I’d like to point out that this is not so much a review of the new highly publicized movie, The Interview, as it is a commentary on the bizarre circumstances surrounding the movie’s release and those other editors who have already beaten me to a movie review. If you haven’t yet seen The Interview, don’t worry, there are no spoilers here. On the other hand, there’s not much to spoil.
For those who’ve had their head in the sand the past few days (or weeks), There’s been a lot of hype over the alleged cyber hacking of Sony Pictures and the release of Seth Rogen’s latest comedy, The Interview, which depicts a fictional assassination plot by the United States’ CIA against North Korea’s Kim Jong-un. There was a lot of back and forth between North Korea and the US and some threats of violence and reprisals. While North Korea hasn’t publicly accepted responsibility for the hacking they were quick to blame the United States for taking action to disrupt their country’s internet service this past week in retaliation.
Many of us had been angered by the seemingly cowardly retreat Sony had initially taken by pulling the movie under the threat of terrorist attacks. Liberals and conservatives alike were unified in their anger at the ability of a rogue foreign power to hamper our rights and tradition of free speech under petty threats of violence.
Before the dust of the cyber war had settled Sony reversed their decision and decided to release the movie on Christmas Day in theaters. They also had made the movie available to purchase or rent online a day before its theatrical release for those not able, willing or brave enough to watch it in theaters.
How could Sony refuse such an opportunity after all? Such publicity doesn’t come every day, especially for a run of the mill comedy farce of this caliber. I’m not bashing Seth Rogen who is a comedy genius. The movie is certainly as funny and edgy as you would expect, maybe more so given the hype, but it’s downright silly and ridiculous too. At $5.99 for a rental, it’s not a bad price especially if you can sit and watch it with friends and family (although I definitely recommend not watching with children for their sake).
Very few people may care that Kim Jong-un and his people are offended and why should we? We’re offended that he threatened us and can’t take a joke. On the other hand, no one seems to consider the fact that Sony Pictures, while an American company, is a subsidiary of a Japanese company. Japan brutalized the people of Korea and China during World War II and they haven’t forgotten although I’m not sure that issue has even come up.
Japanese conservatives are offended by the release of Unbroken, directed by Angelina Jolie which depicts various atrocities committed by the Japanese military during World War II. While historical dramas may depict history from the perspective of the victims and the victors, such stories need to be told and such massive crimes need to be remembered.
Maybe if someone had made a comedy in 1939 depicting the assassination of Hitler or Hirohito the world would have stopped them sooner.
Certainly The Interview is in bad taste on several levels and certainly it’s fictional but that doesn’t matter anymore. It’s Seth Rogen and he makes us laugh, sometimes so hard you may fall off your chair (or sofa). Randall Park is hilarious and memorable in his role as Dictator Kim Jong-un and probably stole the show but this is Seth’s creation and I would love to have been present at an initial brainstorming session on this movie.
The best part of this whole fiasco isn’t the movie, or the fact that it annoyed an individual who needs to be annoyed, but that it briefly united Americans in a cause. Free speech is a cornerstone of American culture and the quickest way to unite conservatives and liberals in America is to threaten us and our right to laugh at what we choose to find funny. I recommend renting The Interview on YouTube just so you know how silly the whole thing is and to thumb your nose at someone who desperately needs to be laughed at.