SNOWPIERCER [BLU-RAY] (2013)
SYNOPSIS: After a failed global-warming experiment to stop global warming, a post-apocalyptic Ice Age has killed off nearly all life on the planet. All that remains of humanity are the lucky few survivors that boarded the Snowpiercer, a train that travels around the globe, powered by a sacred perpetual-motion engine. A class system has evolved aboard the train, fiercely dividing its population but a revolution is brewing. The lower class passengers in the tail section stage an uprising, moving car-by-car up toward the front of the train where the train's creator and absolute authority resides in splendor. But unexpected circumstances lie in wait for humanity's tenacious survivors...
While our local theaters continue to showcase countless forgettable Thai horrors and straight-to-video duds starring Bruce Willis, gems liked Snowpiercer missed the chance of getting a theatrical release.
Watching Snowpiercer which is based on a 80’s French graphic novel requires somewhat a little patience and a suspension of disbelief but trust me, the end results is both compelling and thought-provoking.
Bong Joon-ho, the celebrated Korean director behind The Host and Mother marks his first foray into Hollywood in this apocalypse sci-fi drama set in the aftermath of a scientific experiment to combat global warming went awry. The remaining survivors managed to cram themselves into a hi-tech locomotive dubbed Wilford named after its creator. While it might seem fortunate to survive the disaster, the train is divided into two different classes: the rich at the front enjoying spa facilities and sushi while the poor being relegated to the back suffered overcrowding, unhygienic living conditions and only protein bars as food.
After nearly two decades of travelling around the globe in the train since it’s deem too cold to survive outside the train, one of the dwellers at the back, Curtis (Chris Evans) decides to led a revolt to seize control of the train with the assistance of wise man, Gilliam (William Hurt) and his right hand man, Edgar (Jamie Bell). Will Curtis succeed? And what’s the mystery behind Wilford?
Bong is a wunderkind when it comes to telling a fascinating tale mixed with beautiful visuals and Snowpiercer is no exception. It’s often brilliant not forgetting small dosages of dark humor and borderline violence. The premise is a clever nod to the current cynical world we are living in. What’s more, the movie also confronts you with an unwavering narrative. What if the noble grand plans are not necessarily what you imagine. The CG in general may falter at some point but the clever use of visual effects and excellent production design rolled out plenty of interesting display of fascinating train carriages which revealed the vastly different social class.
Captain America aka Chris Evans is a strong presence throughout despite having his chiseled body and handsome face hidden behind grubby clothing and unkempt facial hair. Stealing the show is an unrecognizable Tilda Swinton as the haughty second-in-command of the train. The only setback that I feel is the casting of Song Kang-ho as the train’s former security expert. While Song is a capable actor, his casting here (equipped with plenty of Korean dialogue) unintentionally took away some of the magic of Bong’s English directorial debut.
I haven’t seen such a captivating sci-fi thriller for a while. In short, Snowpiercer is best watched without a faint idea about it especially the climax which featured a familiar face. It’s very much an exhilarating, brainy ride that surpassed plenty of contemporary sci-fi titles.
I very much preferred a commentary track by Bong and Chris Evans nevertheless Critic's Commentary Hosted by Scott Weinberg which touches on the movie themes and Bong’s influences makes a rare, alternative listen.
Clocking close to an hour, Transperceneige: From the Blank Page to the Black Screen - A Documentary by Jésus Castro-Ortega offers a documentary detailed look at the original creators and how the graphic book came to the big screen.
The Birth of Snowpiercer mainly covers brief production aspects such as plotting, set design etc.
The Characters takes a closer look at the various key characters in the movie. Recommend to avoid because of spoilers.
Animated Prologue, which offers sound effects and narrative, reproduced the events told in the beginning of the movie.
Through the two Hollywood leads, this feature offers a deeper look into the story in Chris Evans & Tilda Swinton on Snowpiercer.
The Train Brought to Life: Behind the Scenes of A Special Screening covers the screening event held at the Alamo Drafthouse cinema.
Lastly, a Concept Art Galleries round up the extra features on Disc Two.
This might be a dark, grim movie with plenty of scenes, which intensively test the black levels. Fortunately, the blu-ray passed with flying colors with accurate skin colors, graphic details and more. The DTS-HD lossless 5.1 is insanely strong. Directional effects liked gunfire and dialogue is robust while the rumbling sound effects of the train are formidable.
DVD RATING :
Review by Linus Tee