It's been quite the month as far as Sony and its film The Interview are concerned. In case you're just joining in, the ongoing saga began last month, when a hacker group calling itself Guardians of Peace (or 'GOP' for short) hit Sony with a crippling attack. At least 10TB of its data was stolen, much of which included employee records and unreleased Sony proprietary content. At that time, it wasn't entirely clear why GOP had such a beef with Sony, but it didn't take long to figure out that The Interview was the primary issue at hand.
In The Interview, Seth Rogan and James Franco head to North Korea to get a once-in-a-lifetime interview with the supreme leader Kim Jong-un. That in itself would probably make a movie pretty boring, so the FBI intervenes and enlists these two brainiacs to assassinate the North Korean leader. Suffice it to say, that the real-world North Korea isn't pleased about this comedy satire, and made that clear many months ago.
About ten days ago, GOP made a return and threatened the US, suggesting 9/11-like terrorism if the movie was released. This caused an incredible chain of events, one that many liken to letting the terrorists win. The following day, one cinema said it wouldn't be airing the movie. That escalated to have most other major cinemas follow suit. Not long after, Sony officially canceled the December 25th release, something even US President Obama later criticized the company for, calling it a 'mistake.'
At that point, many speculated that North Korea was directly behind these threats and the Sony attack, something the White House agreed on, as did the FBI the following day. As it stands today, it doesn't seem that anyone has been able to pinpoint this as entirely North Korea's doing - we're just going to have to wait for investigations to progress.
Fast-forward to this past Monday, when Sony said that would indeed release the movie on time after all, but had yet to decide on a distributor. As we reported yesterday, Sony kept to its word; the movie is now available on multiple services, such as YouTube. Unfortunately, Sony's decided to keep this release US-only for some reason - a really foolish move, as far as I'm concerned.
Nonetheless, after that amazing debacle, the film is out, both online and in select cinemas. That in itself makes this situation interesting; very few movies ever see a simultaneous release in both the home and cinema at the same time, so it'll be interesting to see how that plays out revenue-wise. Of course, it'd be better if the movie was available in all cinemas the nation over, but alas, I suppose it wasn't meant to be.
Credit: Columbia Pictures
I wasted little time to watch The Interview. Part of the reason was the hype, but the other is the fact that I love the Seth Rogan / James Franco duo. Pineapple Express is one of my favorite movies, and This Is The End isn't too bad, either. The duo's films are often very exaggerated and immature, and I can't help but like it. Even during The Interview, there were certain moments where I was admittedly, giggling - that doesn't happen all-too-often.
While I happen to enjoy that kind of comedy, it's definitely not for everyone. In fact, some might be repulsed by it. If you plan to watch the movie and would like to enjoy it at all, you need to expect some seriously weird comedy, and perhaps some rough parts here and there. I don't want to spoil anything, but there were a handful of parts during the movie that I found outright silly-stupid, but it was made up for by other parts that made me laugh out loud.
Credit: Columbia Pictures
As a comedy, even the story itself can't be taken too seriously. James Franco plays Dave Skylark, the host of an immensely popular talk show that doesn't cover a single serious topic - unless Rob Lowe's hairline is a serious topic. Seth Rogan, who plays Aaron Rapoport, is the show's producer, and has a sudden revelation that the show should cover more serious topics. As it happens, North Korea's Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un is a major fan, and agrees to the interview. As mentioned earlier, the US FBI interjects and wants to take Kim out.
Oh yes - you can imagine how well that goes.
Credit: Columbia Pictures
If you're not sure whether or not you'd enjoy The Interview, I'd recommend watching the above trailer (language warning). If it doesn't intrigue you at all, you're probably not going to enjoy it. Looking around the Web, opinions on the film appear really divided. I think it's safe to say that Die Hard will remain as the de facto holiday movie.
With the movie out, I guess we can turn our thoughts to the aftermath. In many ways, Sony could be praised for not bowing out after all, and for believing free speech is that important. The company's decision really has more to do with simply appeasing people. This is the same company just weeks ago threatened to sue Twitter because of all the tweets that appeared on the site that had to do with the leaked emails. Another thing that concerns me is that without delay, Pyongyang, a New Regency film that was to star Steve Carrell, was canceled. It'd be nice to see that decision reverted. It's not often that terrorists and thugs end up getting more than what they asked for. It's hard to say whether North Korea even knew of that film's existence - most North Koreans likely didn't.
What is your takeaway from all of this? And, if you've seen The Interview, what did you think?