Snowpiercer Blu-ray Review
It has been seventeen years since the world froze over. Only a lucky few were able to board the singular refuge of the Snowpiercer train, which continues to hurtle around the globe busting through snow banks. Inside the train, life isn’t much better. Well, life isn’t much better for the lower class in the back. They are packed in like sardines, unclean, fed mystery jello bars, counted daily by gun point, and robbed of their children. It is time for a revolt. Led by Curtis (played by Captain America himself, Chris Evans), the lower class must fight their way up the train, car by car, to reach the engine and overtake the conductor Wilford.
In a riveting Noah’s Arc type of tale, SNOWPIERCER is easily one of the best science fiction films of the year. Much like THE RAID or DREDD, SNOWPIERCER is a journey of action levels. But rather than moving up floors, the quest is a horizontal marathon to the front of the train. As an allegory for social structure, the film reveals fascinating functions as a fully active society inside the confines of a rocketing train. The brutality enforced on the lowest class is more like a prison. Opportunity isn’t really an option as everyone has a role and place in order for everything to continue running.
Director Joon-ho Bong, who brought us the surprisingly fun, action horror film THE HOST in 2006 (not to be confused with the weak young adult 2013 film by the same name), has created something truly special in SNOWPIERCER and is definitely one to watch for future endeavors. From the opening scenes, Joon-ho Bong creates an intriguing world not only visually but with interesting characters. The supporting cast of Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Octavia Spencer, Kang-ho Song, and Ah-sung Ko give each role a realistic depth and likability to make them easy to root for. Eating up every scene she is in, Tilda Swinton is particularly twisted as a villainous leader, who is both deliciously commanding and cowardly. We all know that Chris Evans can fill the hero role from his work as Marvel’s Captain America, but I became an even bigger fan seeing him tackle a grittier everyman type hero here.
Adding another level of intensity to an already thrilling action film, the pulsating score from Marco Beltrami pushes the action forward. The clever editing and fast pace are aided further by this continually moving score that all comes together to match the overall tone of the story. Once the slow build to the inevitable rebellion takes place, SNOWPIERCER doesn’t let up. The energy and surprises that come through each railcar is exhilarating. The joy of discovering what’s behind each new door is something I want to allow the viewer to experience as I did. But know that simple soldiers and kitchens are not the only things that keep this steel machine running. The strange and deadly trek makes its ways through a greenhouse, giant aquarium and a morbid classroom teaching in session to name a few.
I had so much fun with SNOWPIERCER. A film that functions on many levels, SNOWPIERCER is an enormously entertaining and visually stunning thrill ride from start to finish. A great story with a great cast and production, this film is easily recommended for all science fiction fans.
Video: (MPEG-4 AVC, 1080p 1.78:1) The picture is absolutely gorgeous to behold. The color palette in particular brings out the wacky nature and over all frigid vibe of the train.
Audio: (DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1) A great sound aided by a fantastic score.
Audio Commentary: The commentary track is unique in that it uses a bunch of different film critics and guests to talk about the film giving fascinating insights. Scott Weinberg of Geek Nation hosts with guests that include James Rocchi (MSN Movies), William Goss (Austin Chronicle), Drew Mcweeny (Hitfix.com), Jennifer Yamato (Deadline), and Peter S. Hall (Movies.com).
Transperceneige: From the Blank Page to the Black Screen – A Documentary by Jesus Castro-Ortega (54:27): An extremely detailed look at where the film came from and history behind the source material from a French graphic novel. Lots of behind the scenes making of the film moments that include interviews and on set footage. This a thoroughly interesting look behind the film.
The Birth of Snowpiercer (15:09): This is a shortened, less in depth but still very detailed look at all the running pieces behind the film.
The Characters (13:08): Lots of clips of the film and interviews with the cast and crew discussing characters.
Animated Prologue (4:31): A more in depth telling of the film’s intro explaining what happened. Told through animation.
Chris Evans & Tilda Swinton on Snowpiercer (4:40): The two actors discuss getting their part and working on the film.
The Train Brought to Life: Behind the Scenes of a Special Screening (8:06): Put on by Alamo Drafthouse, they gave special guest a creative train ride before an outdoor screening. The best part of course is an interview with director Bong Joon-Ho.
Concept Art Galleries: One can view two different options: Train Concepts and Rochette Paintings.