Don’t give Kim Jong-il too much credit

Kim Jong-un is not happy (and probably a little lonely).

After Seth Rogen and James Franco released their first trailer for The Interview, in which they play journalists charged with assassinating the North Korean dictator, Kim’s lackeys promised “merciless” retaliation:

A Foreign Ministry official quoted by KCNA berated the movie as “reckless U.S. provocative insanity” that had spawned “a gust of hatred and rage” among the people of North Korea.

“The act of making and screening such a movie that portrays an attack on our top leadership … is a most wanton act of terror and act of war, and is absolutely intolerable,” the official said.

“If the U.S. administration allows and defends the showing of the film, a merciless counter-measure will be taken,” the spokesman said.

Reporters covering the story can’t help but draw a direct link between The Interview and the 2004 release of Team America: World Police, a movie “starring” former Dear Leader Kim Jong-il. These articles often note that Kim Jong-un’s father did not feel compelled to respond to his own portrayal quite so vociferously:

Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, was memorably spoofed in Matt Stone and Trey Parker’s Team America: World Police as a mincing, demented puppet. The elder Kim, a big film buff, never responded to the portrayal. – Slate

[For the record, everyone in the movie was portrayed as a puppet.]

Kim Jong-un’s father, Kim Jong-il, was similarly made fun of in Team America: World Police and while the state has made no statement on that film that I know of . . . – Rope of Silicon

The strongest reaction to the earlier movie I can find anywhere on the internet is an alleged attempt by North Korea to convince the Czech Republic, of all places, to ban the movie:

According to a Czech newspaper, a North Korean diplomat complained that the movie “harms the image of our country.” – NY Post

Certainly sounds furious.

But I think downplaying Daddy Dearest’s reaction to his own brush with fame does him far too much credit. After all, Trey Parker and Matt Stone didn’t actually conspire to kill the dictator in Team America — they simply posited that he was actually an alien cockroach:

Big difference.

Plus, he got to do fun and memorable scenes like this one:

By contrast, according to The Interview, Kim Jong-un just talks to dolphins. Hans Brix only wishes…


For the record, like that time Franco sexted a teenager while he just so happened to be promoting a movie of similar plotline, I wouldn’t be shocked if the putative North Korean response turns out to have been Manufactured in Hollywood.

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