Sunday, December 28, 2014

Movie Review #51: The Interview

I honestly wasn't interested in watching this movie, but given the hype and controversy around it my parents were kind of interested. Since it was available to watch via the Internet fairly cheaply, we all sat down in my parents' living room and watched it last night.

Short review: it's certainly what you'd expect from a Seth Rogan movie. Goofy, kinda smart sometimes, but mostly just a bunch of friends having a good time. Comedies like this aren't really my thing, though.

In an effort to get taken seriously in the news industry, the producer of a Hollywood-Reporter-style show works with his flamboyant show host to secure an interview with Kim Jung-un, the supreme leader of North Korea. This mission is complicated when the CIA tries to get them to assassinate the supreme leader to eliminate the threat...


I think that the idea of a soft news producer trying to get taken seriously is a cool one, especially since, as noted in the movie, he'd have to battle with the fact that trashy TV is far more popular than hard-hitting news. I also think that the idea of an American interviewer getting the opportunity to interview the supreme leader of a hostile country is a really cool idea to explore. These are some really cool base ideas.

The comedy just doesn't work for me, though. Which is fine--comedies are definitely the most difficult type of movie to make, I think, since humor is incredibly subjective. In this case, the slapstick was never surprising or well-executed, the "check it out, I think these guys might be kinda gay, so awkward" bit was never really funny, and just generally the fact that the North Korean people really are suffering through all of this kinda cast a pall on the whole thing.

I think what really bothered me was the relish with which they killed Kim Jung-un, though. I have no real sympathy for the man, but glorifying the death of anyone always seems kinda gross to me.

I also think it's kind of interesting that everyone jumped in to defend this movie for its portrayal of the degradation and death of Kim Jung-un after North Korea (allegedly) hacked Sony when they were upset about it. I wonder how the United States would react if someone made a movie that was pretty much entirely a personal attack on the president, which ended with his death? Something like that may have happened, but I'm not aware of it.

In any case, while I don't think it would be censored, I also don't think Americans would take too kindly to it. Especially if it were made by people from another country--Russia, perhaps.

As a final note,  can't help but compare this movie to Team America: World Police. Both are comedies with the supreme leader of North Korea as the primary villain, though Team America was a generation before. I happen to really enjoy Team America, though, perhaps because while it did not pull any punches toward North Korea, it also balanced a lot of that out with some pretty stern commentary about America as well. Also, it was just funnier. And it was a musical. Also, puppet sex.

Basically, if you're interested in watching The Interview, just go watch Team America instead.

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