Friday, December 19, 2014

Who wins "The Interview"?

The consensus seems to be that by getting Sony to pull "The Interview" "the terrorists have won."

First, I am happy to see that, for the first time in a while, an incident that no one is blaming on Muslims is being referred to as "terrorism."

Second, you know who I think will win in the long term? Sony.

From what I can tell "The Interview" was not going to be a very good movie. I saw the Kim Jung-Un assassination scene, and it is terrible. Emails from Sony executives (which were leaked because of the hacking) showed that they had deep concerns about the movie because it was so bad. If "The Interview" had come out normally without all the kerfuffle, the movie probably would have been a loser for the studio and faded away fairly quickly. If it was remembered at all, it would have been seen as a pathetic attempt to generate controversy by depicting the death of an actual sitting leader to salvage an otherwise doomed film.

But now that is not what will happen. Sure, its premier has been canceled. But the film is now a symbol of free expression and resistance to terroristic threats. I am positive that the movie will eventually be shown. In fact, I expect, as do many others, that it will get a theatrical release. When that happens a whole lot more people are going to see the film when it is a way to make a statement about their commitment to free expression (not to mention a way for them to thumb their nose at a dictator that everyone loves to hate) than they would without the controversy. 

Apparently there are still some doubts whether North Korea was behind the Sony hack and made the threats that led to the cancellation of the theatrical release. But the U.S. government seems to think they are the culprit as does the public at large. If they are right and North Korea is responsible, this whole incident is not a victory for them. On the contrary, it makes North Korea look really bad to the rest of the world. It has generated a ton of publicity for "The Interview" and has guaranteed that it will not slip into obscurity as most films as bad as it sounds like it is usually do. The whole world can now watch the North Korean head of state get incinerated. Millions more will now watch than would have if the North Koreans had let it go.

In short, the film has become what its authors probably always wanted it to be--a movie with actual political importance--while it will also become what the North Koreans never wanted it to be: an opportunity for people throughout the world to cheer the death of their dear leader. Who is the real winner here?