In a shining example of how high culture* will always defeat the jackboot tactics of oppressive states like North Korea, the Seth Rogen/James Franco film The Interview is now available for viewing via multiple online streaming services.
Google and Microsoft both announced that the flick – which surely cannot be any more farcical than the controversy that surrounded it following the Sony Pictures network hack earlier this month – would begin streaming on their respective services beginning at 10am Pacific time on Wednesday.
In Microsoft's case, that means it's now accessible to Xbox Video customers who have an Xbox console, a Windows Phone, or a Windows 8.x tablet or PC. In Google's case, the Kim Jong-un–mocking comedy can be had on YouTube or via the Google Play store.
Sony has also launched a dedicated website where cinephiles can watch the North Korean psycho-baddie leader meet his fiery end [spoilers! – Ed.] at seetheinterview.com. [er, whither Sony PlayStation owners? – Ed.]
The studio could stand to make a pretty penny off this stunt. A onetime streaming "rental" from any of the services goes for $5.99, while purchasing a high-definition downloadable version will cost you $14.99.
Of course, if you're a truly dedicated fan of such earlier Rogen/Franco knee-slappers as Pineapple Express and This Is the End – or you just like giving the virtual boot to impoverished Asian regimes – you'll venture out this Christmas to catch The Interview in the cinema.
Sony's announcement that the film would be available via streaming came not long after its about-face on its earlier decision to bar it from public screenings, following alleged terrorist threats against theaters.
Then again, if you'd just like the 30-second version, Business Insider has recapped the entire film, complete with screenshots.
There's been no word on whether the 2004 Trey Parker/Matt Stone comedy Team America: World Police – in which former North Korean dictator Kim Jong-il is brutally skewered, albeit in puppet form – have been similarly given the green light, after that film was reportedly also pulled from screenings. ®
* Yes, we're being sarcastic. All the way through.