Team America: World Police-Uncut (2004)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-x8
|Year Of Production||2004|
|RSDL / Flipper||RSDL (33:33)||Cast & Crew|
|Region Coding||4||Directed By||Trey Parker|
Paramount Home Entertainment
|Pan & Scan/Full Frame||None||English Dolby Digital 5.1|
|Widescreen Aspect Ratio||2.35:1|
|Video Format||576i (PAL)|
|Original Aspect Ratio||2.35:1||Miscellaneous|
English for the Hearing Impaired
|Annoying Product Placement||No|
|Action In or After Credits||No|
An intriguing cross between South Park and Thunderbirds,, Team America: World Police is the brutally violent – and grotesquely gross – political satire from the South Park creators Matt Stone and Trey Parker. After tackling modern social and political issues weekly from both sides on the excellent South Park, Stone and Parker have turned their juvenile iconoclastic attention to American foreign policy with hilarious results.
In terms of art direction and its use of marionettes, Team America is heavily inspired by The Thunderbirds. The husband and wife team of Gerry and Sylvia Anderson produced at least ten marionette ("supermarionation") series for television, including Stingray and Supercar. Their most famous, Thunderbirds, premiered on UK television in 1965. Set in 2063, the Thunderbirds followed the exciting adventures of International Rescue, a secret organisation dedicated to daring and large-scale rescues. Hidden in a remote, high-tech Island, International Rescue was founded by ex-astronaut and millionaire, Jeff Tracy. An immediate hit, the Thunderbirds have since entered popular culture, and the series is widely available on DVD.
Fast forward 40 years to today's post-9/11 Bush era: Bunkered in George Washington's carved head on Mount Rushmore, Team America is a self-ordained, clueless, but extremely well-funded high-tech international police force, with a mission to seek out and destroy terrorists. Team America perfectly capture the smug, self-righteous arrogance of U.S. foreign policy, especially during the recent Bush years.
The gung-ho, flag-waving, Team America heroes such as Chris (voiced by Matt Stone), Lisa (voiced by Kristen Miller), and Joe (voiced by Trey Parker), have little to no concern for the damage they do to foreign civilians, their property, or even their religious and cultural icons; and as such, have no problem destroying the Eiffel Tower or half of Cairo in their war on terror. Indeed, their missiles and heavy gun fire are frequently accompanied by their empowering anthem, “America – F*** Yeah!”
Team America launch their military attacks around the globe based on the seemingly random predictions of their computer, I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E. When something goes wrong, they yell at the computer: "Bad I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E.! Bad I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E."! Not that the destruction bothers them too much: "Rest assured", Team America say to a gobsmacked group of Parisians eyeing their ruined city. "We saved you from the terrorists."
However, new recruit Gary (also voiced by Trey Parker) is an exception. Recruited backstage from performing in Lease, the Musical on Broadway, which features the catchy tune "Everyone Has AIDS", Gary is hired for his acting skills to infiltrate a terrorist cell in Cairo. Gary is not as gung-ho as his Humvee-driving, gun-loving companions, but Gary also wants to do the right thing, and is motivated by a sense of obligation and duty. Gary's gentle nature will not be welcomed by all members of Team America, and he will have to prove himself to them.
Apart from Muslims who seem to carry entire conversations through garbled variations of the words “Mohammed” and “Jihad", Team America will also be challenged by outspoken liberal, self-righteous, "do-gooder celebrities" such as Alec Baldwin, Tim Robbins, Susan Sarandon, Sean Penn, Ben Affleck, and many more. Although, perhaps it's activist filmmaker Michael Moore who receives the film's harshest treatment. As with South Park, Stone and Parker are happy to dish it out to both the outspoken Right and Left of politics.
However, these vocal, high-profile, Liberal Hollywood actors object to the tactics and politics of Team America. Their coalition, known as the Film Actors Guild (F.A.G), begin to speak out against Team America in an attempt to turn public opinion against them. In a press conference, Sean Penn says: "We don't like war because war is ran by the corporations. And we know corporations are ran by fat cats who do corporatey things all day."
The sinister, North Korean, Bond-villain-like Kim Jong Il realises the potential power of these well-meaning, but naive celebrities, and Jong decides to harness that power and use them to his advantage. Jong convinces Alec Baldwin to host a FAG concert in North Korea, but little do FAG know that this concert is just a smokescreen for a massive deployment of North Korean weapons of mass destruction. The celebrities collaborate with Jong, and Team America will be called upon to battle Jong and his North Korean forces to prevent World destruction. Team America's efforts, however, will be severely hampered when their base is infiltrated by Michael Moore, who has strapped his chest with dynamite. Can the gentle and caring Gary save the day?
Parker and Stone deftly use action-movie clichés to drive their points home. The explosions are ridiculously comical and the love triangles that develop between the characters are ridiculous but still manage to resemble the foolish plot lines found in Jerry Bruckheimer films such as Pearl Harbor or Armageddon. Furthermore, the use of puppets controlled by strings makes a perfect visual statement about the current political and military environment, in both the US and Australia. But it's not just political, Stone and Parker also get some postmodern comic mileage from the limitations of working with puppets, sneaking in a few jokes about the difficulty of executing precise marionette movements, or even managing to walk in a convincing fashion.
Team America was released on DVD in R4 in two versions: The original was censored, and ran for 93:40. The Uncut version runs marginally longer, with a running time of 94:14. The most noticeable, and perhaps only, difference between the two versions is in the puppet sex scene. In the Uncut version, the scene is longer as it also includes scat, golden showers, and fisting. The times mentioned in the review below refer to the Uncut version.
Overall, the video transfer is very good.
The transfer is presented in its original widescreen aspect ratio of 2.35:1, 16x9 enhanced.
While a few scenes looked intentionally soft, the sharpness is good overall. Consider, for example, the detailed shot of the interior of the Team America base at 13:05. The black level is good, and the shadow detail is also fine. For example, look at the scene in the dark lair of Kim Jong Il's palace at 17:58.
The colour is amazing throughout, with a well-saturated use of bright primary colours.
There are no problems with MPEG or Film-To-Video artefacts. A few tiny film artefacts were noticeable, but this is a pristine print. Occasionally some slight edge enhancement can be spotted, but it's not very noticeable.
English, English for the Hearing Impaired, Arabic, Bulgarian, Croatian, Danish, Finnish, Greek, Hebrew, Icelandic, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Serbian, Slovenian, and Swedish subtitles are present. The English ones are accurate.
This is a Single-Sided, Dual Layer disc, with the layer change placed at 33:33. The feature is divided into 16 chapters.
The audio is very good as well. The feature only offers one audio option: English Dolby Digital 5.1.
The dialogue quality is good, and the audio sync is fine for puppets.
The musical score is credited to Stephen Barton, Toby Chu, and Harry Gregson-Williams. Apart from an action film orchestral score, there are also plenty of catchy, comic songs throughout.
There is considerable surround presence and activity throughout. The rear speakers are used to support the score and provide a lot of ambience, such as the air battle at 50:17.
The subwoofer is also utilised very heavily throughout, and the LFE track kicks in at times, such as when the Sphinx head collapses at 33:11.
|Surround Channel Use|
Both versions of the DVD in R4 have the same selection of extras. They are genuine and plentiful.
Animated with audio.
An introduction to Team America running for about five minutes. Featuring writer/director Trey Parker and co-writer Matt Stone, this briefly looks at the difference between creating a story with puppets, as opposed to the animation of South Park.
Production Notes-Building the World (12:41)
A behind-the-scenes look at designing and creating the sets and models.
Production Notes-Crafting the Puppets (7:59)
A look at the creation of the film's starts, with puppet-master, Steven Chiodo.
Production Notes-Pulling the Strings (10:07)
A behind-the-scenes look at puppeteering of the film's characters.
Production Notes-Capturing the Action (6:43)
A behind-the-scenes look at the camera work in the film.
Production Notes-Miniature Pyrotechnics (4:50)
A behind-the-scenes look at the many mini-explosions in the film.
Production Notes-Up Close with Kim Jong-Il (5:10)
We meet the movie's Bond-villain like baddie.
Additional Footage-Dressing room test (2:10)
Test footage shot to see if the concept was workable.
Additional Footage-Puppet Test (4:10)
More test footage.
Deleted Scenes-10 Scenes (6:10)
10 deleted and extended scenes, featuring some of the characters such as Michael Moore and Ben Affleck.
Animated Storyboards x6
- Paris Opening (4mins)
- Gary's Flashback (1min)
- A Member Of The Team (3mins)
- Kim Jong Il's Underwater Lair (2mins)
- F.A.G. Meets Team America (2mins)
- Kim Jong Il's Bedroom (1min)
Theatrical Trailer x2
Theatrical and teaser Trailers for the film
There is censorship information available for this title. Click here to read it (a new window will open). WARNING: Often these entries contain MAJOR plot spoilers.
Team America has been released twice in both R1 and R4. In R1 it was released as a R-Rated and as an Uncut version. Simarly, in R4, it was released twice, with the second version being Uncut as well.
Ignoring the PAL/NTSC difference, the R1 and R4 Uncut DVD's are basically the same, except that the R1 has Bonus Trailers: The Longest Yard, South Park: Season 5, Jay-Z At Madison Square Garden, and Coach Carter
Often childish, but definitely not for children, Team America will please fans of South Park, and might even win over a few new converts too.
The video quality is very good.
The audio quality is also very good.
The extras are genuine and plentiful.
|DVD||Sony RDR-HX715 DVD recorder, using HDMI output|
|Display||Samsung 106cm Plasma TV (42 Inch). Calibrated with Video Essentials. This display device is 16x9 capable.|
|Audio Decoder||Built in to amplifier/receiver. Calibrated with Video Essentials.|
|Amplification||Sony STR DE-545|