After opening extremely well in Korea, Bong Joon-ho’s SNOWPIERCER may be going through some significant changes. The Weinstein Company who owns the North American rights as well as rights in the UK, Australia, New Zealand and South Africato is asking Joon-ho to slice and dice his 126 minute film by 20 minutes.
SNOWPIERCER is as such: In a future where a failed global-warming experiment kills off most life on the planet, a class system evolves aboard the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe via a perpetual-motion engine. I don’t know about everyone else, but that sounds kind of fascinating to me.
English writer/film festival programmer Tony Ryan told IF, “TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film ‘will be understood by audiences in Iowa … and Oklahoma.” That’s right fellow Midwesterners- the Weinsteins think we’re stupid.
Setting aside the offensive Iowa/Oklahoma judgement, it’s still offensive to moviegoers that they feel it has to be cut to understand at all- and essentially putting the blame on the apparently intellectually challenged Midwest audience for ruining everyone’s fun. Hailing from Iowa originally I’m not perfect, but I don’t need a studio exec telling me what I do and do not understand in the movies I’m choosing to watch and being challenged by a film is part of the fun- also just part of the moviegoing experience.
Furthermore, Harvey Weinstein is asking a filmmaker to cut an already short film down to barely an hour- personally I’d rather sit through a film that’s an hour and a half and be a little confused after than a film that’s an hour and feels like it was dumbing itself down for me. Artistic integrity and vision are part of the forum and what is the point if the filmmaker has to cater to what someone else thinks people won’t understand. I will pay to see a film that makes me ask questions over and over in theaters well before I’d do the same to one that plays it safe.
This is business pure and simple and its a business move that in its heart might seem like its for the greater good, but really is a back handed slap to people who go to movies to be challenged. Maybe I’ll be wrong and SNOWPIERCER will blow out minds even with the cuts and with a cast that includes Captain America himself maybe it will be a huge success. However, my money is leaning heavily the other way.
There is no current release date set for SNOWPIERCER. What are your thoughts on the Weinsteins reasons for asking Bong Joon-ho to cut the film?