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Comic Review: Snowpiercer Volume 1: The Escape

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SnowpiercerWe’ve been waiting a long time to see director Bong Joon-ho’s English-language debut Snowpiercer. Even though the tedious back and forth between the filmmaker and the Weinstein Company over crippling edits is reportedly done, a release is still likely way off in the distance. And that’s only if you happen to be lucky enough to live in one of the limited number of markets where TWC plans to show the film. Though we may have to sit and stew a while longer before we see the adaptation, the French graphic novels the movie is based on are getting an English translation for the first time. And they are well worth the wait.

Written by Jacques Lob, with art by Jean-Marc Rochette, Snowpiercer Volume 1: The Escape (originally published as Le Transperceneige) is now available for your perusal. After first appearing in 1982, the comics were later collected into a book in 1984.

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Snowpiercer’s Original Cut Finally Confirmed For U.S. Release

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snowpiercerWe love talking science fiction here at GFR, and we love talking about science. What we’re a little less enthused about is detailing the shameful degradation of a director’s film by a distribution studio that had nothing to do with the making of said film. But now that it’s all over with, we are overwhelmingly excited to say Bong Joon-ho’s dystopian thriller Snowpiercer will be coming to American theaters in its original director’s cut, as the Weinstein Company has finally relented and apparently decided the midwest wasn’t too dumb to understand the complexities of Bong and co-screenwriter Kelly Masterson’s story, based on the French graphic novel of the same name. Of course, that’s if it even makes it to midwestern theaters.

Of course, this deal doesn’t just involve the Weinsteins stepping back and letting things go on as they should have from the beginning. When they acquired the film back at the American Film Market in 2012, it was based on the script and concept footage, with a wide release contractually decided upon. But instead of this wide release, TWC will go old school and initially only put the film in select theaters in bigger markets, with a roll-out planned for the following weeks. That’s sort of like saying the high-class people in the front of Snowpiercer‘s titular train get to see it first before it slowly makes its way to the dirty fascists in the rear. Okay, maybe it’s not like that at all.

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Four Snowpiercer Clips Will Make You Wish You Could Actually See The Damn Movie

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Snowpiercer is simultaneously the most exciting and frustrating movie in the world right now. Exciting, because everything we see and hear about it is fantastic, making the film sound as incredible as we all hoped Bong Joon-ho’s English-language debut would be. Frustrating because most of us haven’t been able to see it yet. The Weinstein Company, which owns the distribution rights in most English-speaking territories, are demanding extensive cuts to the story and character development to dumb down the narrative. The film has already opened in many markets around the world, to rave reviews and strong box office numbers. Try as they might, TWC couldn’t stop it from showing at the Berlin Film Festival next week, and here are four new clips to celebrate.

All told, there’s approximately seven-and-a-half minutes worth of new footage here, and it will make you hope for a swift resolution to this dispute. The film has already opened in Korea and France, with more countries coming shortly, and has been hailed by many as a masterpiece, or at least damn close. Hopefully the two sides can reach an accord—even more hopefully one that keeps the director’s cut intact—and we can get a release date.

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New Japanese Snowpiercer Trailer And A Sneaky Way To See The Film Early

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Those of us in the U.S., Canada, and other regions of the globe that fall under the grasp of The Weinstein Company may have zero idea when we’ll finally see Bong Joon-ho’s English-language debut Snowpiercer, or even if we’ll get a director-approved cut of the film, but that hasn’t stopped the movie from opening in the rest of the world. While it is frustrating to watch everyone else get to see the highly-anticipated adventure, multiple releases does mean that we get to see more trailers than usual, like this new one from Japan, where the film opens on February 7. This is a small solace, but it’s what we have to cling to. There’s even more good news for those among us with region free players, because the film already has a French Blu-ray release scheduled.

If you haven’t been keeping up with the Snowpiercer saga, TWC, which owns the domestic distribution rights to the film, has demanded at least 20-minutes worth of edits, to the 120-minute director’s cut. The film has already opened to box office records and widespread critical acclaim around the world, and since the cuts are primarily story and character, designed to speed up the pace and dumb the movie down so that, as Harvey Weinstein has said, Middle-American audiences can understand the film, you can’t help but feel insulted.

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All I Want for Christmas Is Snowpiercer

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SnowpiercerAll I want for Christmas this year is Snowpiercer. I mean this in the broadest way possible; I’ll take it in any form I can get it. Ideally, this would mean seeing Bong Joon-ho’s (Mother) post-apocalyptic adventure in its full, intact, director’s cut glory. All 120 minutes of it, which, considering I’ve recently sat through 161 minutes of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug and 180 minutes worth of Leonardo DiCaprio in The Wolf of Wall Street, isn’t daunting at all.

That’s the preferred method of delivery. But at this point, I’d even be happy with dumbed-down-for-American-audiences, Harvey Weinstein-butchered cut of the movie, which reportedly clocks in at around 100 minutes, with 20 minutes’ worth of story and character hacked out. After all, five-sixths of a Bong Joon-ho movie still towers over most of what populates our local movie theaters. 83% of The Host — Bong’s 2006 creature feature, not the 2013 adaptation of Stephenie Meyers’ teeny-bopper love triangle — is roughly 1,000 times the movie Roland Emmerich’s Godzilla is. I’d even watch it with stupid, Weinstein-approved, Neil Gaiman-written voiceovers.

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The Weinsteins Wanted Neil Gaiman To Write Voiceovers For Snowpiercer

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SnowpiercerMuch like the title train, which endlessly circles the frozen wasteland that the world has become, the Bong Joon-ho versus Harvey Weinstein saga of Snowpiercer continues. For months now, we’ve heard about The Weinstein Company, who owns the North American rights, demanding deep cuts that will indelibly change the face of the film. It’s been an endless back and forth, and now some additional details, like Harvey’s desire for voiceovers written by Neil Gaiman, have come to light.

BFI has dug into the conflict, unearthing even more information, and giving us even less hope that we will see a resolution any time soon. Many of us expected the film, which finished filming in early 2013, to make the rounds at some of mid to later year festivals. It did play at the Busan International Film Festival, but that’s it. It’s worth mentioning that Bong took the opportunity to inform American viewers that this might be their only chance to see his version of the film. The Korean distributor CJ Entertainment apparently tried to show Bong’s cut to the programmers at the Toronto International Film Festival, but that move was blocked by TWC, who said that their North American approved edit wasn’t ready.