Team America: World Police (2004) Review

Thunderbirds: The Movie was so disappointing it angered me. What should have been a great realisation of a huge show in my childhood resulted in a kids movie which didn’t represent the fantastic Gerry Anderson show at all. Why it was so awful is a post for another day but one of the key areas was the fact they made it live action.

It wasn’t that I wouldn’t want to see a live action Thunderbirds movie, but one of the unique features of the show was the use of marionettes and the very cool way they were used. Team America: World Police makes me want to see a “proper” Thunderbirds movie even more, although it could never be exactly like Team America.

Team America proves that using marionettes in a movie can be very successful

That’s because Team America is what we expect from its creators, Matt Stone and Trey Parker, immature, foul-mouthed, rude but ultimately hilarious. From the very beginning of the movie, when we get introduced to our heroes, you soon realise that the movie doesn’t care who it offends, what taboos it breaks and what “sensitive” subjects it touches upon.

The plot of the movie, involving terrorists, Kim Yong Il and the Film Actors Guild (F.A.G) is a simple but very funny one. It covers all the usual “action movie clichés” and subsequently highlights how absurd these usual moments in this kind of movie are. With ridiculous, explosive action sequences, corny one-liners and a very disturbing “sex scene,” Team America isn’t afraid to laugh at the movie style it is relying on.

The film does a great job of mocking the usual action movie clichés

As with Stone and Parkers more famous creation, South Park, they are also creating a comedy which comments on the present, world situation. Although it was created in 2004, there is still a lot to be said for the idea of America “policing” the world, Kim Jong Il and North Korea being huge, terrorist threats and actors using their influence to do “charitable” work without always having the best of intentions in mind.

These ideas are presented in clever, but ultimately very funny ways. Of course, the most famous thing to come out of Team America is the character of Matt Damon, an unfair but nevertheless very funny take on the actor (which thankfully, he has managed to out-live, just).

Everyone say it together now….

Even if satire isn’t your thing, there is still loads to love about Team America. It is very silly in places and some of the jokes fall flat but it also has a very successful and rapid hit-rate when it comes to its gags. It’s also a great demonstration of how to do a movie using marionette puppets and another reason why the Thunderbird movie was such a huge, missed opportunity.

Overall, Team America: World Poilce is a very funny movie, showcasing what makes Matt Stone and Trey Parker so successful. It’s not just the immature, foul-mouthed jokes but also the comments on the world today, particularly with respect to terrorists and the power of both America and Hollywood. I just hope someone will make their Book of Mormon musical into a movie sooner rather than later.

Rating – 3

(1 – Awful, 2 – Average, 3 – Good, 4 – Great, 5! – Must See)

Proof that a Thunderbirds movie wouldn’t have to be awful
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