Okay, we have to talk about the video just released by the North Korean government. Not because it seems to threaten the U.S. with a missile strike, because it's the weirdest thing ever released by a sovereign nation that I am aware of. If you know of a weirder one, you are required to put the link in the comments. Here's the video, which was released by, the North Korean government's official YouTube channel:
UPDATE: THE VIDEO HAS BEEN TAKEN DOWN, probably because of this blog post. You can now watch a different YouTube video from
Very well, to quote Dr. Evil, where do I begin? How about with this: for the first 22 seconds this looks like no more and no less than a commercial for Canon cameras. The camera is more prominent in the opening shot than the sleeping man, and the sparkle that animates over the camera seems to confirm this. Then the image changes.
Okay, I had to watch this twice to get just how weird this next part is. The next part is two overlaid images: the sleeping man and a rocket taking off. There are also animated spirals, which seem loosely connected to the rocket, but mostly seem like whoever put this together recently got their video editing program, and is still playing around with the various features, like adding spinning swirlies to your movie.
Now, as we transition to just following the rocket as it blasts into the atmosphere and across the sky, the tune of "We are the world, we are the children," is clearly recognizable. It almost feels like a softer version of Slim Pickins riding the nuclear warhead at the end of Dr. Strangelove. Dr. Strangelove, however, was a masterpiece of scathingly witty social commentary. I don't know if I can some up the North Korean video so succinctly, but it wouldn't be with those words if I could.
At the :44 mark, the video shifts to the rocket's perspective as it circles the globe. The sleeping Korean man is again overlaid. What are we to make of this? That he can sleep soundly knowing his nation is blowing up the bad guys? That he himself is about to die? Or is it, like the "We Are The World" background music, something ultimately indecipherable?
Amidst all the opaque uncertainty, let's not lose the irony between what North Korea seems to be threatening (a missile attack) and the quality of their animation (poor). The entire video lacks visual crispness, and not in an artsy way, and then at 1:12, we get some rocketship animation that looks like it could have been plucked from an eighties cartoon. Seriously, I think I could make a few calls and have a better animated rocketship by the end of the day.
Then North Korea continues to show off its animation as we see a circle surrounded by stock effects and smiling, cheering North Koreans within the circle. "We Are The World" is now swelling into its second chorus. Pause the video here, and I would guess that it's about North Korea's new space program.
And THEN, the climax (I think): still peering through the animated circle, we follow the missile across the globe onto a giant American flag, and then we see a city in flames. The Guardian translates the text here as: "Somewhere in the United States, black clouds of smoke are billowing. It seems that the nest of wickedness is ablaze." Yes, nothing more poetic and sweet than the unprovoked murder of thousands of people.
Then we're back to the rocket ship, now flying through a cloud of space sparkles, because, hey, why not, this video editing software has a sparkle button!
We close with rocket ship (animated), rocket ship (stock footage), rocket ship (animated) and then a return to the sleeping man and his prominently displayed Canon camera.
I'll give you this North Korea, you have my attention. I'm not scared--I'm pretty sure our missile defense systems can handle whatever they have, especially given the quality of their animation, and if North Korea actually attacked the U.S., North Korea would cease to be in about two weeks. No, North Korea, you have my attention because that was hilarious and I want to see what else you have.