Monday, December 22, 2014

Reel Facts & Opinions: Let THE INTERVIEW Be Seen

It is a dark time for the film industry. 

A travesty occurred in our beloved industry of movies last week, when Sony Pictures announced that it was delaying and/or cancelling the release of their new comedy, THE INTERVIEW. The announcement came after a series of cyber-attacks in which Sony’s internal communications were hacked and released to the world, topped off with a threat of dire consequences if the movie was released on its planned December 25th date. 

In THE INTERVIEW, two TV stars (James Franco and Seth Rogen), score an interview with the leader of North Korea, and are recruited by the CIA to assassinate him. The touchy subject matter seems to be the focus of the cyber-attack and threats against Sony Pictures, who made the announcement after many theatre-owners across the country decided not to run the film. 

Poking fun at modern-day political leaders, dictators, and enemies is nothing new. As far back as the 1940’s, film-legends Charlie Chaplin and The Three Stooges openly poked fun at Adolf Hitler while WWII was still going on, and Marvel Comics had their hero Captain America slugging the Nazi leader on the cover of their comics. Later, the HOT SHOTS! films poked fun at Saddam Hussein in the early 1990’s, and oh-by-the-way North Korea and its leader were made fun of in TEAM AMERICA in 2004. 

Why did Sony Pictures and theatre-owners panic? No one in Hollywood was afraid of Hitler in the 1940’s, as the industry was just too far out of the reach of any evil dictators. Today, the realm of cyber-attacks makes the world a very small place; where someone can obliterate a person or business or one-half of a country from 10,000 miles away with the click of a mouse. Sony Pictures may have acted on the side of caution, but this sets a very bad precedent. Now that this door is open, what is to stop anyone from issuing a threat against any movie? Blind threats should never dictate content. 

When THE INTERVIEW cancellation was made, the situation was easy to make fun of. After all, the film is a screwball comedy which looked pretty dumb and was certainly not going to compete for any Oscars. Social media was immediately filled with blockheaded comments poking fun at the situation, but little did they stop and think about how they would react if this had happened to a movie that they did want to see. Again, now that the door is open…all movies are at risk. 

Movies are based on stories, and not all of those stories are meant to be taken so seriously. If the mission of every movie is to inspire some sort of thought or conversation, then THE INTERVIEW has already done its job. Let the world decide if the film is worth all of the fuss; not the ones doing the blind threats. 

What say you? 

1 comment:

  1. To my knowledge this is the first time "we" have allowed terrorism to "win." It's not to late to reverse that decision. I hope that's what happens!


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