RYAN LIPPERT WRITES – After opening in the UK last Friday, being scheduled for an unofficial North Korean release via balloon airdrop, and possibly helping to bring the Hermit Kingdom into popular culture, The Interview has once again shown the world that it is Kim Jong-unstoppable.
When hackers and the North Korean government coerced Sony into cancelling the initial release of The Interview, the movie seemed doomed – but, like a cockroach, it just wouldn’t die. Controversy ensued, and Sony ultimately chose to release the film anyway. As is usually the case, what didn’t kill The Interview only made it stronger. The controversy generated significant publicity for the movie, with some claiming that the movie’s cancellation was simply a clever ruse to do just that.
In The Little Dictator, a mobile phone game that looks similar to the notorious Flappy Bird, Kim Jong-un rides everything from missiles to basketballs to giant rabbits as he sets out to annihilate his enemies. The basketballs are a nod to Kim’s friendship with Dennis Rodman, while the giant rabbit alludes to rumors that the North Korean government tried to acquire some from a German rabbit breeder back in 2007.
The controversy over The Interview may have even contributed to the creation of a crowdfunding campaign to topple the North Korean government. The campaign intended to raise $10 million dollars to facilitate communication between North Koreans and the outside world, ultimately leading to a revolution and the establishment of a democratic government. Within a week of its creation, Indiegogo removed the page from its site. There is even an app in development that allows people to put animations of Kim Jong-un into their own videos, which include making him dance or get punched in the face.
However, not everything that came from this controversy is funny. Amnesty International released a documentary titled The Other Interview. The documentary uses the true story of Park Ji-hyun’s escape from North Korea to raise awareness of the dismal state of human rights in the Hermit Kingdom.
Several North Korean defectors had the opportunity to watch The Interview. Their reactions were generally positive, with many of them mentioning that they were happy to see that, thanks to the movie, more people may be aware of the plight of North Korean citizens.
Whether you thought The Interview was genuinely funny, or just an average comedy flick, you cannot deny its significance to popular culture.