Think this is a Thunderbirds spin off? Think again as it’s Team America (F*** yeah!)…
A Broadway actor is recruited by an anti-terrorist team to save the world.
Team America: World Police – Trailer, Paramount Movies and pictures © Paramount Pictures
South Park (1994) is an adult animated comedy with its tongue in cheek parodies and all too often politically incorrect. Its satirical, oft offensive humour has always been essential viewing in our household. Stories include Cartman’s plot to kill Justin Bieber or its excellent parody of The Shining (1980). On meeting Darlin Husband, he reintroduced me to this animated adult comedy and showed the Dallas parodies with Patrick Duffy and Victoria Principal.
Shortly after that, he introduced me to the films, South Park Bigger, Longer and Uncut (1999) and this comedy was reviewed HERE. Both were created by the South Park team of Trey Parker, Matt Stone and Scott Rudin and voiced by the former two along with others.
Those not in the know of the adult content of this movie, may change the channel and discover this gem believing it the new Thunderbirds (1965-66) action show for their kids to enjoy, but it’s not. In fact, the only thing it has in common with Thunderbirds is the marionette puppets.
Team America (2004) begins in Paris where
Cap America Spottewood’s anti-terrorist team are saving the world from Arabian evil terrorists. In Paris, the team leave a trail of destruction, as the Eiffel Tower, Arc de Triomphe and Louvre are destroyed. After an explosive gun battle with these terrorists, many stereotypical Parisian residents, Arabs and tourists are killed. These scenes are reminiscent of the Avengers’ last outing in Civil War (2016) but with more guns, blood and carnage.
During this time we meet the team members Lisa (a pretty blonde psychologist), Sarah, a brunette “psychic” (who always states the obvious), Joe (a blond college himbo type, madly in love with Sarah) and Chris, a cynic who reminded me of Bono in U2 (but maybe that’s just me). A further member revealed as her boyfriend Carson is gunned down dead in front of Lisa as he proposes marriage to her….and yes I stifled a wee sob.
Looking for a replacement for Carson, Spotteswood – best described as looking like a marionette version of Larry Hagman – approaches Broadway musical actor, Joe Johnstone. As a talented actor and language expert Johnstone is asked to infiltrate the bad guy’s base little realising the North Korean leader is supplying weapons of mass destruction to other world terrorists. As Johnstone meets the team in their Mount Rushmore base, there is as much interest in him by Lisa as there is suspicion by Chris, who reveals a disliking for actors.
After this mission succeeds and yet another country’s capital lies in ruins, the actors of Hollywood take notice and some criticise the team’s actions. This leads to possibly the oddest “cameos” ever but only in marionette puppet form – the voices are sadly not their own – from a number of high-profile celebrities. For these appearances alone this film is worth watching, but I will say they are led by Alec Baldwin.
Baldwin expressed interest in parodying himself and even turns up briefly in the film so keep your eyes peeled! There are also a few more surprising cameo appearances to look for… of a few famous political characters. Then Joe and Lisa connect (in more ways than one). However, Johnstone leaves the team, after another incident blaming himself for the tragedy.
So from here, I suggest watching this movie in full. The story leads on to declarations of love and revelations, action scenes reminiscent of Thunderbirds but Team America Style, gratuitous love-making scenes more extreme than Deadpool (2016) (but then you can probably do a lot racier scenes using puppets!), too many tropes and clichés to count (much, much more than 2012 (2009)) and some totally tasteless (and not so tasteless) scenes and more tongue in cheek musical numbers.
A few references to other movies are directly referred to or the plot is reminiscent of a trope, plot device or cliché from another influential movie and given the Parker, Stone and Rudin flourish making it their own, sometimes in a more memorable way. Amusingly, I recognised a few more recent Hollywood blockbusters plot devices and tropes within this movie too. Live action although minimal was used to fun effect. The songs more often hit the mark with some songs more tasteless yet amusing.
As well as the actors being sent up in this movie, there were jibes at movie making ploys such as montages, character revelations and acting styles. Wikipedia’s article about this movie, states that the marionette’s acting was inspired by the looks given between characters in the film Pearl Harbour (2001) and particularly Ben Affleck’s acting in this film. His acting in this film also appears to have inspired a song in the film. The marionettes themselves are fantastic and have more costume changes than Joan Collins as Alexis in Dynasty (1981-89).
They are almost life-like despite the fact their strings are often seen, and therefore more realistic compared to Thunderbirds whose acting was more wooden and lifeless in comparison. I’m not sure if seeing the strings was intentional, but it made the film more genuine and likeable than a film homage created in CGI. The special effects particularly those using body fluids are realistic and quite gratuitous on occasion.
It’s quite realistic looking so I often had to remind myself that they were marionettes. I felt that maybe a disclosure saying no puppets were harmed during this movie would have eased my mind. Personally, I found that at times you can almost see the marionette’s emotions be it through a gesture or a meaningful look which added to its authenticity. Or maybe it was just those South Park folk just pulling my heartstrings.
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦/10
Handsqueeze Rating:🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂/10
Hulk Rating: /10
It’s Just a Joke: The Movie Parody Blogathon 2017. No 47
This review was added to the Movie Movie Blog Blog’s It’s Just a Joke: The Movie Parody Blogathon. Other film names featured as puppets star in The Martian, Rock of Ages, As Good as it Gets, Girls Just Want to Have Fun, 2012 and The Witches of Eastwick.