Team America: World Police

2004 marionette action movie

Rating: 16/20

Plot: A stage actor joins the titular terrorist busters, stops a group of terrorists in Egypt with the help of his acting abilities, and then must face Kim Jong Il who is planning to use his weapons of mass destruction to take over the world.

There are a lot of movies that I like that nobody else seems to like very much. I get it most of the time. I don't blame or criticize anybody for not liking Eraserhead. But this one I have trouble understanding. Not even South Park fans seem to like this much at all, and I don't understand why. For me, this is easily the most brilliant and brilliantly executed and consistently humorous thing that Parker and Stone have ever done. They nail big dumb Michael Bay-esque action movies, and the satire is just perfect. Of course, I was sold within the first few moments of the movie when there's a marionette who has his own marionette and a mime. All within seconds! And you get to see puppets engaging in fisticuffs including a guy vs. terrorist fight sequence near the beginning that includes the Crane Technique. And yes, there's the infamous marionette sex scene which is not only one of my favorite sex scenes ever but one that should be required viewing for all newlyweds. These puppets are awesome. I'm easily entertained anyway, so something as simple as getting to see marionettes "walk" around is enough to please me. Still, the way they give these little figures facial expressions and all gives them this realism and makes them seem like better actors than the people who are usually in movies like this. The sets are absolutely amazing with this surprising amount of details. I always imagine Parker and Stone catching part of this on television (because in my mind, they're always in the same room as each other) and saying, "I can't believe we made this thing!" Like most of their stuff, this is also a musical, and the songs are also pretty great. There's a wonderfully catchy song about AIDS, a dumber-than-dumb "Freedom Isn't Free" song which is stupid enough to seem real until a line about how "Freedom costs a dollar fifty" line, fist-pump-inducing "America, Fuck Yeah!" that should probably replace our current national anthem, Jong Il's number about how rone-ry he is, and the brilliant "We're Gonna Need a Montage." The big swing and miss is a song devoted to making fun of the Pearl Harbor movie. Aside from a bit of political jabbing that is pretty harsh on both liberal and conservative ideals, there are plenty of goofy moments that just make me laugh. I don't like all the meta-jokes that draw attention to the fact that the characters are marionettes. Those didn't need to be there. But I laugh every single time I even think about that Matt Damon puppet and his repeated single line. And "No me gusta!" makes me smile. And the line "When you see Alec Baldwin, you see the true ugliness of human nature." Oh, and the line "I was raped by Mr. Mistoffelees." A hammer slid across a table, Kim Jong Il's panthers, the gruesome deaths of many Hollywood stars. Seriously, somebody tell me what's not to like here! That's a rhetorical exclamation, by the way, so you don't really have to answer. Bonus nods for a strong use of the Wilhelm Scream and an allusion to the cantina scene in A New Hope. This might not be a perfect movie, but I challenge you to find a movie this freakin' funny that also contains an extended scene of marionettes having sex.


l@rstonovich said...

You sure talk big for a 16.

Shane said...

Really? Did I talk bigger than a 16?

'Fifth Horseman Is Fear' is being shipped to me, by the way...that was one of your first five recommendations back when we did that five recommendation thing...timely viewing.