The controversial Hollywood movie The Interview about the assassination of North Korean leader Kim Jong-un has triggered online frenzy in China with the state media calling the movie 'a hit' in the Communist country.
James Franco and Seth Rogen
What has also helped the movie’s popularity in China is a song by Taiwanese star Jay Chou, who is also popular actor in the Mainland.
A comedy, the movie stars James Franco and Seth Rogen as television presenter and producer hatching a plan to kill Kim Jong-un. It created a diplomatic row between the US and North Korea after Washington blamed Pyongyang for cyber attacks.
“In China, streaming versions of the movie have already been made available illegally by users of online forums…Enthusiastic Chinese online users have also been active in joining the global discussion, with some on Douban, a popular online forum, calling on fellow net users to join in the hype initiated on IMDB and give the movie a five-star rating,” the Global Times newspaper reported.
Opinion on the movie, however, is divided among those who have seen it.
“Some criticised North Korea for lacking a sense of humor, saying the release of the film was ‘act of justice’. Others, however, are not buying into the hype around the film, describing it as a low-quality movie that has managed to attract attention by using Kim as a successful publicity stunt,” the newspaper reported.
Some users added their dose of humour. “It could be both Hollywood and human civilization's last movie. The comedy may trigger the third World War,” one user said.
Academics said the movie reveals the west’s “distorted” views on North Korea but added that it might influence the minds of those who are watching the movie in China.
"Like the rest of the world, most of our knowledge about North Korea comes from Western media. As Western ideologies continue to penetrate Chinese society, Chinese online users may become unknowingly influenced by the movie, hence accepting the Western view of North Korea," Zhang Yiwu, Peking University professor said.