Earlier this month, the first trailer for the Seth Rogen/ James Franco comedy The Interview dropped. It played pretty well here in America, but given its plot follows a group of journalists who decide to assassinate North Korean leader Kim Jong-un, it didn’t exactly send pleasing ripples through the Asian Communist country. In fact, the unofficial spokesman for Jong-un, Kim Myong-chol, released a slew of statements criticizing both the film, the larger film industry and the American government.
North Korean supreme leaders have always had a strange relationship with movies. Back in 1978, the country’s dictator Kim II Sung had famed South Korean director Shin Sang-ok shoved into a car in Hong Kong and smuggled over the border. Why? Because he wanted to give him $3 million a year to make movies in North Korea. Sung’s son Kim Jong Il maintained an extensive library of DVDs, estimated to number more than 20,000. He allegedly loved the Friday The 13th franchise and dabbled in directing movies for fun during his free time. Now, North Korea is run by Kim Jong Il’s son Kim Jong-un, and he really, really likes movies too, which is probably why he’s chosen to lash out about The Interview’s existence.
Unfortunately for Kim Jong-un, quite a bit of the comments involve wild theories and/ or obnoxious statements. So, let’s take an amusing look at the five most ridiculous things the North Korean government has said in response to The Interview…
British Films Are More Realistic Than American FilmsThere are a ton of ridiculous American movies made every single year. Seriously, you can’t scan the box office figures for the average weekend and not find at least one film that completely defies the laws of science and/ or lacks common sense. This coming weekend, for example, we have a film about automobiles that transform into killing machines capable of saving Earth, which is about as far from proper English cinema like The King’s Speech on the spectrum as possible.
That being said, almost all of the shit British studios fire out has almost nothing in common with The King’s Speech either. Later this year, Britain is giving the world Paddington, a delightful story about a talking bear who ruins everything. Last year, the English gave us a movie about time travel and another one about a pub crawl and aliens. So, if you want to argue about quality, that’s one thing but realism just doesn’t work.
James Bond Is A Character Worth CelebratingDon’t get me wrong, I love James Bond. When Skyfall came out, I rewatched every single previous 007 flick and ranked them from best to worst. That character is definitely worth celebrating, but it makes no sense for North Korea to officially cite him as an example of British greatness when as recently as 12 years ago, Kim Jong Il was publicly irate at the franchise after Die Another Day used a North Korean villain.
According to The Telegraph, the film was officially labeled as "dirty and cursed". Of course, I get how opinions can change quite a bit in 12 years, but when you can literally choose any character to celebrate, why the hell would you pick one that allegedly slandered your nation so badly? It makes no sense, and it’s just comical in retrospect.
President John F Kennedy Was Killed By AmericansI have no idea if this was a translating error or if spokesman Kim Myong-chol was really trying to stir up this pot, but he told the telegraph "Americans" killed President John F Kennedy, as in plural. Now, don’t get me wrong. There are a ton of people who think Lee Harvey Oswald acted in consort with the mafia or Cuba or the Soviet Union or Jack Ruby or whoever else. The Warren Comission’s lone gunman findings aren’t exactly embraced by all, but it’s laughable to think about a foreign government just off-handedly weighing in on such a controversial issue.
But this is North Korea we’re talking about, and they drop word bombs on the regular without any real consequences. So, who cares if Kim Jong-un and company don’t have any more evidence than what’s available on Wikipedia. They can just present theories and fact and move along without any of the local journalists asking for clarification or denouncing the lack of tact.
The US Military May Want To Kill Barack ObamaEvery now and again, a country’s leader will be deposed by the military. That happened recently in Egypt and Thailand, but in the entire history of the United States, a president has never been removed from power (with force) by official government action. That hasn’t stopped the North Koreans from apparently thinking there’s a real possibility the current leader will get betrayed by the army, however. They think he shouldn’t get too amused by The Interview "in case the US military wants to kill him, as well".
I’m not sure if Kim Jong-un actively worries about safety. He’s probably got a lot of bodyguards and since his dad lived a really long life, he’s not super worried about it. That being said, I think it’s probably more likely that he falls off a horse and dies than it is an American general overthrows the government and executes President Obama. Just sayin’.
Kim Jong-un Is Still Planning To Watch The InterviewThis is why it’s impossible to completely hate Kim Jong-un, just like it was impossible to completely hate his father Kim Jong Il. Sure, he’s deeply offended that some Americans have created a movie about murdering him, but that anger isn’t going to stop him from watching the latest American movie. Sure, his dad was offended that James Bond invaded North Korea in Die Another Day, but that wans’t going to stop him from loving the shit out of another James Bond adventure.
There’s like a 75% chance Kim Jong-un watches this movie and then has one of his advisors or spokesmen address the media about it afterwards. I hope to God it’s in a live press conference that’s simulcast in America and translated. Comedy gold.