Sunday, October 17, 2004


A Crappy Team America Review! How’s That For A Title? With Updates!

Initial results for Team America: World Police have been less than promising. I cannot support this movie all by myself. Go see it now!

But maybe I was hoping for too much. It’s not summer. The movie is rated R. South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut only made $52 million. On the other hand, Team America is about a million ahead of SP:BLU for estimated opening weekend results.

That’s all well and good, but how was the movie? I thought it was great. And it’s especially great if you have been a fan of shoot em up type movies in the past. Lots of clever references on this front. Lots of stuff gets blown up. Good guys and bad guys fighting it out for world peace. Bad guys defeated in interesting and funny ways. A good movie on straight shoot em up consideration.

You’ll often hear a reviewer complain that characters are cliches, or plot elements are retreads of other movies. These can be legitimate criticisms of serious movies. However, in satire, it’s a compliment. This is especially true for Team America, and fun is poked at all sides. This doesn’t keep Parker and Stone from choosing a winner.

Team America members are committed and willing to lay their lives on the line for, well, America. And they don’t mind breaking a few eggs (or national landmarks) to make a “destroy all terrorists” omelet. Which kicks ass. Of course this is the part that liberals would say makes fun of unthinking jingoistic super patriots who support Bush. I don’t think I’m quite in that camp, but I do support our president. I think a key difference is that we on the right can see “our” side made fun of and still laugh.

Satire on the left in Team America is directed at Michael Moore and other Hollywood liberals. The film shines here as well. When Kim Jong-Il needs help in his evil plan, he turns to Hollywood, and there are plenty of actors willing to oblige him. The UN (who sends really angry letters) is also considered part of the unhelpful side, and Hans Blix demonstrates a new wieght loss strategy for those on the left to try.

Team America is loaded with puppets, which made all of the above even more hilarious. I can’t help it. The puppets crack me up. Seeing all the strings, the cheesy jet exhaust, even the articulated knee joints in the obligatory action movie love scene was terrific. I keep thinking of the 1960’s Batman TV show and movie. Like Team America, Batman was funny just because of what you were looking at with the costumes and the cheesy dialogue and the BAM! And KERPOW! flashes on the screen. Team America has that sort of stuff, sure, but the material itself is so much funnier.

Once, when I was young and foolish, I complained to my English teacher that musicals were lame because they used a bunch of songs to make up for no plot. This was in a review of that movie with the Jets and the Sharks, Tony and Maria, a version of Romeo and Juliet, was it West Side Story? Whatever. Not a great moment for my first film review. I’ve grown a little since then, and I can appreciate music a little more. I loved the songs for this movie. I’ll be getting the soundtrack shortly. Like everything else in this film, the songs were funny and made me laugh.

Parker and Stone have done another great job with this Team America. They also realize that even with the satire, even with the musical numbers, hell, even with the puppet sex, the fact is that sometimes doing the right thing is not always the easiest or most popular thing. That doesn’t mean it shouldn’t be done.

A couple of final notes:

This movie was probably more truthful than Fahrenheit 9/11.

Unlike Micheal Moore, you get the feeling Parker and Stone actually love this country, even when they take jabs at our foreign policy.

You can check out much better reviews from these esteemed worthies:

Roger L Simon is here. You go look now!

Mean Mr. Mustard is here. You go look now!

And some guy I never heard of is here. You go look now!

Leave a vote in the comments for the title of this crappy review.

Actual Update: Nevermind. I came up with one a minute ago.

Actual Update II: Dr Rusty Shackleford at My Pet Jawa has a nice collection of links to reviews by other esteemed worthies here. You go look now!

And thanks to the good doctor for pointing me to another kitty on the web, and this one's an Empress! Her thoughts on the movie are here. You go look now!

Actual Update III: I forgot, but don’t you forget to check back with Dr. Shackleford on Wednesday for his review. Oh. And maybe I should add that these updates came Monday night maybe 7-7:30 pm.
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