Boy, this film has sure sent everyone into a tizzy. The latest Seth Rogen and James Franco team-up has been one of the most publicized film releases in recent memory. Sony Pictures have been pretty heavily hacked the past couple of months. With films being leaked onto the internet and personal emails being disclosed. About a week ago, December 16th, hackers (now presumed to be from North Korea) sent Sony a threatening message to not show 'The Interview.' A day later, Sony cancelled the NYC Premiere and major theater chains (like AMC) across the US pulled the film from their Christmas Day release. This effectively killed any hope of the film releasing. This caused a backlash from media, theater owners and even The White House. In the days following all this hubbub, it was reported that Sony was looking for other ways to release 'The Interview.' These (presumed sites) included online streaming services like Amazon Video, Apple TV, Google Play and YouTube. A few days ago, on December 23rd, Sony announced that 'The Interview' would have a limited theater release on Christmas Day. Then yesterday morning, it broke that Sony would also be releasing 'The Interview' online, for everyone, via Google Play, X-Box Video and YouTube. The film went live at 1PM (Eastern Standard Time) yesterday and 'The Interview' is now available for the masses.
'The Interview' follows the story of Dave Skylark and Aaron Rapoport (James Franco and Seth Rogen). Dave Skylark hosts a late night talk show in which he interviews celebrities about controversial topics. Aaron Rapoport is the producer for the show. Shortly after their 1,000th episode, Dave finds out that North Korean dictator, Kim Jong-un (Randall Park), is a big fan of the show. Aaron travels to China to arrange an interview with Jong-un's people. The interview is confirmed by Sook (Diana Bang) one of Un's right hand women. After Dave finds out he will be interviewing Kim, they have a giant party at his house. Upon waking up the next day, Dave and Aaron are approached by CIA Agent Lacey (Lizzy Caplan). She informs them that the US wants them to assassinate Kim Jong-un, so that change may finally start to come about in North Korea. Dave and Aaron reluctantly agree and begin to prepare for their trip to North Korea, where Dave and Aaron will attempt to assassinate one of the most dangerous men in the world.
This films hype reached critical mass in recent weeks with all of the news surrounding it coming out day after day. Some will argue that this is an important moment in the history of film. Where free speech prevailed. Some will likely say that "North Korea was right, maybe we should have just left it on the shelf." It wasn't the best team up between Rogen, Franco and (writer) Evan Goldberg. I think it was bigger for one reason, the (nearly) simultaneous release of a major film on video on demand and in theaters. I get that films that get a video on demand release, simply don't make the money that ones that are released to theaters make. But, it makes sense, for studios to at least consider the possibility of going forward with an idea like this. Major studio films are going to be seen in theaters, there's no stopping that. People still want to experience films on the big screen. If you also add a VoD release along side of a nation-wide schedule, you not only reach more people, but you get even more exposure for your product. I'll be honest here, if you're not a fan of the Seth Rogen and James Franco's brand of comedy, you're gonna have a hard time liking this film. This is the type of comedy that relies heavily on Rogen and Franco playing off of each other. One liners all over the place, raunchy and sexual jokes and over the top nonsense throughout. I loved every minute of it too. I get that the story is iffy at best, and probably out of taste in more than a few places. I get that the violence, especially towards the end of the film, is kind of unnecessary. I also get that this may be the film that starts World War III. But watching this with a group of friends and just laughing, made watching this on Christmas Eve all the more worth it. People get caught up on whether a film's good or bad too easily, including myself. With 'The Interview' you need to go in, turn your brain off and enjoy it. The laughs are plentiful and the running jokes they do throughout hit well. The acting is pretty okay. Seth Rogen and James Franco are who you expect them to be. The performances by Randall Park and Diana Bang were also pretty good. Randall Park shines as Kim Jong-un. The CGI and action are done well too, albeit way over the top. The film is about two hours, but if you're into it, you're not counting the minutes until it's over. The music is okay and probably has the best use of Katy Perry's "Firework" you're ever gonna hear.
'The Interview' is far from a perfect film, despite the rating you may see on iMDB. The story is iffy and borderline out of taste, the gratuitous violence near the end is also a bit out of place and it's not the best Rogen and Franco team-up. Nevertheless, this film is one that I quite enjoyed. There's plenty of laughs to be had throughout and that's what you should be watching a comedy film for in the end. Rogen and Franco's chemistry is amazing, and the amount of stupidly hilarious things they come up with, that I'll laugh at, is awesome. 'The Interview' isn't the best comedy of the year, but as it turns out, may be one of the most important films to be released this year.