James Franco and Seth Rogen starred as Dave Skylark and Aaron Rapaport in “The Interview,” a controversial film released in December.
Skylark and Rapoport, played by Franco and Rogen respectively, receive the opportunity to interview North Korean leader Kim Jon-un. Unexpectedly, the CIA gets involved and makes Skylark and Rapaport a part of an assassination mission to kill their interviewee.
“The Interview” was produced by Sony Pictures and was originally scheduled to be released on Oct. 10 of last year. Due to threats from the North Korean government, Sony chose to delay the release of the film until until Dec. 25. On Dec. 17, Sony cancelled the dramatic release of “The Interview” and were met with criticism from the media and the White House for the cancellation. It was announced on Dec. 24 that there would be a limited dramatic release and that “the Interview” would be released online for purchase and rental.
Despite the threats, Jean Guerin, Senior Vice President of Media Relations for Sony Pictures Entertainment, wrote a press release addressing the threat. In that press release, Michael Lynton, Chairman and CEO of Sony said, “It has always been Sony’s intention to have a national platform on which to release this film.”
Lynton continued to explain that Sony “reached out to Google, Microsoft and other partners” on Dec. 17 to arrange the online release of “The Inerview.” “We are pleased we can now join with our partners to offer the film nation-wide today,” Lyton said on Dec. 24.
“The Interview” can now easily be watched on android and iOS phones or tablets, streamed at home using Chromecast, Netflix or purchased on YouTube in HD.
“I think a lot of people took the movie not being shown as America yielding to North Korea because we were listening to what they were saying,” Bert Whitt, freshman in anthropology, said.
Whitt watched the movie at a party he recently held for his birthday with his friends.
“I think (Americans) also took it as ‘It’s our freedom of speech to put out whatever movies we want.’ So, if the government is not allowing us to do that, then they’re approaching in on that right,” Whitt said. “North Korea has threatened us multiple times throughout the course of the last two decades or so and has not done anything.
According to Lynton, pursuing the release of “The Interview” was essential to the studio. Even though the film was attacked and threatened, there was no stopping release of “The Interview.”
“We chose the path of digital distribution first so as to reach as many people as possible on opening day,” Lynton said in the press release. “We continue to seek other partners and platforms to further expand the release.”
“The Interview” of course, is not the first movie to present the idea of assassinating world leaders or dictators.
Garrett Mendelsohn, junior in physical therapy at WSU noted “Team America,” a movie released 2004 was filmed using live action puppets killing terrorists. “I just don’t think anyone takes Kim Jon-un seriously anymore. He’s kind of like an internet joke in a way,” said Mendelsohn.
The highest critic rating for “The Interview” was give by IMDb.com at about seven out of ten stars.
Giving about the same rating, Whitt said, “The story was very linear. It didn’t have much going for it.” Whitt added that the entertainment value of the film was good but that it seemed “cliché.”