"I want more people to do it": Squid Game director Hwang Dong-Hyuk gives MrBeast his seal of approval, even as debate rages on

Player 079 won the MrBeast Games. (Image via Instagram/@mrbeast)
Player 079 won the MrBeast Games. (Image via Instagram/@mrbeast)
Tuba Waqar

MrBeast’s recreation of the hit show, Squid Game, might be over, but opinions on it are still pouring in, including from the director of the show, Hwang Dong-Hyuk.

Back in October, MrBeast, aka Jimmy Donaldson, had announced his version of the gory survival show for a video, where 546 contestants competed for a grand prize of $456,000 USD. Unsurprisingly, American YouTuber’s version of the game saw no bloodshed.

Since its release on November 24, MrBeast's video has received over 124 million views, about 13 million more than Squid Game earned in the first 30 days.

The reactions to the YouTube video, though, are mixed.

Hwang Dong Hyuk approves of MrBeast's version of Squid Game

After his hit series won at the Gotham Awards, "Squid Game" creator Hwang Dong-Hyuk gave his stamp of approval to YouTube star @MrBeast's "real life" version of the games.

Squid Game’s director, Hwang Dong-Hyuk considers Squid Game a culmination of his life’s work, so much so that he was willing to wait over a decade to get a chance to make it.

Surprising many, he gave MrBeast’s recreation an enthusiastic thumbs up! The Silenced director was asked for his opinion on the recreation at the recent Gotham Awards, where Squid Game became the first Korean production to take home the award for Breakthrough Series.

He replied:

"I watched some of it. I loved it. It helps me to promote the show, too, so please more – I want more people to do it."

Despite the maker’s seal of approval, several others have been severely critical of MrBeast’s Squid Game.

The media house Vice pointed out the irony of capitalizing on a show which is evidently a critique of capitalism.

"As a piece of media, it’s perverse. This doesn’t just badly misunderstand the anti-capitalist message of Squid Game, it’s a literal recreation of the villain’s ultimate desire to watch desperate people compete for money purely for his amusement."

Another hot topic is the debate concerning gatekeeping between internet artists and conventional media. Jon Youshaei, a Forbes and TIME contributor, was criticized for a now-deleted tweet in which he compared the success of MrBeast's reproduction to that of the original show.

(Image via Twitter (now deleted))
(Image via Twitter (now deleted))

However, as some fans have pointed out, comparing MrBeast's Game and Squid Game is a futile effort. One is a fan event akin to a game show that would not exist without the original; the other is a groundbreaking television show with a complex plot that firmly puts non-English media at the forefront.

@EveryVowel @MrBeast @netflix In point of fact, @MrBeast's video took ten years and seven days to make, at a cost of the budget for the Netflix show plus his own, requiring the combined labor of the entire cast and crew of the show plus everybody who worked on his video.
@scully1888 @EveryVowel @MrBeast @netflix Plus: Even if he would’ve had the idea, this video would not even remotely have the same reach without riding on Squid Games Hype and popularity.
@tooSAVERAGE @scully1888 @EveryVowel @MrBeast @netflix If MrBeast's squid game was an original concept, it would just be a generic reality show. The sole reason it exists is as an aesthetic recreation of an existing show.The games in the show have dramatic tension and themes, MrBeast's just has the aesthetic recreation of games.

Content makers, journalists, and Squid Game fans have all expressed their thoughts on the topic, but the debate still rages on.

Edited by Rhythm Bhatia
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