| 03.18.2018

Movie meltdown


Making a mountain out of ‘The Interview’

Seth Rogen and James Franco’s latest comedy, “The Interview,” revolves around a broadcast journalist, played by Franco, who lands an interview with North Korea’s controversial leader Kim Jong-un, and his subsequent recruitment by the CIA to assassinate Jong-un.

Bradley Burgess

Bradley Burgess

Shortly after the release of the trailer for the film, the real North Korean government released a statement threatening “merciless retaliation” if the film is released, calling the film, “the most blatant act of terrorism and war and will absolutely not be tolerated.”

Now, Franco and Rogen’s humor has always been considered a little off-kilter.

After all, these are the guys who made a movie about Satan doing unspeakable things to Jonah Hill. So, if these two think making a movie about assassinating a political leader is funny, that’s their opinion and we’re free to disagree with them.

I do not fault North Korea and their supporters for being offended by this film. If someone made a film about killing Will Smith, an actor I’m a fan of, I would probably be insulted as well. But there’s a very fine line between offense and bullying.

North Korea is taking their feelings about the film out on an entire nation. A film is certainly a collaborative effort, but the screenplay and directing for the film is credited to three people — Evan Goldberg, Dan Sterling and Rogen himself.

I highly doubt that President Barack Obama gave the approval for this idea, much less the entire film. That being said, there are people who did give the OK for this film — notably Sony Pictures executives. I trust they are fully aware of the controversy surrounding the matter and wouldn’t have approved the film if they weren’t prepared to deal with the consequences.

Recently, Sony was hacked by unknown sources, which exposed private information about the studio — including leaking several films made by the studio. North Korean officials denied involvement in the hack, while simultaneously praising those behind the attack. The hack was quite crippling to the studio and several employees’ Social Security numbers and salaries were made public.

If this hack is the “merciless retaliation” the country promised, then they are committing a serious crime in exposing private information and potentially ruining a company. It’s hard to believe that all this fuss is over one movie.

Everything North Korea is doing in response to one film is simply ridiculous. If an entire country is declaring a movie an act of war, then anyone offended by any movie should do the same. If that really happened, everyone would roll their eyes.

Still, all this hasn’t stopped the film’s promotional efforts. But if North Korea continues over the top reactions to

this film or even goes to the far-flung extreme of dropping bombs, they’ll have gone too far and millions will have paid the price for it. While this article isn’t attempting to assassinate Jong-un, it is asking him to really take a good hard look at things and ask if it’s worth it.

Bradley Burgess can be reached at arg-opinion@uidaho.edu

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