According to the invaluable Know Your Meme database, the very first instance of the "Hitler reacts to..." meme arrived all the way back in 2006. By combining footage from Oliver Hirschbiegel's Downfall (2005) with a brand spankin' new set of subtitles (focused on "lack of new features in the demo trial of Microsoft's Flight Simulator X", of all things), the meme was a hit, and gave birth to a seemingly endless supply of "Hitler reacts to..." hijinks.
Indeed, the sheer number of variations on the meme has all but killed it off completely. What further worlds were there to conquer, once Hitler had reacted to his XBOX gamer tag getting banned, finding out a screening of Don't Mess With The Zohan had sold out, or the 2007 sub-prime mortgage crisis?
Truth be told, we'd sorta forgotten all about this piece of internet mythology...until today.
This, as you can see, is Adolf Hitler reacting to the news that "Polynesian Jew" Taika Waititi has written and directed a satirical comedy wherein he plays said dictator. It's a deceptively clever piece of marketing which draws on several key elements: hammering home the fact that Waititi's Jojo Rabbit will not be treating history's most rightfully hated human being with respect; the fact that Waititi is, in fact, Jewish; and - last, but certainly not least - the internet's ever-reliable talent for nostalgia. It's been just long enough since the Downfall memes hit for this to be kinda funny again, and it helps that the version they put together is so well-written (the line about Waititi's name is particularly strong).
Is a "Hitler reacts to..." meme in the brave year of our Lord 2019 a wise idea? It's certainly more questionable than it was a decade ago, but it doesn't feel like they're crossing a line here. Your mileage may vary, of course, but that's what the comments section below is for: what do you think about Jojo Rabbit? What do you think of the decision to bring back this particular meme as a means for promoting it? Feel like any lines are being crossed here, or think this is right in line with the rest of Waititi's sensibilities? It's a conversation worth having, and we encourage you to do so below.
Jojo Rabbit hits theaters on October 18th.