Team America: World Police

Team America: World Police


Reviewed by: Josh Morrall

From the opening shot, Team America: World Police is a vastly successful satire, pulling together the various travesties of modern society's obsession with war and stamping it with the unmistakable and blissfully frivolous brand of South Park humour. What emerges is a film that indicts not only the insanity of the terrorists, but also the madness of peace-keeping activists like Michael Moore and various Hollywood elite.

Team America is a massively stupid organisation that tracks down terrorists and destroys them. If a great wonder of the world - or five - happens to get in the way of a stray missile, so be it, as the protection of freedom is central to the survival of Team America itself, whose personal relationships often stray into the work place, as lovers rage at one another while terrorists attack.

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Here, the satire of the Jerry Bruckheimer blockbuster begins to pervade. The characters of the puppets are all drawn from action movie stereotypes and rarely step outside these parameters. This forces the audience to engage with what are actually two-dimensional characters, reminding us that we often accept far too little in quality from the films Hollywood throws at us.

The songs, mostly sung by Trey Parker, a man whose voice will grate on viewers' ears, are wonderfully well written, matching the tone of the moment, while delivering some of the film's best jokes. The Michael Bay and Ben Affleck onslaught is particularly irresistible.

The puppetry is self-deprecating at times, never taking itself too seriously, the way Thunderbirds always used to. Nevertheless, the set designs are a joy and the puppets do things - vomiting, acrobatic sex, etc - that we would never have been able to see on a cinema screen without the influence of Parker and Matt Stone.

The pointless and gratuitous use of profanity is exactly what I expected from the script and if I hadn't received it I most likely would have been disappointed, so its presence here makes me feel like I am amongst old friends in the familiar and charming atmosphere of South Park.

Team America stomps Fahrenheit 9/11 into the ground, wisely choosing not to focus on the already boring Bushwhacking that taints most lines of political argument these days and focuses on the whole attitude of American foreign policy and its own peoples reactions to it.

The film feels as if two childish boys have come up with the concept and two witty, world-weary men have inserted the themes. A great film in every way, never smug, somehow managing to juggle comedy and political purpose without one becoming more important than the other.

A career peak for Parker and Stone.

Reviewed on: 21 Jan 2005
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Team America: World Police packshot
A disillusioned actor joins a team of five specially selected all-American heroes aiming to thwart evil terrorists in Parker and Stone's attempt to make a Jerry Bruckheimer movie using puppets.
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Read more Team America: World Police reviews:

Symon Parsons **
Stephen Carty *

Director: Trey Parker

Writer: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Pam Brady

Starring: The voices of Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kristen Miller, Masasa, Daran Norris, Phil Hendrie, Fred Tatasciore, Elle Russ, Maurice LaMarche

Year: 2004

Runtime: 98 minutes

BBFC: 15 - Age Restricted

Country: US


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