The Interview: Freedom Edition (Blu-ray)

February 17, 2015 7 Min Read

Review by: Matt Malouf

Plot: What’s it about?

I’d be willing to bet that just about anyone who will read this review is familiar with the story behind The Interview. Just in case someone hasn’t, the long story short is that the film never received a wide theatrical release after threats from North Korea. There were threats towards any movie theater that showed the film. I won’t dive into the various speculations about the Sony hack nor do I personally think it was a hoax. I was long looking forward to seeing the film in theaters from the moment I saw the first trailer. I only assume it would’ve done relatively well had it been released as originally planned. It still managed to turn a profit through various digital streaming services and such. With all the controversy and buzz surrounding the film, the big question is did it live up to all the hype? The short answer is yes. While no modern classic, the film is quite funny at times, and appropriately over-the-top. It also shows that James Franco and Seth Rogen are both fine comedic actors, but they also play well off each other. Never once trying to outdo the other one. They’re simply a great duo.

The plot involves a couple of a journalist Dave Skylark (Franco) and his producer Aaron (Seth Rogen) who run a popular celebrity tabloid show. They are celebrating their 1000th show when they learn that North Korea leader Kim Jong-Un is a fan of the show. It’s not long before an interview is arranged. Dave and Aaron are excited for the opportunity, but quickly learn that the CIA have other plans. They learn that this will be an assassination attempt on Kim. They reluctantly agree. There are many amusing early moments where the two go over the plan on how to poison Jong-Un with a strip that will be transferred during a simple handshake. Needless to say, these buffoons screw this up many times. Thankfully they’re only practicing at first. After a few hiccups when they finally arrive in North Korea, Dave forms an unlikely friendship with Kim (Randall Park). That’s one of the funnier things about the film is how Park plays the character. He isn’t the least bit threatening, and actually seems like a rather nice guy. There are plenty of surprises along the way, including a close encounter with a tiger. The climax gets more than a little crazy as well. The film comes highly recommend and features solid performances from everyone involved, especially James Franco who I think steals the show. I never would’ve thought the guy to be so funny. His deliver is flawless. That is to take nothing away from Rogen or anyone else, but Franco was arguably my favorite here.

Video: How’s it look?

Sony continues to do fine work here with a nearly flawless transfer. From the opening moments we can see a fine level of detail and clarity throughout. Flesh tones remained accurate with no oversaturation or other issues. The print was fine and free of flaws, colors were nice and solid. Fans will be more than pleased with this transfer. In fact, it should please everyone except North Korea (had to). The image is AVC encoded with a 2.39:1 ratio.

Audio: How’s it sound?

Also of high quality is the DTS HD track. I mentioned that things get crazy during the climax of the film, and boy does this track show that. Rear cannels kick in on numerous occasions with a strong bass as well. Vocals were always clear with no issues. You might find yourself adjusting the volume throughout the flick since it can get quite aggressive at times. Fans will enjoy.

Supplements: What are the extras?

Surprisingly, there’s no unrated or extended cut here. We do get some deleted scenes and bloopers, but the cut of the film is the same as what was released in theaters (oh, wait, nevermind).

  •  Audio Commentary – Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg provide an informative and amusing track for the film, touching on a number of issues.
  • Deleted Scenes – We get a good bit of stuff, but I was expecting a bit more. These aren’t bad by any means, but don’t expect any true gems, either.
  • Gag Reel
  • Naked and Afraid – This is a joke style segment with Rogen and Franco nude out in the wilderness. Thankfully, it’s censored, but needless to say, seeing it once was (more than) enough.
  • Line-O-Ramas – I’m sure many are familiar with these now. They’re just alternate takes of several lines from the film. They don’t do much for me.
  • Directors of this Movie – Is a pretty standard feature where a lot of praise is given to the cast and crew.
  • Spies Among Us – This just gives us a look at the characters played by Rogen and Franco.
  • Randall Park Audition Tape – Pretty self-explanatory.
  • Getting Into Character – This takes a look at Randall Park and his approach to playing Kim Jung-Un
  • Dating a Dictator – Is just a 1 minute online infomercial
  • Here Kitty Kitty – This gives a look at the scene involving a real life tiger.
  • Puppy Power – This takes a look at the puppy scene in the film.
  • Joking Around – We’re treated to a small feature where some jokes were added into the film.
  • Previews

The Bottom Line

Despite the controversy and arguably foolish decision to not provide a wide theatrical release, The Interview is here for us to own and watch at our leisure. The film is quite funny at times and features some great performances all around. There’s also a surprisingly amount of tension as well, especially during the earlier segments when they arrive in North Korea. Owning this is a no-brainer. The disc is full of features and can be currently found at a very low price. Highly Recommended.

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