Reviewed by: Douglas Downs
|Featuring:||Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Elle Russ, Stanley G. Sawicki|
|Director:||Trey Parker, Matt Stone|
|Producer:||Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Scott Rudin|
“Putting the “F” back in Freedom.”
Here’s what the distributor says about their film: “This politically-minded comedy action adventure tells the story of Team America, a group of superhero-style adventurers who travel the world fighting terrorism and other evils. Specifically, the story focuses on a typical “action hero” who is recruited to join Team America for a special mission, as a satire of the typical Hollywood action movie, using a combination of wood marionette-driven action sequences and stirring tongue-in-cheek musical numbers.”
When I heard that Jonathan Frakes was making a film on the Gerry Anderson classic “Thunderbirds,” I was very excited. I was disappointed that he took the live-action route. The film was, however, fairly true to the original Anderson vision. I must confess that I have been a long time fan of the film process known as Super Marionation. Mr. Anderson used marionette puppets in several classic SciFi series. Many of the titles are now available in DVD. I must tell you that there are occasions that these likable characters smoke and drink. There are also some scenes that were considered violent in its day. The “Thunderbirds” may be go, but “Team America” is a definite halt.
My first warning to anyone reading this review is the rating. This film is SO offensive that the MPAA rated it NC-17. That is no problem, because the studios will make lots of money by releasing a R-rated version and an “unrated” DVD version. This is part of the current ratings “bait-and-switch” philosophy endorsed by Hollywood. Talk about pulling some strings. The other problem is that a different criteria (usually more lenient) is involved in the appeal process. This slick diversion will continue to open the door to more offensive content in movies.
Once again, Trey Parker and Matt Stone (“South Park”) have found a way to offend nearly everyone. They do try to be “equal-opportunity” offenders. They pick on both the conservatives and the liberals. I don’t think that there is anyone whom they haven’t tried to offend. This time Parker and Stone move from “paper-animation” to the world of “marionation.” Part of their satire includes not trying to hide the strings.
Corporations and not the government fund Team America. This puts current corporate lobbying in the forefront. Their goal is to span the globe to protect America. We may have lost the World Trade Center, but that is nothing compared to the historic landmarks that are destroyed in this film.
This film’s story about terrorists begins with Team America recruiting a Broadway actor named Gary (voice by Trey Parker). He is currently staring in a production called “Lease.” He is the ONLY one that can infiltrate the terrorist groups and expose the Weapons of Mass Destruction. While Gary contemplates his decision, Parker and Stone play a song that makes fun of the country tune “God Bless the USA.” The deal is sealed when our handsome actor is offered the gift of a beautiful lady, Lisa (Kristen Miller). The scene between these two is nothing short of Puppet Porn.
Gary and Team America try to stop terror, but there is an evil mastermind named Kim Jong II (voice also by Trey Parker). Jong is from North Korea and plans use the Hollywood liberals (known as F.A.G. Film Actors Guild) to help. This film gives crudeness a whole new definition. I am sure that fans of “South Park” will enjoy every minute. I know that it is the MOST tasteless movie I have ever seen. (Is there a law against “puppet abuse”?) It is extremely profane, and it takes all the “pop” out of pop culture entertainment.
The good news is that you can rent some of the classic Gerry Anderson series at sites like www.netflix.com. My favorite is “Supercar.” It was his first series and is safe viewing for the entire family. Yes, you can see the strings.
Violence: Heavy / Profanity: Extreme / Sex: Extreme