TEAM AMERICA: WORLD
Rude, crude and lewd, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE ($30) is the latest cinematic opus from Trey Parker and Matt Stone, the bad boys behind SOUTH PARK. While TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE doesn’t hit the mark every time, this reviewer still found the movie to be pretty freaking funny. Who would have ever thought that audiences would ever see another movie featuring marionettes on strings, inhabiting a beautiful scale model world and having graphic marionette sex. Playing like a cross between a pumped up Jerry Bruckheimer movie and Gerry Anderson’s THUNDERBIRDS, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE skewers the action movie genre, as well as both right wing and left wing politicos.
TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE opens with the title group putting an end to a band of Middle Eastern terrorists, but not before they completely devastate every recognizable landmark in the city of Paris. Unfortunately, the Paris incident also claims the life of one of Team America’s key players, which requires his immediate replacement. Instead of a trained agent, Team America chooses an actor to join their organization, so that they can use his abilities to infiltrate the Middle Eastern terrorist underground, which is being funded by North Korean leader Kim Jong Il, beautifully played as a parody of a Bond villain, in the vein of Dr. No.
Paramount Home Entertainment has made TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE available on DVD in a 2.35:1 widescreen presentation, which has been enhanced for playback on 16:9 displays. This is a pretty terrific looking transfer that offers a generally crisp and nicely defined image. There is an occasional shot that looks a tad soft, but nothing worth complaining about. Colors are bold and strongly rendered, without a trace of noise or smearing. Blacks are on the money, white are clean and the picture sports smooth contrast and good shadow detail. The film elements are virtually pristine and appreciable grain is just about nonexistent. Digital compression artifacts are always well contained.
The Dolby Digital 5.1 channel sound track is top-drawer action movie all the way. The sound mix is explosive and makes excellent use of all the discrete channels to create a "larger than life" audio experience for a "smaller than life" scale model world. Effects are aggressively deployed throughout the film’s action sequences, although the sound field maintains a cohesive quality. Fidelity is terrific and really makes the soundtrack’s musical component shine. Dialogue is cleanly rendered and always easy to understand. An English Dolby Digital 2.0 Surround mix, as well as a French language track is also provided, as are English and Spanish subtitles.
Full motion video, animation and sound serve to enhance the DVD's interactive menus. Through the menus, one has access to standard scene selection and set up features, as well as the disc’s supplemental materials. Starting things off is an introduction by Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The Building The World runs twelve minutes and looks at creating the film’s scale model world. Crafting The Puppets clocks in at eight minutes and features a look at the contributions of the Chiodo brothers to the film. Pulling The Strings is a twelve-minute piece features director Trey Parker’s work to get his little stringed performers to do what he wanted. Capturing The Action spends six minutes examining the film’s cinematography and the challenges of photographing this miniature world.
Running five minutes is Miniature Pyrotechnics, which looks at blowing things up on a small scale. Up Close And Personal With Kim Jong Il spends five minutes looking at how much of the real life man was incorporated into his puppet counterpart. Dressing Room Test offers a two-minute test version of one of the sequences in the film. Puppet Test is four minutes of footage, placing one of the character puppets in a variety of situations. Closing out the disc is about six minutes of deleted scenes and outtakes, two theatrical trailers and animated storyboards for the film.
While not the greatest comedy in the history of the world, TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE is rude, crude and lewd action fun with marionettes. If you enjoy politically incorrect humor, you have got to check out TEAM AMERICA: WORLD POLICE.
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