Unless you have been living under a rock and haven’t heard of the events of the past month or so, alleged North Korean hackers hacked Sony’s computer networks – threatening to do more damage beyond releasing leaked emails and copies of unreleased hack, unless Sony blocked the release of comedy The Interview about an assassination plot of North Korea’s leader, Kim Jong-Un, to be released on Christmas day. “North Korean” hackers then hinted that there would be terrorist attacks at movie theaters in the U.S. The major theater chains, concerned about violence and any related liability, decided not to release The Interview. Obama chimed in his thoughts at an end-of-the-year press conference, and a few days later Sony capitulated, saying that Sony would make the film available online (via Google Play & YouTube, and other outlets on Dec. 24th, the day before the theatrical release) as well as independent theaters willing to make the film available.
Instead of 2,000 to 3,000 screens showing The Interview, there an estimated only 300 screens showing the film. But within 24 hours, the estimated number of illegal downloads via the BitTorrent protocol, is at 750,000 downloads.
I guess the best one word to describe the film is: silly. I’ve seen a lot of my friends and acquaintances complain about how bad The Interview was, and my response is, “What were you expecting? Spartacus?” The Interview is not going to win an Oscar, but overall, I thought the film was entertaining and funny at times. What are you expecting from a Seth Rogen and James Franco film? I had planned on seeing The Interview before all the controversy happened. I’ve always been fascinated by North Korea and would like to visit one of these days before the regime ultimately collapses.
The film overall is somewhat predictable and there are some scenes that are ridiculous or gratuitous, but like I had said before – what are you expecting from a lowbrow comedy. Is The Interview as funny as other movies that Rogen has been in, like The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, or Superbad? Maybe, but probably not.
But I especially enjoyed Randall Park’s portrayal as Kim Jong-Un. To be honest, when I first saw the trailers for the movie, I was surprised to find out that it was Park that portrayed Kim. But when I had heard it was Kim, I started to see the resemblance (the photos of the movie and the trailer doesn’t show him to be very Randall Park-like, but in the movie, you can see Park in Kim Jong-Un.)
The first time I recall ever coming across Korean American actor Randall Park was in one of my early Asian American Commercial Watch blog postings, where I saw Park in a Wells Fargo ad (and most recently in a Chase credit card ad.) Since then, I’ve been following Park closely and admire his comedic acting talents as well as his physical comedy. I’m super excited and psyched that this February, Park will be playing the father figure in ABC’s upcoming and much anticipated comedy Fresh Off the Boat.
USA Today has a great interview with Park on how he got his role as Kim (apparently he was the first and only person to tryout for the part) and how he prepared for the role:
“Before taking on the role, Park — whose mother is retired from a job at UCLA and whose father works at a souvenir shop on Hollywood Boulevard — discussed the movie with people he knew in the local Korean community. Los Angeles’ population of ethnic Koreans is the largest in the United States, numbering roughly 60,000 as of 2008. Park — who grew up in West L.A. and whose grasp of the Korean language, he said, is “pretty bad” — wanted to gauge what the reaction within that community might be.
“I talked to friends who are deep in the Korean American community here, friends who are leaders of different subsections of the community,” he said. “I asked them what they thought and felt, and they all seemed to think it was a great movie idea. That helped.””
I can’t imagine that there are many (or any?) Korean American Kim Jong-Un sympathizers?
Personally, I loved how Park portrayed Kim and I thought showed Park’s comedic talents well. I hope The Interview and Fresh Off the Boat really help propels Parks’ career going forward!