, but since Snowpiercer opens there August 1, there’s quite a bit, including this new trailer and this awesome collection of six behind the scenes featurettes.
In the near future, after experiments to reverse global warming have failed, kicking off a new ice age, the only life that remains is a handful of survivors endlessly circling the frozen wastes in a train powered by a perpetual motion engine. Within the cramped confines of the train, a rigid caste system develops, as illustrated by Tilda Swinton’s “I’m from the front, you’re from the tail,” speech in this trailer. The video itself packs a ton of thrills, action, and drama into a little over a minute.
You get to see the exterior of the train, as well as the various interiors. Most of what we’ve seen has been focused on the squalid living conditions of the lower class passengers, but here there a couple clips of how the other half lives, and from the look of things, they live rather large, considering it’s the end of the world. Before this I had the impression that the class conflict was just erupting in the film, but now I’m not so sure. There are definite indications that the violent conflicts have been going on for some time, with each side pushing, gaining and losing ground. Then again, maybe not, it’s hard to tell.
This short animation, inspired by Snowpiercer, is a nice little history lesson about the world of the film. It shows the ill-fated attempt to stop global warming, using a substance called CW-7, and the tragic, violent aftermath of that failure.
Tilda Swinton describes her character, Mason, as a “nightmare freak,” as the worst-case scenario incarnation of a leader that could arise out of a situation like this. She’s obviously not shy about her feelings on the lower classes, is she? You also get a nice look at the rest of the upper crust of society, with things like teachers, clothes that aren’t rags, and clean living conditions. And though we don’t see him, we learn that Ed Harris’ character, Wilford, is responsible for creating the train that serves as home.
This is the longest and most in depth of these videos. Clocking in at more than four minutes, it digs into the origins of the film, starting with the French graphic novel, and goes on to show the size and scale of the train sets they built in a giant warehouse. As Ed Harris says, they set blew his mind. Harris and other stars, like Chris Evans, talk about the originality of the concept, and this clip also touches on costume design, visual effects, and various other topics.
Try to watch this video and not get be excited for Snowpiercer. I’m practically frothing at the mouth at this point.
This video offers a quick introduction to the insurgents. Evans’ character, Curtis, has been living in the back of this train, pushed down beneath the foot of wealth and privilege for 18 years, and from the look of Snowpiercer, he’s finally done something about it. Curtis is a little bit different from his Captain American persona, for example you get to see him axe a dude on the ground. Cap probably wouldn’t do something like that.
While Curtis appears to be the physical leader, John Hurt’s grizzled Gilliam is the spiritual, philosophical, and intellectual head of the rebellion. Jamie Bell’s Edgar looks to be a sort of post-apocalyptic surfer. Tanya (Octavia Spencer) is a devoted mother who just wants her son back, and you don’t want to get in her way. And finally, Ewen Bremner’s Andrew looks like an absolute madman.
This is something of a video greeting card from much of the cast. They all just drop by for a quick moment to celebrate the opening of the film, and say hi to everyone in Korea.
I’m sure this video with South Korean stars Song Kang-ho and Ko Asung is interesting. It looks super fun, everyone is laughing, and there are some nice behind the scenes footage and clips from the movie. But it is probably way more interesting if you speak Korean, which I don’t, so if you do, this is like an added bonus track.
Bong is the third of his countrymen to make their international debuts in short succession. Park Chan-wook (Oldboy), who also helped produce Snowpiercer, released his psychological thriller Stoker earlier this year, while Kim Jee-woon (A Bittersweet Life) teamed up with Arnold Schwarzenegger for The Last Stand.