Bong Joon-Ho's SNOWPIERCER is being dumbed down for American audiences, rest of the world

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You know the old stereotype about Asians just being smarter than everybody else? Yeah, well apparently so does Harvey Weinstein. The Weinstein Company currently hold the international distribution rights to the post-apocalyptic sci-fi epic, Snowpiercer, acclaimed Korean director Bong Joon-Ho’s English language debut, which released in South Korea  last Wednesday.

The film’s first reviews are already out with many calling it a modern masterpiece, but that probably won’t be the film that non-Korean audiences get to see, as the Weinsteins are apparently cutting out a huge chunk of it. All because of those dumb Americans it seems.

snow-piercer-001

According to a report from film critic and programmer Tony Rayns (via Australia’s Inside Film) TWC is apparently forcing Bong to cut out a whopping 20-minutes of footage for the film’s release in the US, Canada, UK, Australia, New Zealand and – unfortunately – South Africa. The reason for the chop-a-thon? To make sure the film “will be understood by audiences in Iowa … and Oklahoma.”

What does that actually mean (besides insulting the intelligence of the residents of those two States)? Well according to Bong himself, the new edit would “eliminate much of the character detail, which would make the film seem more like an action movie,” because clearly Yanks are only fluent in the language of BOOM-POW-CRASH!

Based on the reviews I’ve read so far, one of the film’s greatest achievements is in the strong characterization of its ensemble cast, and how they all just come alive on screen. Well, how they used to come alive on screen now.

On top of the cut footage, TWC is apparently also adding prologue and epilogue voice-overs to the film, so as to explain to people exactly, word for expository word, how the world works and then also exactly what happens when the credits roll. This is as opposed to the Korean way of doing things: Using your brain to figure it all out (Oh those crazy Koreans! That will never catch on!).

Snowpiercer is currently breaking records over in it’s homeland, becoming the fastest film in South Korean history to pull over 1 million cinemagoers, doing it in just two days after opening, a record once held by Bong’s 2009 hit, The Host. And all of that with a more character-centric approach and no voiceover hand-holding.

I’ve been looking forward to this for some time now, so to say that I’m a little bummed that we’re going to be getting the nerfed version of the film, is a huge understatement. I guess I’m going to have to just rewatch this last trailer and think about what could have been. That and start making arrangements for a couple of my South Korean friends to hook a brother up!

Last Updated: August 7, 2013

Kervyn Cloete

A man of many passions - but very little sleep - I've been geeking out over movies, video games, comics, books, anime, TV series and lemon meringues as far back as I can remember. So show up for the geeky insight, stay for the delicious pastries.

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