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Bond movie shakes and stirs two Koreas

From Sohn Jie-Ae
CNN Seoul Bureau Chief

Protesters say the movie distorts the facts and incites conflict between the two Koreas
Protesters say the movie distorts the facts and incites conflict between the two Koreas

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CNN's Sohn Jie-Ae reports on the growing anti-U.S. sentiment in South Korea (January 1)
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SEOUL, South Korea (CNN) -- Anyone who thinks North Korea deserves more than warnings about its nuclear weapon's ambitions should see the latest Bond thriller, Die Another Day.

In it, Bond, James Bond, that is, annihilates North Koreans in the Demilitarized Zone dividing the two Koreas, and in the end, gets his just revenge against a North Korean renegade.

But while James Bond dodges bullets, the movie hasn't been able to escape a barrage of criticism from South and North Koreans alike.

A small group of protesters lined the street in front of the theater where the Bond movie opened, displaying banners calling for a boycott of the film.

They were angry at what they called the movie's war-mongering tones.

"We think it is outrageous that such a film that promotes war and belittles Koreans should be shown here," the protest leader said.

Internet sites are overrun with claims that several parts of the film portray South Korean soldiers as inferior to the American military, and the countryside as poor and underdeveloped.

North Korea's official media channels have called the movie "dirty and cursed," and said it slanders North Korea and insults the Korean people.

Nevertheless, most people buying tickets to the controversial flick don't seem that concerned.

"I really didn't think about that factor," said one of the moviegoers who just bought a ticket. "I will judge for myself when I finish seeing the movie."

"I think the film should be judged for its entertainment value, not its political meaning," said another.

Opening day box office figures appear unexceptional, but the movie's distributors hope this will pick up as the initial furor dies down.

While the current North Korea controversy may or may not affect how well the movie does at the South Korean box office, this bond film certainly has Koreans on both sides of the border shaken and stirred.

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