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Reviews » Blu-ray Reviews » The Interview (Blu-ray)
The Interview (Blu-ray)
Sony Pictures // R // February 17, 2015 // Region A
List Price: $19.99 [Buy now and save at Amazon]
Review by Ian Jane | posted March 3, 2015 | E-mail the Author
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The Movie:

Even if you're not familiar with The Interview, you're familiar with The Interview as it's the movie that infamously led to the Sony Pictures hack supposedly perpetrated as an act of retaliation by the North Koreans. It was all over the news, even your mom heard about it. Because of this the planned theatrical release was all buggered up and after hitting a streaming service or two, the movie now gets a second life through the magic of home video. So with that controversy no pushed to the side, what's the movie all about?

The story follows two men, host Dave Skylark (James Franco) and his producer Aaron Rapoport (Seth Rogen), who run a TMZ style celebrity gossip television show called Skylark Tonight. Aaron aspires for… more. He knows that their show it little more than fluff but he wants to do something a bit more ambitious. When he learns that North Korean dictator Kim Jong-un (Randall Park) is a big fan of the show, Dave comes up with the idea that they should try and book an interview with him in his homeland. Aaron figures this'll never happen but goes along with it, because why not? But after a few phone calls are made, it's settled: the guys are going to go to North Korea to interview the man himself on his turf in Pyongyang.

Enter CIA Agent Lacey (fellow Freaks And Geeks alum Lizzy Caplan). She gets wind of what's going on and uses her feminine charm to con Dave into agreeing to an assassination plot. Aaron finds out what's going and makes it pretty clear he thinks this is a bad idea, but goes along with his pal really out of obligation for their longstanding friendship. Of course, once they get there Dave and Kim Jong-un become fast friends while Aaron falls in love with a beautiful Korean woman named Sook (Diana Bang), who just so happens to be quite close to the little dictator himself.

Just as goofy as it sounds, The Interview is pretty funny stuff even if it doesn't ever approach ‘comedy classic' territory. Rogen and Franco have, as most already know by this point, a great chemistry together and that same chemistry is what made previous collaborations work (Pineapple Express being a great example) and this most recent effort work as well. These guys have had a blast working together going all the way back to their Freaks And Geeks days and that comes through in most of their collaborations, this film being no exception. Having said that, outside of the concept though, The Interview doesn't see them really spreading their wings in any sort of attempt to try a different brand of humor, so expect lots of crass, sophomoric humor (but hey, funny is funny, let's not get highbrow about this).

What really stands out about this picture, however, is just how blunt it is in how it goes after real life Korean ‘great leader' Kim Jong-un. Where Team America: World Police skewed his father, his father was still portrayed by a puppet. Not so in this film, Randall Park does a fantastic job of bringing him to life and in completely and mercilessly skewering him. Interestingly enough, when Skylark first starts bonding with him, we like the guy. But we know that's not going to last, the illusion that Kim Jong--un and his cronies put on for their guests is soon exposed for the ruse that it is. Park is fantastic in the role and as the movie builds towards an unexpectedly crazy and surprisingly violent finale, he really shines in the part. As to the rest of the cast? Franco and Rogen play Franco and Rogen, but they do it well and their fans would and should expect no less of them. Franco's character is presumed by most to be pretty brainless, and for most of the movie we're led to believe this is true, but he has an interesting shift in the last half of the movie. Rogen's the smarter of the two, both actors play their parts well. Lizzy Caplan is quite good as the ‘honeypot' used to draw Skylark into this scheme but Diana Bang is the scene stealer here, delivering some genuinely hilarious moments as Sook once she and Rapoport reveal their feelings for one another.

The movie is well-paced, the jokes come at you pretty much constantly and the production values are pretty decent as well. Supporting performances are fun across the board and while the movie will no doubt be better remembered for the controversy it caused more than anything else, fans of Franco and Rogen's style of comedy will definitely find a lot to enjoy here.

The Blu-ray:

Video:

The Interview looks just as good as you'd expect a brand new Hollywood feature to look on this AVC encoded 1080p high definition transfer framed at 2.40.1 widescreen. Not surprisingly, there are no issues with print damage whatsoever. Detail is typically quite strong, close up shots really show off in that regard, while color reproduction is pretty much spot on. Skin tones look great, color reproduction is very nice and black levels are strong throughout. There are no problems with edge enhancement or compression artifacts and all in all, the movie looks great on Blu-ray.

Sound:

The English language DTS-HD 5.1 Master Audio track on the disc is also very good. Dialogue stays clean and perfectly audible throughout and there are no issues at all with even a trace of hiss or distortion. There's some nice surround activity throughout and plenty of activity in the rear channels during some of the movie's more hectic scenes. Lots of good depth and range to this mix, it sounds very good. A French DTS-HD 5.1 track is also included as is a Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound mix. Optional subtitles are available in English, English SDH, French and Spanish.

Extras:

The extras on the disc begin with an audio commentary from Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg that gives a pretty concise discussion of what went into getting this movie made. Maybe not so surprisingly the entire controversy surrounding the movie and its release/lack of release is avoided here but there's enough interesting talk to make this worth checking out. They talk about the scripting of the movie, casting the lead and supporting roles, some of the cameos on the film, the locations used, and the movie's insane finale and throughout it all show the sense of humor you'd expect them to. This is a good mix of funny back and forth and insightful, factual discussion.

The disc also includes a few minutes of Deleted, Extended And Alternate Scenes. There are fourteen scenes here in total running approximately twenty-five minutes in length and some of these bits are pretty funny. Also amusing is the seven minute long Gag Reel and the nine minutes of Line-O-Ramas bits in which we get to see the performers do a few different readings of some of their dialogue from the movie. There are three scenes here and they offer an alternate reading of the material.

The disc also includes a few featurettes starting with the seven minute long Directors Of This Movie segment where a bunch of the cast and crew members affiliated with the production wax poetic about their love of working with Rogen and Goldberg. The directors themselves also appear here and discuss their feelings on their cohorts and on the movie itself. It's a bit of a love-fest but it's amusing and occasionally interesting. The seven and a half minute Spies Among Us examines Rogen and Franco and the characters that they play in the film while the five minute Randall Park Audition Tape is exactly what it sounds like: footage of the actor trying to show that he has what it takes to bring Kim Jong-un to life in the movie. The five minute Getting Into Character compliments the audition footage as it shows Park basically refining his performance here and quite literally just getting into character as the title implies. The two minute Puppy Power shows us just how that puppy was used in the movie while the one minute Dating A Dictator is a very funny online dating video made by Park as King Jong-un ion hopes of finding internet love. Here Kitty Kitty spends just over five minutes showing how the live tiger was used in the movie and what goes into making that happen without getting eaten, while the two minute long Joking Around shows how a certain amount of improvisation occurred on set and wound up being used in the movie. The last featurette is the longest, it's a fourteen minute piece called Naked And Afraid and it shows what goes into getting your leading men to run around naked in an unusually natural environment and in front of a crew of Discovery Channel technicians and what not. Lots of poop jokes and naked man on man cuddling in here.

Rounding out the extras on the disc are trailers for a bunch of other Sony properties, animated menus and chapter selection. The disc also comes with a download code for an Ultra-Violet digital copy of the feature.

Final Thoughts:

Put all the controversy aside and enjoy The Interview for the crass but admittedly pretty funny comedy that it is. If you're not a fan of Rogen and Franco's style, this won't change your mind but if you do appreciate what they do and how you do it, you'll definitely get a kick out of this one. Sony's Blu-ray offers up a great picture and very strong audio as well. Some nice extras round out the package in a big way. Recommended.

Ian lives in NYC with his wife where he writes for DVD Talk, runs Rock! Shock! Pop!. He likes NYC a lot, even if it is expensive and loud.

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