I have a lot of affection for the original Super-Marionation Thunderbirds, even if it probably doesn’t hold up well today. Yes, they were puppets, and you could see the strings, and they walked funny, and their mouths moved up and down badly, but it was cool and fun and futuristic and exciting to a young boy, and nothing you can say will change that. I also love South Park, so I should probably admit to being somewhat biased toward this film, which I should admit up front.
Team America does exactly what it says on the tin: police the world, even if, as in the opening scene in Paris, they manage to destroy a lot of real estate in the process (like the Eiffel Tower, L’Arc de Triomphe and the Louvre). So, this is Trey Parker & Matt Stone’s swipe at America’s position in the world today. But with puppets. After the tragic, yet hilarious, death of one of the original team in this opening scene, Gary, an actor, is brought in to the team to help them stop the ultimate threat to the world, in the form of Kim Jong-il, the leader of North Korea. What follows is a hysterical attack on just about everybody, but especially liberal actors, Jerry Bruckheimer films, and American attitude to everything non-American.
Although this isn’t the greatest movie in the world, it is very, very funny. Where can I start in an attempt to persuade you of the funny? The line ‘You had me at “Dicks fuck assholes”‘, perhaps? The ‘We need a montage’ song? The song lyric “I miss you more than Michael Bay missed the mark when he made Pearl Harbor”? Our hero vomiting his guts up, then passing out in a pool of his own sick? A finishing speech borrowed from a drunk about how the world is made of three people; dicks, pussies and assholes? Puppets of famous actors being decapitated, shot to ribbons, blown up, set on fire and cut in half? Kim Jong-il singing “I’m So Ronery”? Matt Damon saying nothing else apart from “Matt Damon!”? Hot puppet sex in every position? Lease the musical, with the song “Everyone’s Got Aids”? The deliberately rubbish Arabic speech, along the lines of ‘Dirka dirka dirka’? Kung fu action which is basically two puppets flailing badly at each other to funky music? A theme tune called ‘America: Fuck, yeah!” If none of the above appeals to you, then don’t go see the film. Ever.
This is a very silly movie (albeit one with a serious point about the way America views itself as policing the world but ignorant of it – when the film moves to a new location, there is a caption saying how far it is away from America) with lots of silly jokes, silly songs, silly people and silly voices. It is very funny, even if the film as a whole isn’t great – the South Park guys know how to make themselves (and me) laugh a lot, even if the story doesn’t always hold together from start to finish, and they seemed to have bottled it when mocking the most obvious target, George Dubya Bush. I know they have stated that they don’t want to go for easy targets, and that everyone is mocking Bush because it is so easy (hence their own live action sitcom, That’s My Bush) but that doesn’t excuse the fact that there is no puppet of Bush, while other leaders, such as our very own Tony B Liar, cameo in the film. But they can be forgiven for that if they are going to make me laugh like an idiot for an hour and a half.
Rating: VID for general consumption, DAVE if you like South Park