The Interview: 2014’s most notorious movie is not nice, nevertheless it’s essential
Let’s face it, The Interview would have needed to be nothing in need of a masterpiece to justify all the drama round its launch. Properly, it isn’t — however it’s not a horrible film both. The comedy concerning the assassination of Kim Jong-un prompted terrorist assault threats from hackers (and North Korea itself, in response to the FBI), which led to a sudden cancellation by Sony Footage and a response from President Obama. However in the long run, it is simply one other slacker bro-fest entry from Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg (Rogen’s writing and directing companion), and James Franco. You will in all probability snigger a bit, as I did, in the event you’re a fan of their schtick. However if you cannot stand something by these guys, this film will not change your thoughts. On the similar time, it is clear that the story round The Interview will proceed to be considered one of probably the most fascinating media tales properly into 2015.
The Interview is nowhere close to one of the best work to return from the Rogen/Goldberg artistic duo. It isn’t as sublimely raunchy as Superbad, or as batshit insane and hilarious as That is the Finish. However as a comedy, it is extra profitable than the surprisingly uninteresting Inexperienced Hornet reboot. It is a center-of-the-street comedy that simply occurs to have the loopy premise of assassinating a ruthless dictator who’s nonetheless in energy. Had it reached theaters by itself, it in all probability would not have made a lot of a splash with audiences.
However extra fascinating than the movie itself is the distinctive launch technique Sony Footage was pressured to undertake. After the hacker group Guardians of Peace threatened main assaults on theaters displaying the movie, all the huge theater chains throughout the US pulled the movie. That led to Sony briefly canceling The Interview till it might line up one other plan, which took form over the previous few days. First, we discovered that unbiased theaters can be displaying the movie right now. And yesterday Sony laid out its video on demand plans, which included placing the movie up for fast sale and rental on YouTube (and Google Play), Xbox Video, and a newly created web site. (Mockingly, the movie is not but out there on Sony’s personal Crackle streaming service or the PlayStation Community.)
If this technique proves profitable for The Interview, do not be stunned if we see it repeated sooner or later. We have seen some studios, together with Sony , experiment with providing movies already in theaters on VOD. However these releases have been sometimes pricy at round $30. Common tried to supply Tower Heist (a movie you in all probability have not considered in years) for $60 on Comcast’s VOD service, however it scrapped these plans after theater chains had a match. Whereas it wasn’t Sony’s unique technique, The Interview is the primary mid-sized studio movie to be obtainable on VOD earlier than it even reaches theaters (and even then, it is solely displaying at a number of indie screens). At $15 to purchase and $6 to lease, it is also extra reasonably priced than any earlier early VOD launch. There’s additionally phrase that Netflix is engaged on a deal to stream the movie, which might doubtless contain a hefty upfront charge to Sony Footage. You possibly can guess the bean counters are paying shut consideration to how this all performs out.
It is a disgrace that The Interview did not find yourself dwelling as much as the hype round its launch. However actually, few movies might have. What’s extra disappointing is that, whereas the movie does an honest job of satirizing vapid elements of American media and North Korea’s horrific human rights violations, it simply does not go far sufficient. As an alternative, we get plenty of low-forehead humor, offensive Asian accents (actually?), and a smattering of barely homophobic sketches. It is a film that tends to go for the apparent joke, slightly than one thing really biting. It additionally makes the dangerous transfer of humanizing Kim Jong-un (performed splendidly by Randall Park), which results in some bro-ventures with Franco’s TV host character, however would doubtless drive nicely-knowledgeable viewers loopy.
And but, whereas it is from a fantastic movie, The Interview has inadvertently develop into a cinematic milestone. Its content material led to terrorist threats and an unprecedented studio cancellation. However with its distinctive launch technique, it might additionally pave the best way for Hollywood to utterly rethink how we see movies sooner or later.