Reel Reviews

Film Reviews by a Real Person, Not a Critic

Team America: World Police

Note: I did a review of this movie on my other blog when I first saw it. I watched it recently on DVD, so I’ve modified the original post to reflect DVD viewing.

Title: Team America: World Police
Year: 2004
Director: Trey Parker
Voices: Trey Parker, Matt Stone
Rated: R

Reel Reviews Rating:

South Park creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone switched from computer generated animation to old-fashioned marionettes in this 2004 film to deliver their political message with their usual razor sharp wit.

An obvious parody of the Bush administration’s War on Terror, Team America doesn’t choose sides and gleefully pokes fun at everybody and everything- American foreign policy, terrorists, left-leaning liberal actors, and ultra-right wing conservative action heroes.

The story is about Team America, a trigger happy, anti-terrorist organization. Team America lets nothing stand in their way, blowing up historical monuments all in the name of “fighting terror”. In preparing for a very special mission, team head honcho Spotswoode (voiced by Darran Norris) recruits Broadway actor Gary Johnston (voiced by Parker) to go undercover in a terrorist hideout. Little does Team America know who the real mastermind is behind the plan for world domination…

The plot sounds absolutely ridiculous, and it’s meant to be since it’s a parody of all those silly Michael Bay/Jerry Bruckheimer action films. In fact, there’s a song in Team America called “Pearl Harbor Sucked, and I Miss You”. Actually, Parker and Stone originally wanted to simply recreate the movie Armageddon using the puppets but couldn’t do so because of legalities. They wrote their own plot instead, which if you think about it is not really any more far fetched than Armageddon’s plot involving a group of off-shore oil drillers who become astronauts to save the world from a giant asteroid.

The puppets themselves are awesome. They don’t look creepy like ventriloquist puppets but are actually able to express a lot of emotions in their wooden faces. However, like South Park, in which the characters are crudely drawn and animated, Parker and Stone chose not to digitally edit the puppets’ strings, as a way of reminding the audience that they’re promoting political and social messages in the silliest manner.

First of all, anyone who watches this movie should have a lot of tolerance and a huge sense of humor. It’s extremely offensive, but that’s the point. Parker and Stone have made a career out of pissing people off but making them think at the same time. Take South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. Sure, the movie was also offensive, violent, and dirty, but the take home message was that there’s a lot bigger things to worry about than making sure your kid doesn’t swear, and the whole notion of violence being more acceptable in films than dirty language. So if you are offended easily, DO NOT WATCH THIS MOVIE and later rant about how offensive it was. If you do decide to watch it, just remember: it’s a comedy. It’s just a movie.

Second, some have speculated that Team America: World Police is a pro-liberal movie, which can’t be farther from the truth. Yes, this movie is politically charged, but rather than take sides, the movie points out that both sides can be extreme, and neither side is correct. It’s one of the reasons why I personally consider myself to be a moderate, and most likely why Parker and Stone are registered Libertarians.

Lastly, this movie is really, really, really funny. Everything about it is hilarious, down to the music. Listen to the lyrics- they’re absolutely brilliantly hysterical. Also, my boyfriend made a good point when he said that the sets are quite impressive. I can only imagine how long it took for them to build these intricate little sets of Paris, Mount Rushmore, Panama, etc. The infamous puppet sex scene is longer on the DVD than it was in the theatrical release. It pushed boundaries as to what can be shown in a movie, but it’s still not really that bad since the puppets aren’t *that* anatomically correct. Imagine putting your naked Barbie and Ken dolls together, as I’m sure many of us have done when we were young.

All in all, I highly recommend this movie for those with a healthy sense of humor. It’s not as good asSouth Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut (which I own), but it’s still hysterically funny. I would also recommend buying the soundtrack, though from what I’ve heard, buying the CD may be a waste since the songs themselves only take up 19 minutes, but the rest are instrumental filler. Do what I did and get the songs off iTunes instead.

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February 22, 2006 - Posted by | Action, Adventure, Comedy, Musical, Satire, Social Commentary


  1. I have yet to see this movie, but I did see the entire puppet sex scene that was cut out of the movie.

    Comment by marvo | February 22, 2006 | Reply

  2. Marvo- Actually, the puppet sex scene wasn’t cut in the theatrical release. It’s just a little longer in the DVD.

    Comment by Toni | February 22, 2006 | Reply

  3. A puppet sex scene. Okay, now I have heard it all. I hate to admit that I like Southpark…I am ashamed to admit it actually..LOL

    Comment by Jen | July 27, 2006 | Reply

  4. Fabulous film!! And I like the fact that they skewer everybody including hollywood celebrities that are worshipped in this country. Good going Matt and Trey[hottie!].

    Comment by Lauren | March 5, 2007 | Reply

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