The 2014 film 'The Interview' has been pulled from release following threats of terrorist attack on any cinema showing the film. Why? Well with the film's plotting being based around the plot to assassinate North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un, it was obvious from the get go that this was a politically sensitive film. Being played for laughs! While it has not been proven that the North Korean Government are behind the threats, a group of hackers known as the 'Guardians of Peace' are ironically, given their name, have issued the threats, and they are thought to be affiliated with North Korea.
Never mind the fact that early reviews for the film have been decidedly mixed, with Variety describing the film as 'cinematic waterboarding'. Criticism of the film has even come from the studio behind the film. In a leaked email sent from Sony Pictures UK Managing Director, he said the film was "desperately unfunny and repetitive".
One may be led to believe that Hollywood may have manufactured the terrorist threats to give much needed publicity for what could be a terrible film. Unlikely I know and quite a drastic course of action to take. My point in this article however is that maybe Hollywood should learn from the negative response from the film, and that to make a film making fun of a world leader, no matter how 'evil' he is considered to be, is wrong. There are a lot of wrongs taking place in our world from corrupted governments, which could also include the British and American, and to take potshots at other volatile countries is only asking for trouble.
Hollywood have often made films that are insensitive to foreign cultures. Early westerns had cowboys as the heroes and the Indians as the bad guys. In 'Gone With the Wind' black slaves were unable to function without their white masters. Mike Myers 'The Love Guru' made fun of Indian spirituality and stereotyped insultingly the Hindu religion. Michael Bay's terrible film 'Pearl Harbor' portrayed the American's as heroic battling against the evil Japanese. Most recently 'A Million Ways to Die in the West' starring and written by Seth McFarlane played on racial stereotypes for laughs in a film that was barely funny anyway. For a 2014 film this was unacceptable. And how many Hollywood action films have we seen where the Russians are the baddies and defeated by our American action hero? None of these films are good for relations between other countries.
My hope is that Hollywood learn from 'The Interview'. I know that I will be in a minority, and high profile Hollywood actors have protested against Sony removing 'The Interview' from release after threatened retaliation, but seriously, is it correct to fictionalize, especially in a comedy or gung ho action movie, other foreign leaders, and even the people of their countries. By all means make a documentary on the appalling events in North Korea, backed up by interview and fact, but do not make a parody or send Bruce Willis in to kick seven shades of crap out of them. It's offensive, insensitive, and is asking for trouble from the leaders of those countries, who, if it is right what we have been told, may have access to weapons that may cause another war.
Or maybe it's just me being too sensitive to others. Discuss.