Team America:
World Police

Dir: Trey Parker
Star: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kristen Miller, Masasa

I was actually surprised - and truth be told, a bit disappointed - by the political leanings here, which savage liberal Hollywood much more than American jingoism. Sure, the Pyramids and the Eiffel Tower are destroyed by our heroes, but they remain just that: heroes. Up against terrorists led by evil North Korean Kim Jong Il (who sounds like Cartman with a cold), Team America also find the likes of Tim Robbins, Michael Moore, Susan Sarandon and Sean Penn keen to take them out, and at times the film comes over shrilly biased, like a feature-length version of Fox News. In contrast, Team America are not shown as political in any way; where's Dubya and the White House? And the creators need to realise that merely rehashing crap action-movie scenarios and dialogue is not sufficient to pass for satire.

Much more successful is the use of puppets, and as in Peter Jackson's Meet the Feebles, it's a delight to see marionettes vomiting, screwing and dying in splatter-filled ways [my favourite: the "attack panthers"] Equally worth of praise are the sets, which are tiny masterpieces, and the songs, where Parker and Stone once again reveal their not-so-secret ambition to be Rogers and Hammerstein - I look forward to seeing Kim Jong Il's rendition of I'm Lonely (or, more accurately, "I'm Ronery") at the next Academy Awards. Being honest, there's probably rather too much forgettable padding, and only about one-third of the film is truly memorable. However, that's still several notches above most Hollywood movies, and you definitely won't see anything else like it this year.

October 2004

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