Team America: World Police

Nobody else I know is bothered by this, but for some reason I can’t stand the little straplines that have been appended to films in the last couple of years. You know the type: “contains strong language” or “contains sex references, and one use of bad language”. They’re just stupid. Have you ever made up your mind as to whether to see a film based on these? Has anyone? I have a theory that the only people who use these descriptions are teenage boys looking for nudity. I’ve started collecting fun examples. One of my favourites is:

Contains scenes of mild peril

That was Finding Nemo. Parents! Your children must not be exposed to mild peril! Googling reveals that some of the best lines come from the MPAA warning system in the US (some taken from an excellent blog I just found):

PG-13 for sexual content, teen partying, language and a fight – Blue Crush
PG-13 for momentary strong language, embarrassment and serious injury – Ever After: A Cinderella Story
PG for language and juvenile mischief – A Pig’s Tale
PG for non-stop frenetic animated action – The Powerpuff Girls Movie

and then there are the always controversial ‘thematic elements’. Wouldn’t want your kids seeing any of them!

PG for thematic elements and language – Raise Your Voice
PG for mild thematic elements, some rude humor and brief language – Nanny McPhee
PG for some mild thematic elements – Pride and Prejudice
PG-13 for some language, thematic material and depiction of drug dependency – Walk the Line

But without doubt the best one I’ve ever seen is:

Rated R for graphic crude and sexual humor, violent images and strong language – all involving puppets

That’s for Team America: World Police, which I saw last weekend. A succinct review would be: I nearly died laughing. The premise is that an elite force from the US travel the world taking out Terrorists. But when Intelligence (their computer system) suggests an attack is imminent, they need somebody to infiltrate The Terrorists. They need an actor. Oh, and they’re all puppets.

Having grown up with Gerry Anderson‘s Thunderbirds, Captain Scarlet and Stingray, the whole puppet-thing wasn’t odd in the slightest. There were a fair few in-jokes, too (run! run!). The puppetry wasn’t the main joke, however, and there were long periods with some really great animation – you could tell a large amount of work had gone into it.

Weirdly, the trailer didn’t appeal at all, but I thought the film was fantastic. The trailer made it appear to have a strong anti-‘imperialist’1 message, but it actually brilliantly lampoons both sides of the argument. I won’t spoil anything for you, but Tim Robbins and Michael Moore come in for just as much abuse as the administration. There’s a speech at the end that…umm…suggests the need for balance. Ahem.

I don’t want to say much more – you really need to see it to appreciate it. Highly recommended by me. One warning: the film is crude in the extreme. Bloody funny, imho, but if you’re easily offended I’d recommend you go watch Finding Nemo (if you can stand the mild peril) as this definitely isn’t a film for you. No really, just don’t even try.

  1. I disagree about the usage of this word and am here using it in the commonly quoted sense []