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Taika Waititi resurrects ‘Hitler reacts’ meme

An old, old meme resurfaces for a brilliant marketing play

German actor Bruno Ganz as Hitler, sitting in a war room and looking distressed Constantin Films

In Jojo Rabbit, director and actor Taika Waititi (Thor: Ragnarok) plays an imaginary version of Hitler.

The movie is a dark satire, taking place during World War II-era Germany and centers around a nationalistic young boy who gets his world view challenged when he discovers his single mother is hiding a Jewish girl in their attic. The trailer dropped on Tuesday.

Today — via a meme format that’s over a decade old — Hitler reacts:

The short clip comes from a 2004 German movie called Der Untergang, which recounts the last catastrophic days of Hitler’s life. In 2006, a parody version was uploaded to YouTube. The video link no longer exists, but KnowYourMeme documents that the added subtitles had the dictator lament about the lack of new features in the then-recently released Microsoft Flight Simulator X.

Parody videos took off and flourished in the late aughts, with the YouTube channel Hitler Rants Parodies turning into centralized hub for all the videos in 2009. The channel is still active today.

While Hitler Rants Parodies continues to upload videos, seeing the meme turned into some very good, official marketing for a satire about Hitler brings it back into the spotlight in rather impressive fashion. Ten years is basically an eternity in meme-age, after all. The two minute clip has Hitler, appropriately, reacting to the news that he will be played by “a Polynesian Jew.” He’s outraged, and then makes a comment on how the Hitler reacts meme is over.

“It’s already a decade old!” Hitler reacts to the Hitler reacts meme, in this Hitler reacts meme. It’s funnier than it may sound when described.

In addition to Taika Waititi as imaginary Hitler, Jojo Rabbit stars Scarlett Johansson, Rebel Wilson, Sam Rockwell, and Alfie Allen. It comes out on Oct. 18.

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