Monday, January 31, 2005

Team America: World Police

You would have to be as stiff as these Gerry Anderson-style puppets not to find this film pretty hilarious. There are so many great gags - everyone is bound to come away with one or two to report back to their mates. I liked the faltering redneck voice of I.N.T.E.L.L.I.G.E.N.C.E, a computer system that sets up the inevitable line "We have no intelligence" when it goes down.

The chorus of one of the very funny songs goes: "Freedom isn't free, there's a hefty fucking fee". This is actually one of the least moronic arguments you are ever likely to hear uttered by an American moron. (i.e. "Loss of liberty is the price of freedom", Don Rumsfeld et al.) And that is why it's so dangerous - even morons can use it without blowing their cover.

In fact, intelligent debate about the toppling of Saddam will often crystalise and divide on the issue of whether we actually need some sort of world police, however flawed and wasteful of innocent life the obvious candidates under present circumstances might be.

So, although overall the joke here is really on Hollywood and how it represents world (American) politics rather than geo-politics itself, the blanketly irreverent satire also makes a concrete political point that demands consideration. Gary's speech at the end covers the full range of parameters, but in essence what he says is that you need dicks on your side when the world is full of assholes...and the pussys just get in the way.

The panel on Newsnight Review (assholes, dicks or pussys, anyone?) trotted out the lines about how Trey Parker's film attacks everybody and therefore nobody. I don't think this is in fact strictly true. For example, it does not take aim at the religious right and their messianic framing of of the War on Terror. If it did, it would be asking us to consider whether we have as many assholes on our side as the terrorists have.

There's no doubt that in terms of overall position Team America lies somewhere between infantilism and nihilism, but this is still a subtler, cleverer piss-take than you might immediately give it credit for.

The really scary thing about these puppets is how close they match 'real' Hollywood actors in terms of expressiveness! However, they've been allowed to copulate and regurgitate in ways not normally witnessed in mainstream movies - though I hear that the sex scene was censored a bit in the US. Those assholes again.

No comments: