Harvey Scissorhands Is Fixin' To Shred Bong Joon-ho's SNOWPIERCER
As one of the driving forces behind the independent film revolution of the 1990s, Harvey Weinstein should be regarded as a hero of modern cinema. But the producer/distributor has a problem that's dogged him throughout his career: he thinks he's an editor.
Weinstein's post-production interference is legendary, especially when it comes to Asian films. There was the dubbing disaster of Hayao Miyazaki's PRINCESS MONONOKE, the savaging of Stephen Chow's SHAOLIN SOCCER (from which twenty-three minutes were haphazardly jettisoned) and the attempted truncation/burial of Zhang Yimou's wonderful HERO (which spent two years on the shelf before Quentin Tarantino intervened). To Weinstein's credit, he has been upfront about his meddling. "I'm not cutting for fun," he told the The New Yorker in 2002. "I'm cutting for the shit to work. All my life I served one master: the film. I love movies."
This is a laughably arrogant notion that assumes master filmmakers like Miyazaki, Zhang and Chow don't know what "works". Weinstein would probably counter that they don't understand what works for Western audiences, to whom he's attempting to market these strange films populated with people who talk funny. But if you really love movies, how can you in good conscience shave a Zhang Yimou film down to its most salable elements? At this point, you're doing both the director and the moviegoer a disservice: the former's vision is compromised, while the latter gets stuck with a generic piece of product.
The latest films to undergo the Harvey Scissorhands treatment are Wong Kar-wai's THE GRANDMASTER and Bong Joon-ho's SNOWPIERCER. These are pictures by two world-class, award-winning filmmakers who are renowned for being meticulous in every aspect of production (sometimes to a fault in Wong's case); they're visual storytellers who take great pains in the establishing of motifs that pay off beautifully as the tale progresses. Forcing them to yank whole chunks out of their movies for fear of alienating American audiences with their daunting otherness is outrageous.
We've known for a while now that The Weinstein Company will be releasing a slightly abbreviated cut of THE GRANDMASTER, which is disappointing but not terribly surprising given the film's mixed critical reception. But now we're hearing, via esteemed British film writer Tony Rayns, that Weinstein has ordered Bong Joon-ho to take twenty minutes out of SNOWPIERCER for its theatrical release in the U.S., England, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa. Though the post-apocalyptic sci-fi film has received rave reviews (while cleaning up at the Korean box office), Weinstein evidently believes the English-speaking world is too stupid to appreciate it at its intended length. Here's how Rayns explained the situation to IF Magazine:
TWC people have told Bong that their aim is to make sure the film ‘will be understood by audiences in Iowa ... and Oklahoma.' Leaving aside the issue of what Weinstein thinks of its audience, it seems to say the least anomalous that the rest of the English-speaking world has to be dragged down to the presumed level of American mid-west hicks.
SNOWPIERCER stars the highly marketable Chris Evans, and features an impressive supporting cast that includes Tilda Swinton, Ed Harris, Jamie Bell, Song Kang-ho, Octavia Spencer, John Hurt and Ko Ah-sung. The Hollywood Reporter praised its "universally comprehensible theme and accessible aesthetics", but, fuck it, Weinstein still thinks Bong could stand to lose an entire reel. What's the upshot for TWC? I suppose it's possible they could eke out one more screening per day at 106 minutes, but why treat SNOWPIERCER like a one-weekend smash-and-grab ala SCARY MOVIE V? If the film isn't commercial at 126 minutes, it's not going to become magically accessible at 106. But if the film is fine as is, serve your master, Harvey. Show us that you love movies, and release Bong's cut. The director of MEMORIES OF MURDER, THE HOST and MOTHER deserves better, and so do we.
Readers Talkbackcomments powered by Disqus
- Edgar Wright's Next Project Revealed! -- 119 total posts 11 posts
- JJ Abrams reveals a rusted out, beat up awesome looking X-Wing in new video! -- 550 total posts 10 posts
- 4th Week of July 2014 PICKS & PEEKS: Werewolves, BLUE RUIN, Nordic Noir, ALL CHEERLEADERS DIE + more! -- 165 total posts 7 posts
- Will Ferrell and Adam McKay to bring you MANIMAL: THE MOVIE! -- 147 total posts 6 posts
- A Recently Recovered Gene Roddenberry Interview Leads To A Kickstarter About The Early Days Of STAR TREK!! -- 70 total posts 4 posts
- "I would never order an alcoholic beverage on the bridge..." Trailer for SPACE STATION 76 has its heart firmly in place and its tongue firmly in cheek! -- 53 total posts 4 posts
- New Trailer Promises the Creepiest HONEYMOON Ever! -- 22 total posts 4 posts
- Fox Networks Group Chairman Peter Rice: ‘I’d Love To See Another Season Of 24!!’ -- 159 total posts 4 posts
- Idris Elba to play one of Guy Ritchie's KNIGHTS OF THE ROUNDTABLE! -- 331 total posts 4 posts
- A New & Full Length Trailer For Disney XD’s STAR WARS REBELS!! -- 55 total posts 3 posts