North Korea is threatening a "resolute and merciless" response against the United States, labeling it "reckless US provocative insanity" and saying it will consider it an "act of war."
Moreover, a statement attributed by North Korea's official news agency KCNA to an unidentified foreign ministry spokesman calls it "a most wanton act of terror and act of war, and is absolutely intolerable."
But what is "it"?
Has the United States sent its Special Forces or drones into or over the territory of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea? Or, worse, has the United States prohibited Dennis Rodman from celebrating any more of Kim Jong-Un's birthdays in North Korea?
No, "it" is much worse than that.
"It" is The Interview, a comedy directed by Evan Goldberg, in which Seth Rogen and James Franco play celebrity TV journalists who secure an exclusive interview with Kim, but are then recruited by the CIA to assassinate him. The film is slated for release in the US on October 14.
At first, North Korea just "rubbished" and dismissed the comedy.
About a week ago, Kim Myong-chol, executive director of The Centre for North Korea-US Peace and an unofficial spokesman for the regime in Pyongyang, told the Telegraph, "There is a special irony in this storyline as it shows the desperation of the US government and American society...A film about the assassination of a foreign leader mirrors what the US has done in Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria and Ukraine," and he added, "...let us not forget who killed [President John F.] Kennedy -- Americans. ... In fact, President [Barack] Obama should be careful in case the US military wants to kill him as well."
A a week later, however, North Korea seems to be pulling out the big guns, calling the movie "the most blatant act of terrorism and war [that] will absolutely not be tolerated," and threatening that "a merciless countermeasure will be taken" if the "US administration allows and defends the showing of the film." Even vowing "all out war."
It appears that the film's plot has touched a nerve inside the regime, which takes a dim view of satirical treatment of its leaders and is notoriously paranoid about perceived threats to their safety.
The [North Korean] foreign ministry official, in typically bombastic style, berated the film's makers as gangsters and described the film's release as "reckless US provocative insanity."
The film had sparked "a gust of hatred and rage" among the North Korean citizens and soldiers, the official said, although ordinary North Koreans are probably unaware of its existence and, with very few exceptions, will never get to see it.
Kim, played by the Korean American actor Randall Park, is portrayed as an overweight cigar smoker, although the 31-year-old leader is thought to prefer cigarettes. It is not clear if Kim, who was partly educated in the west, where he developed a love of NBA basketball, has seen the trailer.
His father, Kim Jong-il, was a well-known movie buff who ordered the abduction of the South Korean director Shin Sang-ok in 1987. Shin was forced to make propaganda movies for the regime until his escape.
This story most certainly falls in the category of "we're not making this up."
Below is the "official teaser trailer" for The Interview -- nothing to rave about, but also nothing to go to war about.