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Strong Action, Humor, Sex, and Political Points with Puppets

Published October 15, 2004 in MOVIE REVIEW
By Ryan Parsons | Image from Team America
Team America

They even use crane shots for this puppet movie.
Let me say one thing, Team America: World Police can be considered the king of over-the-top dialogue and on-screen antics. For those of you who take politics, or life, too seriously... this movie may not be for you. If you think that some large puppets may offend you, I can almost guarantee they will. But, if you can take a joke, no matter how over the top or extreme, you should walk away from this film laughing your ass off.

Realism to Puppets

First off, from the start of Team America: World Police you can see the time, genius, cinematography, and effort that went into the creation of this film. Everything from up-close face shots, fast action, explosions, destruction, puppet sex, and even dialogue are state of the art. There are moments where puppets fail at doing their jobs, which can be expected. The beauty part is that Trey Parker and Matt Stone know this and take the time to point out that puppets may have not been the best choice for this movie; all with a hilarious effect. One such example is when Lisa or Sarah [can't remember which one] is having an intimate moment with Gary Johnston and tells him to find his heart. After doing so the puppet, or should I say puppeteer, is unable to get her hand over on Gary's heart causing the puppet [Sarah or Lisa] to look at her own hand wondering what the hell is wrong. A great piece of comedy just from the issues with using puppets.

The sets are also amazing. There are so many little details brought to each set that include miniature street lamps, landmarks, weapons, clothing, buildings, bars, and all that falls within. Again, another aspect to the film that gives an idea of how much work that must have gone into Team America. There is also a scene where they look into the future of Kim Jong Li's plan and the use of WMDs. During this part of the film the Southpark duo [Trey Parker & Matt Stone] are given room to blow up major cities including Hollywood, where they claim the anti-war actors and actresses are coming from. The explosions are so cool with the included shock effects that they would suit a real movie without people thinking otherwise.

The sound editing was also on top of its game. When a small little puppet hits his/her hand, head, or whatever against anything, the resulting sound is very real and loud. None of the sound editing was watered down to fit the silly genre of the movie. Instead, Team America: World Police was amped up like a real action, or should I say Bruckheimer, film. Some of the explosions experienced in the film will shake your seats in the theatre.

Going Over the Top

First, if you did not know, there are a lot of big actors and actresses portrayed as puppets in Team America. And let me tell you, these puppets are not viewed in a favorable light. For one, they are not part of the Screen Actors Guild but the Film Actors Guild [FAG]. Most, or all face some pretty graphic and miserable deaths including having heads blown off and bodies hitting pavement so hard, that they explode with blood splashing everywhere. By the end of the film, it seems that the actors and actresses portrayed actually join Kim Jong Li to protect 'peace.' This results in violence between America, trying to save the day, and the FAG's trying to stop them. Pretty extreme but, if you can understand this offense as Parker & Stone's simple humor, you may just wind up laughing your ass off at the death of some of your favorite entertainment personalities. Michael Moore is obviously included in this list of people to rip on as well.

The Story

Besides all the little points and gestures that Parker and Stone put into light in order to get a laugh out of viewers, Team America actually has a story. Within this story there are lovers, love triangles, friends, leadership, and betrayal. All with a continuously running score that is pretty similar to Hans Zimmer; who is known for doing a lot of Bruckheimer film scores. I went in to see a cartoon style movie and, instead was offered a very real action movie that used puppets instead of actors to get its point across.

Final Judgment: Team America: World Police is the ultimate satire movie that spares nobody in its quest to get a point across while making us laugh like crazy. Even though there are those out there that will find offense to the film, most should be able to understand that 'over-the-top' is part of the Stone/Parker humor. A humor that should have you laughing along the way. A-

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Ryan Parsons
Sources: Image from Team America

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