James Franco and Seth Rogen are at it again with another juvenile comedy — this time about the assassination of North Korea’s young new leader Kim Jong-un. The question on everyone’s mind is did the boys take it too far this time?
A day after a cryptic message appeared, threatening attacks on movie theaters that showed the film, Sony Pictures moved to pull “The Interview.” Although no evidence was disclosed, a U.S. official told Time magazine that the North Korean government was behind the attack.
The hack leaked sensitive information via the Internet, wiped out important company files and stole a large amount of data. The various secret and embarrassing things the hackers leaked included salary for thousands of employees, emails between executives and several unreleased feature films.
For a while, it was uncertain if the movie would be shown in theaters, made available online or scrubbed forever. Sony, after much thought, finally decided to release the movie in a few select theaters across the country and online.
The online release set the stage for new methods of releasing films although President Barack Obama, in a year-end press conference, stated that Sony Pictures Entertainment “made a mistake” by pulling the film from several theatres.
Not only is “The Interview” gaining popularity from online streaming platforms such as YouTube, Google Play and Xbox Video, but the movie was also set to stream for free to subscribers on Netflix beginning Jan. 24. Sony also set up a website where viewers could stream the film for $5.99 or purchase it for $14.99.
Regardless of the numerous threats, uncertainty of online releases and scrutiny the film received, “The Interview” made $18 million in its opening weekend alone.
“The Interview” is about a vapid celebrity gossip talk show host Dave Skylark (Franco), and his producer Aaron Rappaport (Rogen), who discover the supreme leader of North Korea, Kim Jong-un (Randall Park), is a huge fan of the show. The pair, desperate for some credibility, take it upon themselves to get an interview with the dictator.
The trip to Pyongyang quickly turns into an assassination mission when the CIA takes this opportunity to recruit them — the least qualified men on the planet —to “take out” Kim, and not just for drinks.
To put it simply, the controversial movie is funny; there’s no way around it. Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg co-wrote and directed a movie that humanizes the iconic, god-like leader of North Korea. They create a man-child type persona to make it easier to make fun of him, and it works. Kim can be brought to tears with lyrics from Katy Perry’s music and is ridiculed by his father for liking margaritas. Who can be afraid of that?
Despite some raunchier scenes that are typical of Seth Rogen films, the movie will appeal to those who appreciate off-color humor and outrageous situations.
by Andrew Drake and Sky Bruno, Ka ‘Ohana Staff Reporters