Adam’s Verdict: Sony screwed up.
This should be my review of The Interview. Our freedom of expression was squashed so I was unable to attend the screening I already had gotten tickets to.
The problems surrounding The Interview are numerous. This will just be a short blurb filled with this one (aspiring) writer’s feelings and experiences. The more in depth news has been covered to no end, overshadowing other news. What people need to remember is us not being able to see this goofy comedy isn’t the movie going experience itself. It’s the much larger implication on freedom of speech.
From the very start no one on board with The Interview thought Kim Jung-un (I hate that I took the time to properly spell this cowards name) would be a huge fan of it. The good thing about that stand point is that nobody really cared. It is a comedy, a very average rated comedy with on and off screen pals Seth Rogen and James Franco. The movie doesn’t spend its entirety taking shots at the fat-faced dictator, though it could, it presents the lead actors as a couple bumbling fools. I probably don’t need to explain to the average American that that is what comedy is. Laughing at yourself, laughing at others, laughing at observations, not taking anything too seriously.
A group that was said to not (no one fully believed this) be related to North Korea, and more recently said that they definitely are, behind the malicious attacks on Sony. The attack isn’t against one movie. Six of Sony’s largest movies were leaked online, only one of them had been released in theaters already (the awesomely gritty World War 2 action drama Fury). The projected losses of these movies hitting torrents far ahead of their theatrical release was said to be in the hundreds of millions. This massive loss was even before the specific attacks on The Interview.
The poorly written threats against any theater that decided to show the comedy were implied to resemble the September 11th attacks on the world trade center. I highly doubt the Korean runts behind this were going to hijack commercial airliners and hit individual multiplexes. Sony’s stance changed to letting the theater owners to decide on their own to show the movie or not. This move seemed fair, not wanting to cancel their movie, but also not wanting to be held responsible if something were to happen. I, along with the NSA, don’t see anything in these threats to make them credible. That isn’t to say some psycho with a hunting rifle bought at Wal-Mart couldn’t take advantage of the press already surrounding the movies to kill some innocents who just wanted to escape the grind for ninety minutes and obtain their fifteen minutes of ill informed fame that news outlets thrive on lately. It isn’t about being right, it’s about being first.
In the midst of the theater chains being able to make their own decision red carpet premieres, along with all of Rogen and Franco’s public appearances were canceled.
Fast forward to December 17th. I had tickets for a promotional showing put on by Sony entertainment themselves. I was amped to go, I like Franco and Rogen, the movie didn’t look like an Oscar contender but I thought, still think, it looked entertaining. I was looking for the same escapism I always do with a comedy. I didn’t think this was a large political statement or anything more than a movie that would inevitably be filled with pot, dick, and gay jokes. The last thing on my mind, however, was that an American institution would bow down to foreign demands and allow the constitution that allowed them to make the movie in the first place to be walked over by a fat man-child.
Sony squashed the movie’s release. It was no longer up to the theaters, it was no longer up to the general public. A VOD campaign was thought up to try and recover some of the not insignificant forty two million dollar budget (before advertising). That idea only lasted a couple hours before Sony said the movie would not be released.
As of now the foreign distribution is still in place, I hope that the rest of the countries in the world who consider themselves free won’t bow down to terrorist demands but only time will tell.
I am annoyed, not because my evening plans were squashed and I couldn’t see The Interview, but because of the very scary and wider implications on American’s freedom of speech. Bowing down to a bully once only begins to set a precedent that they have the power to call the shots. The issue is about so much more than a goofy comedy. Not being able to release a film for these reasons was, before yesterday, unheard of in this country. Even 2004’s Team America where Kim Jong Il was made fun of and brutally murdered (granted in puppet form) didn’t generate half this much controversy. Family guy even aired an episode with the Muslim prophet Muhammad despite terrorist threats. Granted again, that episode was lightly censored.
The precedent I mention isn’t pure speculation there has already been a second cancellation as a direct result of The Interview’s bullying. Steve Carell and Gore Verbinski had a North Korean based thriller coming out before Regency dropped them, bowing down to bullying before it could even start.
It’s a pretty dark time. Again, not because of a specific movie, but because Freedom of Speech is one of the foundations of our country.
Rant via Sitdown, Shutup.