Team America | The Incredibles

Team America | The Incredibles

Team America: World Police is the all-marionette satire of our current administration’s penchant for unprovoked invasion. Its creators, the South Park team, Trey Parker and Matt Stone, had the brilliant idea of debunking the mindset that brought about the invasion of Iraq without ever mentioning Bush, Cheney, et al., much less showing them, and without overtly referring to the invasion. They accomplish this by parodying the movie genre that most nearly approximates the Bush-Cheney ethos: the military commando action flick (think Rambo, Red Dawn, Uncommon Valor, many Chuck Norris movies). And they’ve reinforced the mockery by having the feats of derring-do performed by floppy puppets rather than by pumped-up actors.

When we first meet the Team America commandos, they are invading Paris to kill some Islamic terrorists. They get the villains but-oops!-there goes the Louvre and the Eiffel Tower. Aw shucks, collateral damage, and isn’t it just like the French to stand around, mouths gaping in horror, just because a couple of buildings got a little dusted.

So goes the rest of the movie, as the World Police heads for a showdown with Kim Jong Il, who, it turns out, is the mastermind behind Islamic extremism (oh well, if it wasn’t Saddam, then why not Kim?). The writing is often nastily amusing (to say nothing of the visuals), but it is really the use of the marionettes that makes the movie (or at least its...

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About the Author

Richard Alleva has been reviewing movies for Commonweal since 1990.