Team America: World Police

With world tensions at an all time high with the very real threat of terrorism, the creators of South Park, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, have rushed to the rescue with a biting political and social satire named “Team America: World Police”.

The film is a puppet movie based upon the old Thunderbirds television show about a team of specialists who fight to save the world from all manner of threats both real and imagined. The story is told entirely by puppets and miniatures which allows Stone and Parker to push the boundaries much further than they would be allowed to with live actors and in doing so, give the audience some of the deepest albeit raunchiest laughs seen in a long time.
The story opens with Team America battling the terrorists in Paris. Ever quick on the trigger, the team is able to stop the deployment of a weapon of mass destruction but in the process much of the cities famed landmarks fall from collateral damage.

Forced to find a new team member, the leader of Team America, Spottswoode recruits a stage actor named Gary Johnston to join the team and infiltrate the terrorist organization to learn what new attacks are being planned.
While this is seen as a good move by the team, there are parts of the team that are unsure of this as one in particular does not trust actors and thinks that he will escalate an already volatile situation. Undaunted, the team sets off for Cairo Egypt and eventually leaves a trail of mayhem and destruction in their path.

It is at this point that the real story of the films kicks into gear. It is learned that North Korean leader Kim Jong Il is working with the terrorists to plot the ultimate attack and have convinced a cadre of Hollywood actors to attend a peace conference with other world leaders in an attempt to undermine Team America.

In between battles, Team America has plenty of time to take on other concerns such as love, self-doubt, personal issues, and suspicions, some of which result in a side-splitting sex scene that will soon become legend, as even though it involved puppets, it has to be severely edited in order to avoid an NC-17 rating. As it stands, it is one of the funniest moments in cinematic history and worth the price of admission alone.

The film does a good job of mixing comedy and commentary without ever drawing a line and saying this is how it is. We see Team America as a gun happy bunch, but we are also shown that they are true patriots who are willing to do what it takes to keep the country safe. Such is the genius of Parker and Stone as they are able to create a biting social commentary that makes you aware of issues without pounding the audience over their heads with the creator’s viewpoints. Instead the audience is given a situation and watch things taken to highly comical levels in an effort to entertain. People are free to draw their own conclusions and interpretations of the messages in the film as despite your beliefs or political leanings, we all laugh. There will be those that take umbrage to the crude humor and language, and others will not like what they may call a right-wing message. Instead I looked at the film as a very funny comedy with solid social commentary.

The only fault I had with the film is that it does drag a bit about ¾ in before getting to the final confrontations but those are well worth the wait. The film also parodies many action films and it is fun to try to try to uncover which film is being parodied. The puppets themselves are very impressive as their movements and facial expressions are easily the best ever captured on film.