Main Features No 60
Not Thunderbirds, but Team America (F*** yeah!)
Clichés and tropes aplenty as a Broadway actor is recruited by an anti terrorist team to save the world. As you do.
Team America: World Police – Trailer, Paramount Movies, http://www.youtube.com and pictures © Paramount Pictures
South Park (1994) an adult animated comedy with its tongue in cheek parodies and all to often politically incorrect, satirical, oft offensive humour has always been essential viewing in our household, be it 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 the comedy to be reviewed. 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 channel and discover this gem believing its 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 no longer. 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 guys 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 an 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 most 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 more 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 hitting 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’s 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 often seen, and therefore more realistic compared to Thunderbirds who’s 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, and quite realistic looking so I often had to remind myself that they were marionettes, and 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 marionettes emotions be it through a gesture or a meaningful look which added to its authencity. Or maybe it’s just me.
Weeper Rating: 😦 😦 😦/10
Handsqueeze Rating:🙂 🙂 🙂 🙂/10
Hulk Rating: /10
Bonus Trailer: Yes. Theatrical Trailers
Team America: World Police Theatrical Trailer #1 and #2, Hennovid, http://www.youtube.com