SnowPiercer, the comicbook:
Written by Jacques Lob and drawed by Jean-Marc Rochette in 1984, the snowpiercer is what we can call a high-concept, humanity trapped in a train in order to survive a climatic apocalypse. This concept could have work with a spaceship exactly the same way with the same story and all but... The choice of the train is smarter in my opinion : we all know what is a train, lot of us did take the train, we all know what winter and cold are like, it's way easier to picture that than deep space
The comics was all about atmosphere, we really felt this train like a trap, there was only two main characters trying to go to the front machine all by themselves meeting other great characters time to time until their journey comes to a tragic end. It was classic story-telling but very well done and sooo pessimistic but how could it be optimistic with such a plot?
There was a sequel written by Benjamin Legrand exploring the original idea with another train, it was not bad but not that great in my opinion, and the movie is mostly based on the original book.
Jacques Lob written a first draft for The Snowpiercer for the comicbook artist Alexis, but Alexis died in 1977, in this first version of the story we get to know better how things goes in the tail wagon and it's more about a group of people wanting to get to the front machine... While it's only sixteen pages and I didn't get to read it, it seems much closer to the movie version
SnowPiercer, the movie:
Here we go for the Bong Joon-Ho directed flick featuring Chris Evans as the main protagonist: so there's this train, last hope of the humanity since life disappeared fifteen years ago because of a new ice age of human origins. The train keep the few people that remains safe but in the tail wagon everyone suffer from the lack of food and space, this leads Curtis (Chris Evans) to begin a riot in order to take control of the train.
First thing I have to say, Chris Evans looks amazing in this movie it's like the character from the book jumped out of the panel, but he's not the only one, Jamie Bell, John Hurt, everyone has strong character design, their faces are dirty, that woman played by Tilda Twinton looks amazing in a weird way as for Ko Ah-Sung who is damn cute and equally creepy.
The movie do a great job at showing how horrible is this society, it's easy to get why the people of the tail wagons hate so much their condition, we see why even with the humanity reduced to a bunch of people the tailer are ready to kill even more of their siblings in order to get a better life.
I said earlier the characters were good-looking in a dirty way, this sense of the visuals is here really helpfull, lot of characters don't get lot of screentime or lines but they are very recognizable and since the main character is okay, I personnaly had no issue about some characters who barely have a name.
There was a lot of weird stuff, some nonsense, like everyone stopping fight because... The new year begins! I loved that sense of... nonsense, mostly because our main characters, the people from the tail wagons seems to be normal and don't understand the nonsense of their persecutor.
The action also looked amazing, there's a fight scene were everything happen really fast and yet you understand everything that's going on, the pacing of this scene just blew my mind, it eventually end with a longer slow mo fight which was not that great (it didn't annoyed me as much as the slow mo in Zack Snyder movies though) but still, amazing fight scene.
What bothered me though was that some scenes looked a lot like a videogame, not because there was too much CGI like in the hobbit, more because of each wagon looks like a new level and some character are so empty and yet so deadly they felt like video game bosses. The movie seems to loose some of the atmosphere I loved in the comicbook like... It seems like the train is not that long, there's not that much people, while we know the characters are the last of humanity we don't get that suffocating atmosphere the comicbook did so well. I guess I was expecting something more like some submarine flicks were we really are suffocating with its characters.
Last concern but not least, the ending was a little odd, like if the movie didn't really knew how to finish this, and it's not as pessimistic as it was in the book (seriously, read it, the ending is just perfect in this book) but... nothing that bad either.
I must say... I enjoyed the movie, it was good, entertaining and odd... While it wasn't such a clever adaptation of the source material it did a great job with the visuals and wasn't a slave to the original comicbook. And while I would've love seeing the comicbook all over again in live action, the original concept is strong enough to support the story as it did in the book.
In the end I think The SnowPiercer is a good movie but a very light adaptation.