Monday, September 27, 2010

Team America: World Police (2004)

Director: Trey Parker

Starring: Trey Parker, Matt Stone, Kristen Miller, Masasa Moyo, Daran Norris, Phil Hendrie, Maurice LaMarche

More info: IMDb

Tagline: Putting the "F" back in Freedom.

Plot: Team America follows an international police force dedicated to maintaining global stability. Learning that power hungry dictator Kim Jong Il (Parker) is out to destroy the world, the team recruits Broadway star Gary Johnston (Parker) to go undercover. With the help of Team America (Stone, Miller, Masasa, Parker, and Norris), Gary manages to slip into an arms dealer's hideout to uncover the plan to destroy the world. Will Team America be able to save the world?

My rating: 10/10

Will I watch it again? Fuck yeah!

I've been a HUGE fan of Parker and Stone since the first season of SOUTH PARK. I was there from the beginning and these two guys have consistently been among the best satirists in the business. Naturally I was there on opening day for TEAM AMERICA. I laughed until I cried. My face and stomach hurt so bad by the end. I was beside myself with laughter that it's not surprising that I ended up seeing this four times before it left the theater. I should've gotten a check for how hard I worked at getting everyone I could to support this.

"I feel so...cold."

"Hans Brix? Ah, no!"

"I promise I will never die."

Everything works. The story is typical of the types of big budget actioners they're riffing on, the gags are damn funny, the voice acting is brilliant with so many great characters I'd end up listing nearly all of them as being my favorite they're so likable. Speaking of the characters, the marionette designs are amazing and very distinct. The Hollywood actors they goof on get all of the right details while skewing them at the same time. Bill Pope deserved an Oscar nom for his camerawork. It's astounding that so much talent and care went into this film.

I'm offended that not a single song from this was nominated for an Academy Award. It's a fucking crime. Every one of them is extremely well crafted on what they're goofing on and, on top of that, they're cleverly written, performed, extremely funny AND they're really good songs in their own right. I'd like to think that if the montage song hadn't been previously used on an episode of SOUTH PARK that it might've had a chance at a nomination. Even still, every other song was worthy enough, especially when you look at what WAS nominated - Accidentally in love, SHREK 2 - Al otro lado del Rio, THE MOTORCYCLE DIARIES - Believe, THE POLAR EXPRESS - Learn to be lonely, THE PHANTOM OF THE OPERA - Look to your path, THE CHORUS. Remember any of those songs? I didn't think so.

You're gonna need a montage!

Harry Gregson-Williams' score is so serious, just like the films they're sending up, but the thing is is that it works incredibly well. So well that the somber theme played during the simultaneous world-wide terrorist attacks really shows the power of music when you see the slow motion death and destruction being meted out. It's incredibly powerful and it really shows what a good score can do - provide weighty emotion while seing puppets on strings greeting their demise. It's remarkable how good this score is.

And that's really the center of this review and my respect for these two guys. They produce a high quality product. They're working with marionettes for fuck's sake and the care with the story, acting, music, and overall attention to every single detail shows in the finished film. You may find it easy to dismiss but what they delivered was a labor of love that shows with every frame. Even if I didn't think the movie was funny I would still have a high level of respect for what they were able to accomplish. It's too bad they had a miserable time doing this. I would LOVE to see where else they could go with technique. It's also a shame, no, a crime that this didn't do better at the box office ($32 mil domestic - budget of $30 mil). If it had they might have had the incentive to produce a line of marionettes and I'd be making my own TA adventures.

Speaking of T&A, I laughed so hard and long during the sex scene that it was only after my second trip to the theater that during the end credits I heard a song I didn't recognize and when I asked my friend where in the movie they played it that he told me it was during the sex scene. I had laughed so hard that I failed to hear the song TWICE in the theater. I've seen the movie at least another six times since the four in the theater and I still laugh my fucking ass off every.single.time.

Regardless of how much I carry on about this flick I can only begin to express my love for this. It touches me in a way only the Vatican has a record of.

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