The Netflix Sci-Fi Thriller Features Marvel’s Darkest Movie Adaptation of a Superhero
Although Chris Evans has become synonymous with the Marvel Cinematic Universe as Captain America, he also acted in a grim post-apocalyptic drama in 2014. That thriller was Snowpiercer, which also marked South Korean filmmaker Bong Joon-Ho’s first film in English. This film, featuring a director and MCU star, is now streaming on Netflix and is worth checking out.
Chris Evans of Marvel fame stars in the Netflix original film Snowpiercer.
Bong Joon-Ho and Kelly Masterson adapted their film Snowpiercer from the graphic novel Le Transperceneige by Jacques Lob, Benjamin Legrand, and Jean-Marc Rochette. After a global warming catastrophe freezes the planet solid, the last survivors of humanity take refuge on the titular train. The upper class lives at the front of the train, while the lower class occupies the rear.
In Snowpiercer, Chris Evans plays Curtis Everett, a leader of a rebellion against the train’s upper-class passengers. Singer Kang-ho, Tilda Swinton, Actors Jamie Bell, Octavia Spencer, Go Ah-sung, and actors John Hurt and Ed Harris all appear in the film alongside Evans. With a budget of $40 million, this picture is one of the priciest South Korean films ever.
Parasite, Bong Joon-Ho’s magnificent Oscar-winning picture from 2019, delves more into classism, but Snowpiercer serves as an excellent entry point to the director’s back catalog because it allows him to make the most of a big budget and explore a more action-oriented type thriller.
The movie earned $86.7 million globally, which is about what anyone would expect given the positive reviews it received. Chris Evans is still in action mode, but his role is more dramatic than normal, allowing him to show off his acting chops.
The movie Snowpiercer gets a lot of things right and is a blast to see because of it. Though audiences have grown weary of dystopian settings, this film’s original take on the genre helps it stand out. Under Bong Joon-Ho’s direction, it distinguishes out from similar science fiction flicks and has you on the edge of your seat the whole time.
Taking on Harvey Weinstein: Bong Joon-Ho
Most studios would be happy to let Bong Joon-Ho do anything he wants, but after The Weinstein Company bought the US distribution rights for Snowpiercer, the director had a few run-ins with Harvey Weinstein. After Weinstein attempted to have as much as 25 minutes of footage removed from the film in an effort to increase the amount of action and decrease the amount of talking, the film’s broad distribution was initially postponed.
Weinstein wanted to delete a notable moment in which a fish is gutted, but Bong Joon-Ho delightfully lied and claimed that his father was a fisherman and that the scene was a tribute to him.
A test audience saw Weinstein’s cut of Snowpiercer and despised it, prompting Weinstein to push for further edits. A grassroots movement ensued to have Bong Joon-Ho’s original cut published to American viewers when it was test-screened to significantly more positive reviews.
Denise Heard-Bashur, an advocate for uncensored film screenings, spearheaded the campaign, which received backing from actors Tilda Swinton and John Hurt.
Snowpiercer vs. Le Transperceneige
The visual novel from which Snowpiercer is adapted is excellent; yet, viewers should not expect a literal adaptation. Bong Joon-Ho decided to restructure the story rather than try to squeeze the lengthy narrative of the graphic novel into the movie, thus while the backdrop is the same, the story is not.
It’s true that not every film needs to be an exact replica of its source material; in this case, it appears the filmmakers made the right call by deciding to create something new rather than try to adapt a story that wouldn’t translate well to the big screen.
Snowpiercer is a sci-fi thriller directed by one of the most intriguing filmmakers active today, so if that seems like something you’d enjoy, check it out. If you have Netflix, you should watch it. Keep an eye out for Bong Joon-Ho’s next movie, Mickey 17, also starring Robert Pattinson and set in the science fiction genre.