When I read Snowpiercer, I only knew what I have read in the news. Unless you lived in a small number of countries, there wasn’t a chance to see the movie yet. It was directed by Joon-ho Bong, the man who brought us the seriously great monster movie The Host.
Despite a great cast, including Chris Evans, Tilda Swinton, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, Alison Pill, Octavia Spencer, and Ed Harris, it had only been released in South Korea, France, Hong Kong, Thailand, Taiwan, Vietnam, Estonia, and the United Arab Emirates. Japan, Sweden, and Germany even got it before the United States.
The United States finally got it in June 2014 and I was sent the first English translation of the French Snowpiercer graphic novel ahead of the movie’s release to review it for Renegade Cinema.
Sadly, Harvey Weinstein wanted cut the movie to, in his words, make it easier for “people in places like Oklahoma and Iowa” to understand. As someone who lives in Oklahoma, Weinstein is an idiot (among other things he turned out to be years later). While he didn’t damage it too much, it was very limited to see in Middle America, so for awhile, these graphic novels were all I had to tell me this story.
I was sent the first two volumes, and the first one — Snowpiercer: The Escape — was not the story told in the movie. It was basically a prequel to put it best.
Now, with the TNT television series coming, it looks like there will be another chance to create a faithful adaptation to the Jacques Lob and Jean-Marc Rochette masterpiece.
Snowpiercer: The Escape starts off with a man escaping the tail end of the Snowpiercer train, where disease and hunger are killing everyone. He is caught and ends up meeting a woman.
She leads a group in the middle of the train, fighting for the rights of all people — the rich on the front of the train and the poor in the back. The two of them are taken by armed guards to the front of the train to meet the President.
Along the way, we get a good look at how the train runs, where the food comes from, how the living conditions differ as we move forward, and more importantly, how we got to this point.
Remember in the movie 2012, where the governments of the world knew the end was coming and made arks for the rich and powerful to survive on while the rest of the world was kept in the dark?
That is pretty much what we have here, except instead of arks, there is a train, invented to run non-stop without needing to ever stop to re-fuel, used by the rich and powerful to survive when the world went into a global freeze.
The only problem was that some people figured out the plan and rushed the train to get on. Those people were left in the back, in cattle cars, where they suffered and died.
There was also talk about an uprising from the tail that took the lives of many people, but was actually a massacre by the military forces of the front car people. The word spread that it was all the tail people who did it and they were now feared, even by the lesser middle car people.
That is exactly what the trailer for the Snowpiercer movie looks like. As far as I can tell from reading this graphic novel, we are getting the uprising the book only hinted at.
That is very cool.
Snowpiercer: The Escape graphic novel is a great read and a very entertaining book. It was written by Jacques Lob and illustrated in black and white by Jean-Marc Rochette and I have to give it a solid recommendation.
Let’s be glad the Weinstein Brothers let us see the movie as the director intended it because that original cut received tremendous reviews across the world. Now, lets hope that the Snowpiercer TV show keeps up the good fight.
If you want to pick up Snowpiercer: The Escape, it is available from Amazon.com.