Everything I have read about Team America: World Police makes me more eager to see it. A film in that opens with Thunderbirds-style puppets accidentally destroying Paris as part of an US anti-terror operation and offends Sean Penn to the point of releasing a statement to the press is worth a viewing. This report worries me a bit though.
02Jan05 — 4
After the trailers I’ve seen and the reviews I’ve read, I’m still none the wiser as to what and whom Team America is lampooning. Is it ripping the piss out of pseudo-leftists, imperialist war-mongers or all of us?
I live just down the road from you in St. Ives, by the way. Small world – wouldn’t want to paint it.
“Is it ripping the piss out of pseudo-leftists, imperialist war-mongers or all of us?”
Everyone, apparently. What more could you ask for? (Well it would have been better if they had been allowed to keep all of the puppet sex in obviously, but I’m sure it’ll appear in full on the UK DVD.)
[Anyone who now makes a “woody” joke on this thread gets barred for life.]
Going from what I’ve sampled thus far, I suspect it’s a victim of Starship Troopers syndrome – to cite another film that got mixed-to-terrible reviews in the US and far more enthusiastic ones abroad (here’s Sight & Sound‘s enthusiastic thumbs up).
And in this case, the timing of the US release in mid-October, weeks before the election and at a time when everyone was generally jumpy about politically-slanted films, probably didn’t help.
(My understanding is that the film’s main target is moronic Jerry Bruckheimer blockbusters – everything else seems largely incidental.)
Jingoistic sentimentality (e.g. an aggressively sung country/western ballad called “Freedom Isn’t Free”) and ham-handed U.S. militarism…yes, these are fair game for satire in this movie. And it’s true that the Bruckheimer blockbuster genre is savaged hilariously throughout. But the idiocy of the facile anti-war Left as typified by people like Sean Penn and Tim Robbins are the ones relegated, to the carthartic glee of viewers like us, to the inner circle of Parker and Stone’s hell.
There is much to make anti-war types giggle, but the deeply satisfying fun is for us pro-liberation types.
The thing that makes these guys’ humor continue to work so well is that they tear into anything that is objectively ridiculous, so they don’t stay within ideological borders.
One thing that I scratched my head over was why Matt Damon (who I’m sure is no genius) is portrayed as if he were profoundly mentally retarded. It turns out that they simply thought his puppet likeness came out of the mold looking like an idiot, so they went with it. So while their satire is ultimately right on target, it’s not exactly done with Swiftian precision.
I never laugh out loud in movies but my wife and I both laughed out loud almost continuously throughout this thing (and on the ride home).
For the love of God, go see it!