Sunday, June 3, 2012

Team America: World Police-review

“Team America: World Police” uses the political satire and the crude humor of a “South Park” episode performed with marionettes.  If you are a fan of “South Park” in any way you will more than likely appreciate the fun and skill that went into this movie. This movie can also be considered a self-aware Michael Bay movie, with puppets.

To begin, terrorists, under the leadership of Kim Jong-Il, attack various world locations.  Luckily, Team America: World Police is there to save the day.  The problem is that they piss of the rest of the world by the way they deal with the terrorists.  The list of people they’ve pissed off includes the Hollywood elite.  Can Team America band together and get over their differences to defend America?

There is a lot of skill put into “Team America: World Police.” Every location they go to is supposed to be a caricature of what folks think of other countries’ stereotypes.  For example, the French puppets have mimes and French poodle topiaries, while the Columbian puppets walk around bushes that are all pot plants.    The attention to detail makes it really a fun movie. 

In addition to detail, there are musical sections that are really well done.  They are catchy and fun.  The characters themselves are like every other Michael Bay character you’ve seen in a movie.  The film even tosses in a pointless sex scene that is made all the more hilarious that it’s done with marionettes.

The movie has become a huge part of pop culture.   Let’s face it.  If you’ve seen this movie and then seen Matt Damon you are going to offensively say his name much like he does.  I know when Kim Jong-Il died this year; there were tweets about how “Ronely” he was.  I am not sure if this movie is the greatest representation of what we, as Americans are currently.  It certainly was an interesting take on where we were during the Bush administration.  I think we are making progress in the world now. In this way, the movie is about as topical as the television show “Lil Bush.”

I get the feeling that this was a message that the makers really wanted to get out.  However, the line about how Americans can being dicks never really sat right with me.  In some ways it is apt, but the thing about it is that all sides, be they assholes or pussies, think they are doing what’s right even if both are on occasion, full of shit. 

The movie does a pretty amazing job of offending both the right and the left much like “South Park” has been doing for years.  It’s a witty movie.  Does it still stand up over time?  I tend to think some elements do.  The Kim Jong-Il humor is a bit dated by today’s standards, however a mocking song about Michael Bay is fun stuff as long as he is still making movies that suck.

What doesn’t work in this movie is that it can often rely too much on really crude humor for a joke.  For me, that works.  For others, that might not work and they may tune out by the time the smart satire gets going.  On the other hand, I can certainly see how it will help reach a larger audience.

When it comes down to brass tax, the movie shows a lot of amazing skills in terms of the design and the writing.  It’s a fun work of satire that shows as much of the skill that we’ve come to expect from the “South Park” gang.  They promised they would never make another movie with marionettes again.  That is sort of a shame since this really was an impressive movie that worked in a lot of ways.

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