Team America: World Police


Directed by: Trey Parker
Written by:Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Pam Brady
Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kristen Miller, Masasa, Daran Norris, Phil Hendrie
Released: December 2, 2004
Grade: A-

You’d be hard pressed to find a 2004 release with more sex or coarse language than in Team America: World Police.  Surprising considering the film doesn’t feature any actors – just marionettes hanging from obviously visible strings.  Then again, what else would you expect from the creators of South Park?

Team America are a group of elite fighters who are saving the world from terrorism.  Their last mission saw them eliminate four Iraqis who had intended to detonate a weapon of mass destruction in central Paris.  Team America did inadvertently destroy the Eiffel Tower, the Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre but the world is safe once again!

Unfortunately, their heroism isn’t been appreciated by all.  Hollywood actors and others (Michael Moore included) are speaking out against Team America as they believe the world’s disputes can be resolved without violence.  Alec Baldwin is head of the Film Actors Guild (F.A.G.) and has been invited by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il to speak at a major peace summit.  As they’ll soon learn though, you just can’t trust those North Koreans…

I am a big fan of American critic Roger Ebert who trashed this film in his review earlier this year.  In his own words – “I wasn’t offended by the movie’s content so much as by its nihilism.  It is neither for nor against the war on terrorism, just dedicated to ridiculing those who wage it and those who oppose it.”

Strange as it may seem, Ebert’s major criticism was one of the film’s most appealing aspects, at least in my eye.  I love how the film doesn’t seem to take a side and instead pays everyone out.  America receives a pasting for its thinking that it’s the “leader” of the world.  Then again, Hollywood celebrities also get grilled for thinking their celebrity status gives them the right to impose their political views on others.  Corporation bashers (such as myself) also come under fire and I can’t say that North Korean president or Hans Blitz of the United Nations will be too pleased either.

I see this film as a straight-out comedy.  It's funny because it’s shocking.  Sure writers Trey Parker and Matt Stone have something to say but they’re not trying to sugar coat it or hide their messages behind a guise.  They want people to laugh and their objective is achieved.  They mix their puppet action with the most creative songs I have heard for some time.  The song “America – F***, yeah!” is a reverberating highlight but the montage tribute to montages and the number comparing Ben Affleck’s acting ability to that of the horrors of Pearl Harbour also are to be remembered.

Director Trey Parker voices no less than 10 characters which is a fair effort since I never realised this until well after the movie.  I guess they had trouble finding Hollywood celebrities to help out (which comes as no surprising considering).  Their “Thunderbirds”-like puppets are comical in their own right and a monumental effort has been put into recreating some famous landmarks (in plastic form).

Sure to immensely entertain or horribly offend, Team America: World Police is unique animation targeted at a disenchanted world.  It’s gold!

P.S.  “Matt Damon”